East of the Sotkamo municipality centre, in the vicinity of Tipasoja and Lonta villages, flow two parallel lake-and-river systems from north to south. Both empty into the large lakes of Sotkamo. The Lontajoki drains into Lake Sapsojärvi and the Tipasjoki into Lake Kiimasjärvi. As both rivers belong to the same fishing area, a single licence offers the angler the opportunity to fish dozens of interesting rapids.
The most popular rapids along the Tipasjoki can be reached by car. Signposts on the Tipasoja road leading to the Hiidenportti National Park will direct the angler to the fishing spots. The river’s lower reaches run through a rural landscape. The area is also characterised by scenic, dry, pine heaths and steep eskers which criss-cross the country between the two waterways. Fishing spots in the upper reaches of the Tipasjoki are located in a large forested stretch north of Lake Pieni-Tipasjärvi. The Hiidenportti National Park lies south of this area, enabling the angler to combine fishing trip and family nature outing.
The lower reaches of the Tipasjoki
The Tipasjoki, and particularly the rapids lying in its lower reaches, has been a popular fishing destination for decades. Characteristic of the sport have been the area’s small rapids, around five to ten metres in width, and the large stocked trout caught there. Decades of development have gone into the area’s fishing facilities. A striking example is the Pungankoski rapid, where a casting platform was built with wheelchair access, and an impressive ‘kota’ base spacious enough for even large groups. Fishing on the river is at its most active in the early summer. For example, the season opening on the last Friday in May is a traditional village event, which includes a competition for the largest fish, the winner having the possession of a challenge trophy for a year, with his or her name engraved in it. The rapids are open to fishing practically all year round, and the angler who takes an unhurried approach will catch rainbow trout, wild brown trout and grayling and other natural-stock fish throughout the season. The most frequently fished areas are the Pungankoski rapid above Lake Räätänjärvi and the Välikoski rapid below the lake. The lower reaches have several other rapids, the total difference in elevation being more than 20 metres. All these rapids are located close to the Tipasojantie road that follows the course of the river, making it easy to organise a fishing trip. On the Välikoski rapid, a tourist company offers accommodation and guided fishing packages, including a private pond where ‘catch is guaranteed.’
The upper reaches of the Tipasjoki
The river flows through forest for several kilometres between Lake Pieni-Tipasjärvi and Lake Kalliojärvi. This stretch of river drops more than 30 metres, creating dozens of potential lies for fish in the rapids. Logging roads skirt the upper reaches of the river, crossing only at the head of the Myllykoski rapid at the outlet into Lake Pieni-Tipas. The river has a peaceful character along its entire length, very much like a wilderness, with roads keeping distant from its banks. From the logging roads, clear signposts direct the angler to the most popular rapids, including the Myllykoski, Rajakoski, Pystykoski, Haarakoski and Hevonperseenkoski rapids. Haarakoski and Myllykoski rapids have fire pits and a supply of firewood. Additional fishing spots can be located by consulting a map. The fish stock is hatchery trout, and wild trout and wild grayling.
The Lontanjoki can be reached from the Tipasjoki by car along the Lontantie road that crosses the Välikoski rapid (road 19171) for about five kilometres and then turning off on to the Lontanjoki road. After 1.05 kilometres there is a turn left towards the river. A car park, information board and fire pit with firewood supply can be found on the northern bank of the Kynkäänkoski rapid. The white-water fishing spots on the Lontanjoki are located below Lake Hietasenjärvi, on a two-kilometre stretch between two bridges. This stretch has a series of five rapids, each around five to ten metres wide. The most popular fishing spot is the section between the Niskakoski and Ämmäkoski rapids. While fishing and moving along the banks, the angler should take account of the buildings on the river and avoid using the bridge on the private road. Dark in colour, the Lontanjoki yields stocked rainbow trout, and trout and grayling belonging to the river’s natural fish stock.
Fish stock and stock management
Catchable-size rainbow trout are stocked over the entire fishing area of the Tipsanjoki and Lontanjoki rivers several times in the season. The rapids most frequently stocked with catchable-size rainbow trout on the Tipasjoki include Myllykoski, Rajakoski, Pystykoski, Haarakoski, Välikoski, Pungankoski and Veneheitonkoski, and on the River Lontanjoki, the Niskakoski and Kynkäänkoski rapids. Stockings are carried out throughout the season. The rapids on both river systems were cleared for timber floating in the past but have since been restored to their original condition. Restoration work in 2011 to improve the conditions for natural reproduction covered spawning grounds, rocky areas serving as fry nurseries and other similar stream-bed structures and elements of the salmonoid habitat. The fishing association has launched measures to restore the natural fish stock by intensifying the stocking of trout and grayling fry.