Fishing in Estonia, like elsewhere, is a matter of lie-telling, with the occasional grain of truth. Unlike in other regions, however, it is almost forbiddingly difficult to take part in the sport here without a good local connection. Ice-, spinning, net-, canepole fishing and even electric shock wire are all used to catch a variety of fresh and saltwater species in the country. But newcomers will find themselves with an empty creel if they don’t put in some advanced research.

The very best place to begin is at the Tallinna Kalaspordi Klubi (Tallinn Fishing Club) at Pärnu mnt 42, on the second floor; tel. 6444-690. Here, you can buy a mandatory license; you can get a three-day permit for the equivalent of a dollar. More crucially, this is the place to seek advice from old salts who know the lay of the land when it comes to fishing in Estonia. English isn’t spoken, so either bring a translator or a big smile and lots of patience. Tell them what you want to catch, and throw yourself at their mercy to point you in the right direction.

Before heading out, you should familiarize yourself with the seasonal regulations; many rivers are closed during the salmon and trout spawn, for example. Checks by river bailiffs are rare. But if you are caught fishing illegally, fines can run into the hundreds of dollars.
Note that fishing with anything but a pole, hook and non-reel line requires a license. You can also call the Board of Fisheries, tel. 6419-006, for further details about fishing rules and licenses. You can also buy fishing licenses at some fishing supply stores, of which there are quite a few in Tallinn. Most are quite good.

What to Catch: Northern Pike are plentiful in rivers, lakes and the brackish Baltic. Trout and grayling are found in many rivers and springs. Carp and bream are found almost everywhere. Certain times of the year, you even have a shot at salmon. Catching eel by net is also popular.

Fishing Grounds: If you’re based in Tallinn and don’t have time for excursions further afield, Lahemaa National Park (50 km east of Tallinn) is your best bet. Boat rentals are available in several of the small Lahemaa port cities, like Võsu and Loksa); when weather conditions are poor, you’re not permitted to head out. Canoe rental is becoming more and more popular, but can be on the expensive side-around 50 dollars for the day.

While common in the West, fishing guide services are virtually unheard of here. An option is to try and charm one of those old hands at the Fishing Club to join your fishing party —and save you from embarrassment.

Category Countries: Estonia

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