Estonian flyfishing FAQ

Rivers, lakes and saltwater

What kind of rivers and streams does Estonia have? Are those clearwater streams or are they muddy?

Estonia has 7378 streambeds. Estonian rivers are short – only 9 of them are longer than 100km, 38 longer than 50km and 420 are longer than 10km. The Narva River has the biggest outflow (12,53km3 per year). The longest river is Võhandu (162 km).  Rivers of North Estonia cut into a limestone plateau and form about 20 waterfalls there, some of which are dry in summer. Middle-Estonia is famous for its numerous clear-water spring rivers. In the South-Estonian uplands, a lot of rivers run in beautiful valleys.

How much are the streams influenced by the weather?

Rivers in Middle-Estonia are spring-fed rivers and are almost not influenced by the weather. Other rivers may go muddy during long rains.

Can rivers be categorized: chalkstreams, mountain streams, streams with tidal influence?

We don’t have mountain streams and no streams are influenced by tides. But we do have one river named Valgejõgi (White River) with a white-chalk bottom.

Are there fishable lakes?

There are 1200 lakes and water reservoirs in Estonia. Lakes are mostly located near the South-Estonian uplands and North –Estonian kamefields. The largest lake – Peipsi is on the eastern border of Estonia. It is the fifth largest lake in Europe. Other lakes are small. Only 45 have an area more than 100ha. About half of lakes are 3 ha and less than 10m deep. It’s possible to catch pike, perch and carp on lakes with a flyrod.

Is it possible to flyfish from the shore, for instance for cod or pollack?

Estonian coastline is curvy. Its length is  3780km. The coastline is rich in numerous bays and peninsulas. Coastal seas are not deep, there are lot of shallows and shoals. We don’t have pollack here, also cod is rare. But it’s possible to catch searun trout, pike and perch on the sea. 

Fishing period and weather 

What are the best months to fish?

The best months to flyfish are May, June, July, August, September, of course. Trout-fishing is prohibited here 15.09 – 01.01.  Middle-Estonia is rich with spring-rivers – they don’t freeze almost at all in winter. It’s practically possible to flyfish year-around on those rivers.

How does the weather cooperate in that time of the year?

If it rains a lot, then rivers may go muddy, but usually the weather is fine in summer. Again - rivers in Middle-Estonia are spring-rivers and are almost not influenced by the weather.


What kind of fish does Estonia have?

Most popular game fishes are trout, sea trout, salmon, pike, perch, pikeperch, chub. Grayling fishing is unfortunately prohibited in Estonia.

Is there a difference between lakes and rivers for several species?

We don’t have salmonids in lakes.

Flies and equipment

What kind of flies are best to use?

Trout:     Red Tag, Klinkhammer, Goddard Caddis, Black Marabou Muddler, March Brown, Wooly Bugger, Stonefly

Sea-Trout, Salmon:    Shrimp, Minnow Muddler, Black Marabou Muddler, Streamers , Super Tinsel

Perch:    Roach Fry, Muddler Minnow, Mickey Finn, Red Caddis, Matuka Olive

Pike:    Super Tinsel, Popper, Zonker

Chub:   Long Leg Daddy, CDC Drowning Daddy, Foam Beetle

Do you have specific moments in the year for special flies like mayflies?

Yes, we have a mayfly season: the end of May through the beginning of June.

What kind of flyrods should I take with me on a trip to Estonia?

AFTMA 4-5 is the best overall solution. You can use a bigger, two-hand rod for coast fishing.

Fishing licences

What kind of license does a foreign fisherman need?

A foreign fisherman needs the same license as locals.

How can one get a license?

We actually don’t have “real“ licenses. You must do a money transfer at a bank and keep the certificate of transfer. This yearly “license” costs 12 Euros. Cheap, isn’t it ? For some rivers in the Middle of Estonia (Preedi, Oostriku, Norra, Võlingi, Pärnu, Vodja, Esna, Palu, Prandi, Neeva) you have to buy special license, which costs 32 euros/year.  

General information

What is the best language to communicate with people?

The best languages are Estonian, Russian and English.

If I want to go to Estonia this year, which month can you recommend, and which areas should I visit when I want to stay for 2 to 3 weeks? My starting point would be Tallinn, of course.

The best time is June. In North-Estonia, I suggest visiting these rivers: Valgejõgi, Loobu, Kunda. In Middle-Estonia, I suggest these rivers: Pärnu, Põltsamaa. In South-Estonia I suggest you visit the Ahja and Võhandu rivers.

Is it easy to find a place to stay when I’m on the road? Can you recommend 2 or 3 hotels or guesthouses in different areas to cover the whole variety of fishing possibilities?

North-Estonia: Kõrve Keskus (nearest river - Valgejõgi)
Middle-Estonia: Veskisilla (nearest river - Pärnu)
South-estonia: Pesa (nearest river - Ahja)