ZANDERLAND - Rapids - In pursuit of rapids-dwelling brown trout


Tampere Region - Finland

Kotalan Kosket Rapids

In pursuit of rapids-dwelling brown trout

Fishing guide Juha Happonen knows the tricks of fishing brown trout on rapids like the back of his hand. Over the years, his experience has accumulated on fishing trips to the foaming waters both on his own and with hundreds of international clients.

The spring season starts around March-April as the February Red stoneflies hatch out. In spring, as in late autumn once the waters have cooled down, lure movements should be leisurely. At that time, brown trout are relatively active throughout the day.

In summer and early autumn, when waters are warm, anglers tend to use smaller plugs and spinners as well as leeches. The best bite times in summer are before midnight and in the morning. In August and September, it’s also worth going after brown trout in the middle of the night. That’s when a headtorch comes in handy.

Fishing brown trout on rapids is also very much tied to seasons in terms of hot spots. In spring and autumn, the fish head for slower flowing pools. In summer, it’s a good idea to swim your lure in stronger currents at the edges of deep pits and in back-eddies. It is really worth going through the holes of the rapids with a fine-tooth comb when the water is at its lowest.

Juha’s favourite weather for rapids fishing is when it is cloudy and he doesn’t mind a little drizzle either.
A leech can save the day
Small leeches are worth their weight in gold in your lure box during the hot low-water season. These are used in the jigging style; in other words, you jerk and bounce the lure close to bottom pits. With leeches and other small lures, Juha recommends using UL tackle, when the suitable thickness of monofilament line is 0.16–0.20 mm.

Line manufacturers are engaged in continuous product development. Fluorocarbon and polymer lines, recent inventions used as fly leaders, are more resistant to abrasion than braided lines that have become very popular.

A braided line mainly holds its own during cold-water seasons, when fish movements are slower. When waters are warm and brown trout put up a fight, it doesn’t work all that well, because escapes will increase due to its lack of elasticity. Frosty weather is also not the proper climate for braided lines, because the rough line collects and absorbs water, which will freeze and cause problems when reeling in. You must also remember to cut the worn-out outermost end of the braided line whenever required.

Fishing guide Happonen, who guides clients in areas such as the Vilppulankoski Rapids, explains that corporate and international clients have responded well to rapids fishing. The foaming waters create their own special atmosphere. Surrounded by the sounds of rippling water, your mind calms down, while Finnish nature shows its best sides. Mind you, a startling bite from a brown trout may cause more than a few ripples!
It’s time for the February Red
Timo Koikkalainen, a Mänttä-based fishing guide, describes fishing with the February Red stonefly (Taeniopteryx nebulosa) as being all about timing that requires patience to grasp. These stoneflies only hatch out en masse occasionally, which means that not all springs are as good as each other. You can anticipate potential occasions by following the weather reports. When the forecast promises calm and sunny weather of around +5 degrees Celsius or more, you can expect these insects to hatch on March and April afternoons. When the air is thick with stoneflies, dry-fly fishing – which is the whole point of stonefly fishing – can produce great experiences. Excellent stonefly rapids in the Tampere Region include the Herraskoski and Kotalan Kosket Rapids.
Throw in your poppers
In Timo Koikkalainen’s opinion, top-water fishing for brown trout using poppers is the greatest invention introduced in fishing in recent years. A popper is a top-water plug with a concave cupped lip. The lure swims and splashes right at the surface and entices rapids-dwelling brown trout, which may have lost interest in other lures, to mount a surprise attack. Skitter Pops and other similar small lures also work well during the November cold-water season. When fishing with poppers, the sight of brown trout visiting the surface brings genuine aesthetic pleasure to fishing.