Lake Änättijärvi is a remote lake on the Russian border, famed for its rugged beauty. This headwater lake for the Lentiira waterway, ten kilometres in length, is known of old as an excellent spot for trout fishing, with the Änättikoski rapid in its outlet river a widely known destination for white-water fishing. Lake Änättijärvi empties its waters through the River Änättijoki to the similar Lake Lentiira, and, from there onwards to Lake Lentua. The Änättijoki flows close to road 912 connecting Kuhmo and Suomussalmi, north of Lentiira village. The rapid passing under this road is known as Aittokoski, and the Änättikoski rapid proper can be reached by following signposts along a logging road which begins north of the bridge and leads east.
Flowing through forest, Änättikoski is a steep rapid with strong currents. The head of this rapid is the most popular fishing spot on the river. Here, the rapid is wider and the currents milder than in the lower stretches. A large pier for casting has been built at this spot, which provides easy fishing. The pier, a shelter for cooking, woodshed, outhouse, and wide footpaths enable even less sure-footed anglers to get a flavour of white-water fishing. The wide open expanses of Lake Änättijärvi and the head of the rapid, which tumbles down through a stand of spruce trees, provide a pleasant backdrop to this special fishing destination. The Änättikoski rapid is ideally suited for families or groups who wish to engage in white-water fishing or find a destination for picnic outings in a wilderness setting. Camping is permissible in the vicinity of the cooking shelter. Enthusiastic anglers looking for white-water fishing will also find Änätinkoski a pleasant experience, with a water area large enough for fishing sessions lasting several days. Änätinkoski has plentiful rocks, creating pocket water where still areas behind boulders provide cover for the fish. Light spinning or fly-fishing rods are suitable fishing gear for these waters. At a dozen metres in width, this rapid can be fished from the same side as the shelter, on a bank that is forested for its entire length.
Below Änättikoski, the river widens out and becomes a pool known as Suvanto, after which it narrows and turns west. The river picks up speed in the Aittokoski rapid before flowing into Lake Lentiira beside the bridge. The entire Aittokoski rapid is closed to fishing. The Suvanto pool and the spawning grounds below the rapid are closed to ice fishing as a step towards restoring the natural fish stock.
FISH STOCK AND STOCK MANAGEMENT
The most sought-after catch on the Änättikoski rapid is the authentic lake-dwelling brown trout from Lake Änätti and Lake Lentiira. Sometimes large migratory fish move into the strong currents to feed. While brown trout are frequently caught on Änättikoski, not all are lake-dwelling individuals, but can include stocked fish. To improve the chances of a catch, this popular rapid is stocked with catchable-size brown trout several times each summer. Grayling are also routinely caught. Grayling thrive in the deep holes, with good-size specimens being caught with sedge (caddis) larvae imitations or similar flies. Large schools of whitefish once fed in the rapid, but today these are a rare catch for fly fishers. Piers for casting and other structures serving sport anglers are not the only facilities that have been repaired at Änättikoski. The rapid was surveyed in 2011, with fry nursery areas and gravel spawning grounds restored manually. Anglers bear the responsibility for the survival of the juvenile brown trout and grayling which originate from the wild population. Juveniles should not be hooked unnecessarily, and all fish below statutory minimum size must be released. Fish should be unhooked without lifting them out of the water, and should it be necessary to touch the fish this should be only with wet hands. The no-fishing zone at the Aittokoski rapid and the imposition of a bag limit of one trout are excellent examples of the measures taken by the fishing association to restore natural fish stocks.
Rapids from upstream to downstream:
- Length: 500m
- Elevation differential: 7.3m
- Average flow: 4.9 m³/s
- Services: ‘Kota’ hut, fire pit, and a pier for casting
Aittokoski (NO FISHING AREA!)
- Length: 150m
- Elevation differential: 1.6m
- Average flow: 4.9 m³/s