Lake Pielinen, Finland

Lake Locations:

Finland - Lakeland -

Lake Pielinen, in Finland’s Lakeland District, is a well-known vacation getaway to native Finns. The huge lake is dotted with islands, one of which is inhabited. Less than 15 miles from the Russian border, the clear waters of Lake Pielinen provide a wide variety of outdoor activities to the many seasonal residents and visitors who come here. The fourth largest lake in Finland, Lake Pielinen is one of the most famous fishing destinations in the country. Even in the District that brags of 1,000 lakes, Lake Pielinen is famous for the number of different species of fish that call the beautiful lake home. Much of Finnish culture revolves around boating, fishing and lakes, and a great many of the annual visitors come to troll the pristine waters for their favorite prey.

A bit over 300 miles north of Helsinki, Lake Pielinen is surrounded by majestic hills clothed in pine forests. This wilderness appearance extends to the 380 miles of shoreline, where cliffs and beaches appear surprisingly from clearings in the forests. A number of seasonal cabins and year-round homes nestle unobtrusively among the rocks and trees. Several towns and small cities lie along the lakeshore; a bridge connects the highway to inhabited Paalasmaa Island. Other islands are reached by boat. In summer, a car ferry connects Lieksa on the eastern shoreline with Koli National Park on the west. In the winter, an ice road is laid out for passage by car. Sightseeing lake cruises are available during the warmer months.

Several guest harbors are located around the lake for the convenience of visiting boaters. Marinas provide fuel, supplies, repairs and boat rentals. Most towns have swim beaches and picnicking areas. It is little problem for visiting boaters to stop off anywhere along the shore as long as it is not someone’s private yard; Everyman’s Right guarantees every person the right to use the vast majority of property for non-destructive purposes. Although water skiers and jet skiers occasionally skim across the water, much of the lake is usually deserted except for fishing boats. The long reaches of the main lake are attractive to sailors, but they need to be aware that strong winds come up quickly. Canoeing, kayaking and rowing are popular in the many coves and bays, although some experienced rowers do venture out away from shore in the remarkably sturdy and seaworthy wooden boats Finland is known for.

It is fishing however, that Lake Pielinen is famous for. Pike, zander, perch, landlocked salmon, brown trout, burbot, whitefish, bream, roach and ide are caught. The salmon is stocked as fingerlings, since native stocks having died out. A few grayling are found in the lake, but are currently protected. Trolling the large open stretches of water is a preferred method of fishing. Several charter fishing services offer trolling expeditions. There are numerous extensive rocky shallows in Lake Pielinen which are excellent for pike. In winter, ice fishing becomes the favored pastime. Often ice fishermen reach their favorite spot via snowmobile, but a few individuals still use the old Scandinavian method of ice transportation, the kick sled. This ancient design resembles a dogsled minus the dogs. Instead, the sled pilot rides the runners and uses one foot to power it ahead.

The area around Lake Pielinen is supplied with many trails for hiking, horseback riding, cycling, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. ‘Safaris’ can be arranged for trekking by snowmobile or dogsled. Larger towns usually have fitness centers and often indoor pools for these who don’t wish to indulge in the popular ‘ice swimming’ (there are special facilities for that, too). Golf courses are located in several spots around the lake. The City of Juuka is known as the Stone Roller’s Village, because a film of the same name was made there. Juuka is known for soapstone, which is used for fireplaces and as building material. In the Tulikivi Village one can learn how the soapstone is shaped, learn about soapstone products, and visit a soapstone museum. Pottery and soapstone ware are very popular souvenirs and can be bought all around Juuka. Just south of Juuka, the Koli National Park is a favorite destination in all seasons. Rising over 800 feet above the surface of Lake Pielinen, the Koli hilltops make a splendid spot to admire the beautiful mid-lake waters and islands.

The purpose of Koli National Park is less to preserve nature and more about preserving traditional Finnish agricultural heritage. Some fields are slashed, burned and re-cultivated, and hay is cut yearly. Traditional Finnish breeds of cows and sheep graze in the meadows of Koli. The new Ukko Visitors Center has maps, interpretive exhibits and tourist services. At Koli, visitors can ski along Southern Finland’s longest illuminated skiing trail. There are two ski resorts in the Koli area – one for families and another for more advanced downhill skiing. Two of the slopes are snowboarding runs. There are also snow castles for children. The Koli area offers ski lodgings in a variety of forms, from guest houses to ski apartments to fully-equipped luxury resorts.

Finding holiday lodgings at Lake Pielinen isn’t difficult. A number of resorts, caravan parks, campgrounds, holiday houses and private rental cabins are available. Several of the small resorts cater to fishermen and hunters. Real estate can usually be found along the lakefront as owners sell existing cabins and homes. Some vacant land can still be found for development. The Karelia area of Lakeland is still relatively empty and will retain its wilderness character for a long time to come. So come to Lake Pielinen. Enjoy the berries, mushrooms, black bear, deer, moose, waterfowl and birds. Troll the majestic waters for the wily pike, and finish the day with a refreshing sauna. The Lake Pielinen experience is one you’ll never forget! Get away . . to Lake Pielinen!

Things to do at Lake Pielinen

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lake Pielinen

  • Brown Trout
  • Burbot
  • Grayling
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Roach
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Whitefish
  • Zander

Lake Pielinen Photo Gallery

Lake Pielinen Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 214,240 acres

Shoreline Length: 379 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 307 feet

Average Depth: 33 feet

Maximum Depth: 197 feet

Water Volume: 6,891,062 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 4,951 sq. miles

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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