Lake Inari, Finland

Lake Locations:

Finland - Lapland -

Also known as:  Lake Inarijarvi

Lake Inari, in the Lapland area of northern Finland, is a hot fishing destination. Also called Lake Inarijarvi, the huge lake near the northern tip of Finland is well-known as an ideal fishing lake for brown trout, lake trout, grayling, Arctic char, perch and whitefish. The third-largest lake in Finland, Lake Inari’s nearly 260,000 acres holds several large ‘lakes’ within it and over 3000 islands. The largest mid-lake areas on Lake Inarijarvi are Kasariselka, Vasikkaselka, Sammakkoselka and Ukonselka. The Kasariselka area alone is more than 18 miles long; the opposite shore is not even within sight! Ice fishing for char is nearly as popular as warm weather angling, with many anglers arriving via snowmobile.

The water temperature of Lake Inari seldom rises above 60 degrees in summer, so swimming with a wetsuit is recommended. There are several areas around the lake with sandy beach areas for swimming. Boat harbors and launches are located in the villages of Inari, Veskoniemi and Nellim, while canoeists and kayakers can readily find a place to launch their small craft. Boaters are warned that weather conditions can make the water extremely rough without much warning and to take precautions against accidents. The beauty and variety of the shoreline make the lake an ideal place to paddle and camp. Island hopping is a favorite holiday outing at Lake Inari. Because Lake Inari is north of the Arctic Circle, summer days are nearly 24 hours long. In winter, the northern lights illuminate the sky in a wondrous display of colors and patterns. Lake Inari, as the northernmost large lake in Europe, has plenty of wonders to share.

The Vatsari Wilderness Area hugs the northeast shore of Lake Inari, where a few open camping shelters, lean-tos and rental cabins wait to accommodate hikers. Brown bear (the national animal), grey wolf, moose and the semi-domesticated reindeer are often seen, along with a variety of smaller mammals and birds. Lynx are relatively common but take pains not to encounter humans and are seldom spotted. Because Finland practices open access to property under Everyman’s Right, there are few places the holiday maker cannot go, within reason. One of the islands, called Jaasaari or ‘Ice Island’ has a permafrost cave that can be visited. Another, known as Hautuumaasaari-‘the graveyard’, holds an ancient cemetery of the local indigenous people. Ukonkivi (Ukko’s Stone) holds an ancient sacrificial site and is considered a sacred island. Once called Laplanders (a term in disfavor among the Sami), the Samit as they call themselves are the only group still allowed to herd reindeer, although more are now engaged in sheep herding, commercial fishing, forestry and other endeavors.

Increasingly, tourism has become the industry of choice. One glimpse of Lake Inari makes it easy to see why. Local small businesses around the lake rent boats, campsites and offer limited supplies, fishing guide services and do the rowing for anglers more interested in fishing. Because the lake is so large, visitors intending to spend time on the lake or camping are encouraged to bring everything they think they will need. However, the area also has some highly-desirable off-water pastimes for visitors to enjoy. A number of new resort hotels have been built, with excellent restaurants, modern rooms, pools and internet service. Boat cruises run from the town of Inari to the Ice Island daily during the summer months. In winter the same company offers snowmobile tours, and fishing trips can be arranged anytime. Inari hosts the Sami national museum (Siida), the Samediggi parliament, and Sami Radio. Bicycles can be rented in Inari. Not far from Inari, the Saariselka resort area offers a large number of ski slopes, extensive cross-country ski trails and a large number of spas, pubs, holiday apartments and shops for vacationing visitors.

Lake Inari is a deep lake, formed in a rift valley. Its outflow, the River Paatsjok, eventually discharges its water into Barents Sea. The huge lake is not dammed, but a hydroelectric plant in Russian territory on the River Paatsjok controls lake levels, and caused a rise in water levels of over two feet when the power facility first began operations. A series of deep fjords provide plenty of deep water fishing, while the many bays and river mouths offer excellent seasonal locations. Water quality is so good in the lake that it is traditional for campers to boil their morning coffee from lake water over an open campfire. The huge unspoiled lake is still mostly vacant, with the forested shorelines unbroken by human intrusion except for a few small villages and usually empty camping cabins. Recent discussions on possibly leasing parts of the shoreline for development of homes has not generally been received with enthusiasm. The people here prefer their unspoiled and uncrowded wilderness just the way it is.

Holiday-makers coming to Lake Inari will find no shortage of lodgings to accommodate them. From the resort hotels to private cabins to State-owned rental cabins to farm-stays, every type of vacation rental can be found. And campsite locations are numerous around the lake itself. Currently there is little available real estate on the lake, but existing housing may be found for sale occasionally. So if you’ve got an urge to fish the big lake for some very big fish, Lake Inari is the right place for you! Hope you can visit soon!

Things to do at Lake Inari

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lake Inari

  • Brown Trout
  • Char
  • Grayling
  • Lake Trout
  • Perch
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

Lake Inari Photo Gallery

Lake Inari Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Surface Area: 259,461 acres

Shoreline Length: 1,724 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 354 feet

Average Depth: 47 feet

Maximum Depth: 315 feet

Water Volume: 12,241,769 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 3.4 years

Drainage Area: 5,173 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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