Have you seen people fishing on bridges in the spring and the autumn? They are probably fishing Baltic Herring, which on good days can be a really good catch! This type of fishing is also quite easy, with no need for baits or equipment to clean the fish. This also makes it rewarding for kids, too.
Popular destinations in Finland are the Lauttasaari bridge in Helsinki, the Raippaluoto bridge in Vaasa and the Korssundet bridge in Inkoo. This fishing method, i.e. fishing with hook and line, has not required a fishing licence after 2015.
The Baltic Herring is Finland’s most commercially exploited species. It’s a cheap and nutritious fish. It has had a bad reputation due to the levels of dioxines and PCB it contains, but the levels have dropped 80% in 40 years. The pros outweigh the cons – and having reliable sources to confirm these things from is essential.
How to get started
For a bridge fishing trip you need a fishing rod, a long fishing line, 7-10 hooks and a weight. Don’t forget a bucket for the catch! Tie the hooks to a two-metre fishing line, about 15 cm between the hooks. Then add a weight to one end of the line and a loop to the other end of the line. Attach this set to the main fishing line of your fishing line. No bait needed, the hook itself is enough.
This is a minimum solution, but numerous additional and secret tricks can be added to the set, such as something brightly coloured or even under-water LEDs.
When on the bridge, lower the line with hooks to the water, but not too quickly. When all the hooks are in the water, lift the rod up a bit and let the hooks fall again and repeat. You can try different depths and positions on the bridge. Pro tip: Follow other fishers on the bridge. If they catch more fish, consider moving to a new position.
It can be difficult to notice if you have some fish on the hooks, and it is good to lift the hook set every now and then to check it out. However, you will notice the weight if a herring shoal happens to be present. You can have a Baltic Herring on all your hooks in seconds after lowering it under the surface. Moments like these can give you a bucket full of fish in an hour or two. On our Out in the Nature bridge fishing trip to the bridge in Inkoo, the result was only three fish in an hour. It was still tasty, after all!
Cleaning and cooking
After the fishing trip you have a bucket of herrings (or three herrings) to clean for eating. This is easy as you can do it by hand. No scaling needed. First you remove the herring’s head by pressing your thumb through its neck. Then open the stomach with your index finger and remove the guts. Rinse and you are ready.
Usually the herrings end up on a frying pan. For frying, roll the fish in a mix of flour, salt and pepper. Fry for a few minutes in butter or oil. Herrings also contain some fat and are thus perfect for smoking too.
There are a few things to keep in mind when fishing from the bridge:
- Keep an eye for possible boat traffic and lift your hooks if a boat is coming your way.
- Keep an eye on traffic on the bridge as well. Especially in Inkoo, the cars can pass with quite high speeds, so it’s a good idea to keep to the sides of the bridge.
- It’s also good to keep enough distance to your fellow fishers in order to avoid tangled fishing lines.
Directions to popular areas
Lauttasaari bridge, Helsinki
How to get there: Lauttasaari bridge is easily accessible by car, public transport, or bicycle.
- Car: There are not a lot of public carparks in the area so public transport is the best choice.
- Bicycle: There are dedicated cycling paths in the centre of Helsinki.
- Public transport: The nearest metro station is Ruoholahti. Also a lot of buses going to/from Lauttasaari stop next to the bridge. Check out timetables and tickets at HSL.
Raippaluoto bridge, near Vaasa
How to get there: Raippaluoto bridge is accessible best by car but public transport or cycling are also options.
- Car: Drive to Replotvägen, Korsholm.
- Bicycle: There are no dedicated cycling paths in the area, and the streets are narrow. However, the views of Ostrobothnia are beautiful so cycling has to be encouraged.
- Public transport: The best way to reach Raippaluoto is to via Vaasa city. Check out trains from VR and buses from Matkahuolto. From Vaasa centre, the bridge is 15km away. You can always ask for a lift as long as you remain careful and courteous.
Korssundet bridge, Inkoo
How to get there: Korssundet bridge is best accessible by car but can also be reached by public transport or bicycle.
- Car: Drive to Bärosundintie 426, Inkoo.
- Bicycle: There are no dedicated cycling paths in the area, and the streets are narrow. However, the views are beautiful so cycling has to be encouraged.
- Public transport: The nearest public transportation stop is Bärgkulla I, which is approximately 10km away from the bridge. Check out timetables from Matkahuolto bus service.
Accessibility: These bridges are accessible at all times of the year. During winter, they may be very icy and slippery so make sure you are careful.
Special to know: You don’t need a fishing permit for bridge fishing if you are fishing without a lure. In other cases, make sure you purchase a permit. Check out more information here.