River Kongasjoki

A Water System with Migratory Fish in a Wilderness Setting







The Kongasjoki waterway flows west of Paltamo through Lake Kivesjärvi. This waterway, draining into Lake Oulujärvi, is traditionally known for holding migratory fish. The River Varisjoki, beginning from Lake Kivesjärvi, is the outlet river of this waterway, and the most significant unharnessed trout-bearing river flowing into Lake Oulujärvi. The Kongasjoki and the brook-like Vaarainjoki empty into Lake Kivesjärvi.  The Kongasjoki is the bigger of the two, its headwater located as far away as Puolanka, north of Lake Osmankajärvi and Lake Kongasjärvi. The Varisjoki and most of the Kongasjoki are covered by the same fishing licence, which entitles the angler to fish dozens of rapids located across a wide area. This area is easy to reach, with the Kongasjoki passing under the Kajaani–Oulu road (main road 22) at Kivesjärvi and the Varisjoki under the road to Manamansalo at Hakasuo.

The Kongasjoki’s uppermost reaches form a separate area for white-water fishing. White-water fishing upstream of the boundary line marked on the river bank will require a licence from the Väyrylä-Kongas fishing association.



The Kongasjoki flows from Lake Osmankajärvi into Lake Kivesjärvi. The river tumbles down in a succession of rapids and pools west of the Kivesvaara hill. Running for more than ten kilometres through forest, the Kongasjoki has around ten separate named rapids, in addition to numerous flowing pools and bends with potential for fishing. The angler may even run into remnants of old dams, built by anglers in bygone days.

From Kivesjärvi village lying to the east, a village road leads to the river, continuing then as a logging road to the unpopulated upper reaches. A signposted footpath intended for anglers runs along the eastern bank, which also houses three well-made ‘kota’ huts open to all, with stoves, woodsheds and outhouses. These regularly maintained shelters are located by the Leilinkoski rapid, on the small promontory of Kiltunniemi and by the Lantinkoski rapid. As the shelter have stoves they are warm enough for staying in overnight and, perhaps, recording thoughts and experiences in the daily journal.

The Kongasjoki is a forest river. At around ten metres in width, its fish lies can easily be fished from one bank. Although its convenient shelters make the Kongasjoki highly accessible, its true wilderness atmosphere also makes it an ideal destination for the hiking angler. In early summer, fishing trips can also be made by paddling the entire length of the river in a canoe. A suitable place for starting such a trip might be the boat harbour on Lake Osmankijärvi, for example.

In addition to anglers, the Kongasjoki is an excellent destination for bird watchers and botanists. Lake Osmankajärvi possesses the characteristics of a boreal lake. Along the river, the nature enthusiast may sight a beaver or otter, while flying squirrels inhabit the spruce stands bordering the river. The osprey and large gamefowl can also be spotted here. Merganser, Eurasian teal, common goldeneye and mallard inhabit the river, while from a low-lying thicket may be heard the song of the Eurasian wren. In the wet woodlands along the river flourish moor-kings, orchids and beds of marsh marigolds.


Fish stock and stock management

For the enthusiastic grayling angler, the Kongasjoki is certainly worth a try. The river has perfect conditions for grayling, and is traditionally regarded as an excellent grayling river. The fishing association not surprisingly places emphasis on the management of the grayling population. Anglers should exercise moderation and observe the fishing regulations, as natural reproduction is the best method for ensuring preservation of a healthy stock. In addition to being a grayling habitat, the Kongasjoki is also a headwater for Lake Kivesjärvi and the River Varisjoki, which together constitute the most notable unharnessed migration path for the trout of Lake Oulujärvi, or the ‘Kainuu Sea’. Consequently, the river at times yields good-size lake-dwelling trout. Effective fishery management measures have also resulted in land-locked salmon being caught on the Kongasjoki. A common pink-fleshed catch is stocked trout in excess of one kilo.  The river is stocked with catchable-size trout several times during the season. Anglers should take into account that they may occasionally catch a number of juvenile fish, originating from fish from migratory populations, along the Konasjoki and Varisjoki waterways. In part such juveniles are related to research projects carried out by the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, aiming at restoring the stocks of migratory fish in the Kaunuu waterways. Anglers should not hook juvenile fish unnecessarily.  Using barbless hooks, releasing fish without lifting them out of the water and handling fish with wet hands all help to improve the survival rate of juvenile fish.

Fishing destinations on the Kongasjoki

Rapids from upstream to downstream:


  • Length: 600m
  • Elevation differential: 6.2m
  • Average flow: 2.5 m³/s


  • Length: 240m
  • Elevation differential: 0.8m
  • Average flow: 2.5 m³/s



  • Length: 550m
  • Elevation differential: 1.0m
  • Average flow: 2.6 m³/s
  • Services: ‘Kota’ rest hut, outhouse


  • Length: 750m
  • Elevation differential: 2.8m
  • Average flow: 2.6 m³/s


  • Length: 300m
  • Elevation differential: 2.1m
  • Average flow: 2.6 m³/s


  • Services: ‘Kota’ rest hut, outhouse


  • Length: 320m
  • Elevation differential: 6.5m
  • Average flow: 2.6 m³/s
  • Services: ‘Kota’ rest hut, outhouse


  • Length: 120m
  • Elevation differential: 2.9m
  • Average flow: 2.8 m³/s


  • Length: 200m
  • Elevation differential: 2.7m
  • Average flow: 2.8 m³/s


  • Length: 500m
  • Elevation differential: 5.0m
  • Average flow: 2.9 m³/s


  • Length: 100m
  • Elevation differential: 0.5m
  • Average flow: 2.9 m³/s


  • Length: 200m
  • Elevation differential: 1.0m
  • Average flow: 3.0 m³/s


Licences for the lower reaches of the Kongasjoki, and for the Varisjoki. €15/24 hours, €25/week and €50/season. Children under 12 years of age in adult company may fish free of charge. The licence covers the Varisjoki, the Vaarainjoki and most of the Kongasjoki as far as the boundary line between the fishing associations at Harrila. The boundary is indicated by signs on the banks.

The upper reaches of the Kongasjoki: A separate licence is required for the Honkakoski and Kärppäkoski rapids, located in the upper reaches of the Kongasjoki, north of Harrila. Licences for the rapids in the Kongasjoki’s upper reaches (Väyrylä – Kongas): €5/24 hours, €10/week and €30/season. Children under 12 years of age may fish free of charge. The licence covers all rapids upstream from Harrila. The boundary is indicated by signs on the banks.

For the lower reaches of the Kongasjoki: Via two fish licence vending machines, one located at Kivesjärvi school, the other at Hakasuo mill (manually operated, no change given),  Neste (Paltamo),  K-Market (Vaala), <Neste (Kontiomäki/on road 5).

For the upper reaches of the Kongasjoki:  Neste (Paltamo), Aution Rauta (Puolanka), Eero Korhonen (Kongasmäki)

Kongasjoen yläjuoksu: Neste (Paltamo), Aution Rauta (Puolanka) ja Eero Korhonen (Kongasmäki)


For the lower reaches of the Kongasjoki: Fishing on the river area permitted with lures and flies only.  Each angler is permitted to take one fish per 24 hours.

-Statutory minimum size for stocked trout with no adipose fin: 50cm.-The taking of wild trout is prohibited years 2017-2022!  (trout with an intact adipose fin).-Statuory minimum size for grayling is 35cm


For the lower reaches of the Kongasjoki: week 19 Friday, time 18:00 – midnight 31 August.

The upper reaches of the Kongasjoki: All year round. The taking of trout is prohibited between 1 September and 30 November and grayling between 1 Abril and 31 May.

Update 2024

The Wooded Setting of River Kongasjoki Appeals to Both Hiking Fisherman and Day-tripper

River Kongasjoki

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Kalalla Kainuussa

The River Kongasjoki drains into Lake Kivesjärvi in the border area between Paltamo and Vaala. This rather shallow river flows through wooded country for almost its entire length, and is…

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