Lake Lappajarvi, Finland

Lake Locations:

Finland - Western & Inner Finland -

Lake Lappajarvi is different from most other lakes in Finland. The depression the lake lies in is actually a meteorite crater! An estimated 73 million years ago, a large meteorite hit the earth in Western Finland, creating a massive dent in the earth. The intervening millions of years have worn down the edges of the crater and filled it in a bit, but geological evidence of the meteor is still found in the local rocks structurally changed by the intense heat. Water draining from the surrounding areas gradually filled the crater, creating Lake Lappajarvi. Fed by several small streams, the lake’s main outlet is the Ahtavanjoki River which empties into the Gulf of Bothnia. Several water control structures on the river keep water levels stable on the lake, and they provide hydroelectric power to the local population. To the untrained eye, the lake doesn’t look much different than the hundreds of other lakes in Finland. Scientists find it a fascinating subject of study, however.

Despite its unusual origins, Lake Lappajarvi has played the same role in the lives of the local population that other Finnish lakes do. The surrounding countryside is used for farming vegetables, raising dairy cows and fur farming. The lake is still producing fish and is used as a production source for some commercial fishing which harvests smaller whitefish for the restaurant trade. The lake also supports a healthy population of brown trout, perch, pike, zander, burbot, breem and pike-perch, making it a prime location for family vacations. Several public boat launch sites around the shoreline make it convenient for fisher-folk to launch their own boats. Fishing licenses and restricted area maps will be needed.

Lake Lappajarvi isn’t highly developed as a center for tourism, although it is growing more popular as a destination. In keeping with the Finnish penchant for exercise, most boat traffic on the lake is of the kind that is rowed or paddled. A small cruise ship docked at the City of Lappajarvi takes groups of passengers sight-seeing around the large lake on a regular schedule during the summer months.

Another type of boating experience that is popular with visitors is the ‘church boat’ where passengers do the rowing. These remnants of early Finnish history are thought to be the predecessors of the Scandinavian Viking boats, and were built on shares by local farmers to carry them in neighborhood groups to church on Sundays. Legend says they would race their boats on the way home. Now they are raced competitively for sport and as a group activity. And some church boats in the area still carry residents to church as a beloved tradition. Arrangements for church boat rides can be arranged in the main town of Lappajarvi. Canoeing, kayaking and rowing are popular uses of the wide expanse of water. Motors are permitted but not used extensively except for travel to another area of the large lake. Boating maps are available for the ‘boat trails’ and should be consulted because there are some places where local regulation contradicts universal boating navigation rules due to conditions.

Swimming is a popular sport at Lake Lappajarvi; the lake is relatively shallow compared to many Finnish lakes and the water warms nicely. However, because the Finns are the originators of several extreme sport practices, winter doesn’t stop swimming in the lake. The town of Lappajarvi has nine public summer beaches, and three that are kept open as Ice Swimming beaches. Swimmers usually do not go under the ice at the edge of the open swim area without a safety rope as it is easy to become disoriented and not be able find the opening to return to the surface.

Over a thousand family cottages and cabins, many owned by foreign vacationers, grace the well-treed shoreline. Many native Finns maintain a lake cabin as well as a home in nearby towns. Every cabin has a sauna – as necessary in a Finnish cabin as a stove. One hotel at Lappajarvi is noted for their spa and sauna facilities; even the locals come here to take advantage of the amenities and to eat in the fine restaurant featuring locally-produced foods.

Lappajarvi is the largest town on the lake, although there are a number of smaller settlements. Located at the outlet to the Ahtavanjoki River, Lappajarvi offers the most in the way of attractions and services to visitors and local residents alike. The city expands onto the adjoining island, Karna, which can be reached by a short bridge.

Lappajarvi has a number of historic churches and buildings that predate the many wars fought in the last two centuries. The Lappajarvi Museum exhibits local weaving and textile traditions, as well as fishing and log floating displays such as once occurred on the lake. The area has been noted for its fine rug-making industry and many shops sell the rugs, stone and wood carvings, clay and wool souvenirs and even finely-crafted traditional boats. The Tapolanvuori observation tower provides a great view of the lake and surrounding countryside. The city offers sports centers, cross-country ski trails, walking and riding trails, riding stables, skating and hockey rinks, indoor and outdoor fitness centers and pools. A nearby 18-hole golf course has a one-of-a-kind water hazard: a paddle boat stands by to take golfers from one fairway to another!

Lappajarvi is also the home of Finnish baseball . . .a game similar to American baseball but with completely different rules. The five ‘outs’ rather than three determine the nine innings. The ‘pitcher’ does not stand in front of the batter but tosses the ball in from the side. And bases are run in a cris-cross pattern instead of the familiar diamond progression. The game is thoroughly confusing to the Western visitor but very popular in Finland, where league tournaments occasion nearly every shop in the area to close to watch the game.

The friendly people at Lake Lappajarvi would love to welcome you to their lake. Guest houses, cottages and cabins can always be found for rent. Other lodgings can be arranged at the hotel/spa, or farm-stays in the area. Real estate can often be found in the form of existing cabins for sale. Won’t you come to visit Lake Lappajarvi? You’ll find, meteor or not, it really is out of this world!

Things to do at Lake Lappajarvi

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lake Lappajarvi

  • Brown Trout
  • Burbot
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pike Perch
  • Trout
  • Whitefish
  • Zander

Lake Lappajarvi Photo Gallery

Lake Lappajarvi Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Surface Area: 35,954 acres

Shoreline Length: 45 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 228 feet

Average Depth: 25 feet

Maximum Depth: 123 feet

Water Volume: 867,463 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 2.8

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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