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Whitefish are salmonoids

Whitefish are salmonoids, and they are common throughout the Kuusamo area. Local fishery collectives stock their waters actively with whitefish. There are several whitefish populations which can be separated by the number of secondary teeth in their grillrakers. The most common whitefish populations in Kuusamo are the Baltic whitefish, the European whitefish, the broad whitefish, and the maraena whitefish. Hybrids are also formed between different whitefish populations, and therefore an examination by a more experienced fisherman is sometimes needed to find out which kind of whitefish has been caught. The populations differ from each other mostly by the nutrition they choose to eat. The less secondary teeth the fish has, the larger and coarser food it prefers.

Whitefish are happy to eat many kinds of food. As fry they eat plankton, and when they are older, they eat water fleas, bottom-dwelling creatures, and small fish. The usual catch size of whitefish is approximately 30-35 cm, which it reaches in 4-5 years under normal nutritional circumstances.

However, there is no minimum size given for whitefish. Whitefish spawn in autumn, between
September and December. The spawning season is two to four weeks long. Whitefish often rise or descend to spawn in rivers and small brooks, sometimes even in small ditches, but they also spawn in lakes near rocky areas or shores. They spawn 0.5-5 metres under water in areas with gravel or sand bottom.

How to catch whitefish

In winter it is possible to go ice fishing for whitefish. The best season for this is in early winter and again on the last spring ice. The fact that whitefish move around in shoals makes ice fishing easy. If you manage to find a whitefish shoal, you may be in for a considerable catch. During the cold-water season whitefish don’t move around very much, and the places of fishing nets must be changed often. Nets made of thin (0.12 mm) thread usually give the best catch, but if there are plenty of pike and perch in the water, they may cause considerable damage to the nets.

In spring, after the ice has melted, whitefish takes well to small mini wobblers and spinners which are trolled from a row boat. In June when Midsummer approaches and the waters are warm, you should also try small flies tied to a thin line. Whitefish go after them greedily, especially late in the evening.

In July, when the waters are properly warm, the bigger whitefish tend to swim to the cooler water in deep parts of lakes during the day. If you cast nets with big enough meshes into deep lake water, you may be surprised by the catch. You should also take a landing net with you, as often the bigger whitefish are only slightly attached to the net by their jowls. They can wriggle loose of the net quite easily.

In autumn, after the water has cooled and the spawning time approaches, whitefish start to move more actively. Then they are usually fished with nets from shallow shores and near rocky grounds. The catch is often good.

At the table

Whitefish can be cooked in many different ways. Most commonly they are fried, boiled, or smoked. The largest specimens are often rawpickled with coarse sea salt.