TWO LONG RIVERS IN A WILDERNESS SETTING UNDER SUSTAINABLE FISHING RULES
The Korvuanjoki and Korpijoki form part of the Korvua-Näljänkäjoki fishing area covered by a joint licence.This 110-kilometre-long river fishing destination is located in the sparsely populated border area between Northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu. The licence area includes more than 60 rapids with numerous smaller riffles, distributed across water areas belonging to seven different fishing associations, one private farm and the state-owned Metsähallitus. In other words, the area provides plenty of room for fishing.
The primary fish in the river is grayling, with trout occurring in some places. The fish are predominantly from natural reproduction, the rivers not having been stocked for years. To ensure the preservation of a healthy fish stock, more stringent regulations are applied here than in recreational fishing areas maintained by stocking catchable-size fish. Actually catching the fish may also present a challenge here, but skilful anglers will be rewarded by beautiful salmonoids with undamaged fins. Not easy fish to land!
Some rapids can be reached by car, while others require a hike. The majority of the rapids are located in forested country. Services in the licence area are, on the whole, fairly basic. A few wilderness huts can be found in the area, while Kinkelinkoski rapid on the Lylyjoki and Lahnasenkoski rapid on the Korvuanjoki have a lean-to/’kota’ hut and fire pit.
The Korvuanjoki is traditionally known as the area’s best grayling and trout river. With the clearest water in the entire licence area, the river begins in Lake Korvuanjärvi and drains into the Korpijoki. The Korvuanjoki is 50 kilometres in length, of which 20 kilometres consists of rapids, swift currents and runs. The total difference in elevation effected by the river’s rapids is about 100 metres.
The Korvuanjoki can be reached from the village of Metsäkylä, located on the Puolanka–Näljänkä-Taivalkoski road (road 800), or by access from the Näljänkä-Siivikko road (road 8390). This long river flows predominantly through forest, with the relevant base map sheet showing numerous logging roads leading close to the river. Several fishing spots demand something of a hike, and anglers should bear in mind that many roads leading to summer cottages are closed.
Of the river’s rapids, those in the upper reaches between Lake Korvuanjärvi and Metsäkylä village are sometimes steeper and craggier than elsewhere on the river. Apart from the physical environment, differences in the fish stock are also apparent, as anglers stand a better chance of catching trout here than in other reaches of the river. The river also flows through a number of small lakes in its upper reaches. This is reflected in the composition of the river’s fish stock. Anglers should note that, besides a number of rotating no-fishing zones, a permanent no-fishing zone has been established below Lake Vääräjärvi.
Downstream from Metsäkylä the Korvuanjoki is characterised by relatively gentle and long rapids and streams, all with a gravel or rocky bottom. The river meanders in a channel ten to twenty metres wide for its entire length, running to dozens of kilometres. With no lake-like pools, the rest of the river’s course provides potential holding water for salmonoids. The character of the Korvuanjoki makes it highly suitable for white-water and fly-fishing.
The Korvuanjoki has an interesting history that includes timber floating, fishing and freshwater pearl mussels. In 1925, the famous pearlfisher Konrad Hollo fished the biggest pearl ever discovered in Kainuu. According to rumour, this pearl found its way into either the Swedish or British crown jewels. Soon after, freshwater pearl mussel populations collapsed through extensive harvesting and environmental degradation. As freshwater pearl mussels live in a symbiotic relationship with salmonoids, these have shared a similar plight. The freshwater pearl mussel is protected under the Nature Conservation Act, and it is forbidden to lift them out of the water or even to touch them.
Fish stock and stock management
The Korvuanjoki has a natural fish population. Grayling is frequently caught on the river, with anglers standing a fair chance of catching fine specimens exceeding the 40-centimetre minimum length. Trout are rarer, but become a more frequent catch the further upstream the angler fishes. The entire course of the Korvuanjoki was restored to its previous condition between 1988 and 2002, after which the river was closed to fishing for a long period. This has strengthened the trout population in particular, and contributed positively to the recovery of the natural reproduction cycle in the river. While the fishing ban in some areas was lifted with the introduction of the joint fishing licence, the most important fry production areas are still off limits. The most significant element in the management of trout and grayling populations is observance of the new fishing regulations. The raising of minimum sizes enables fish to grow to parental fish sizes, whereby the fishery management is carried out by nature itself in the best possible way.
Fishing etiquette >>
The Korpijoki is the main river in the Näljänkä waterway and one which drains the waters from the entire licence area towards the River Iijoki. This can be seen in the size of the river, which is 20 to 45 metres wide, even in the stretches with fast currents and rapids. The length of this river system is around seven kilometres. The upper reaches, with only a few sections of fast currents and runs, are the most difficult to reach. The section most interesting to white-water anglers is the Korpikoski rapid, which runs for more than two kilometres. Korpikoski can be reached by locating logging roads on a relevant base map sheet. The roads to look for begin from Korpinen village or the Näljänkä–Siivikko road (road 8390). Some are in a state of poor repair, but will lead anglers fairly close to either bank of the rapid. A dry, pine-covered esker runs parallel to the rapid’s western bank, making for easier walking than on the eastern bank.
The Korpikoski rapid is big, fast-flowing and strewn with boulders. Anglers using the joint lure fishing licence should bear in mind that rivers in the area traverse hilly country, making them prone to flooding after heavy rainfalls. The Korpijoki should be avoided at these times, being at its best when its small tributaries are running dry. The head of the Korpikoski rapid has milder currents, the rapid proper being a fast-moving straight channel that bottoms out into a calmer bend known as Pyörteen mutka. In order to catch the largest fish in the fast currents the lures must be heavy enough to sink deeper than the top layer. The width of Korpikoski makes it practically impossible for anglers, particularly fly fishers, to cover the entire water area from one bank. The rapids are generally too difficult to wade across.
Fish stock and stock management
The Korpijoki has a natural fish population. Grayling is the characteristic fish of the area and also the most frequently caught. This large river with its tributaries has plentiful deep currents and dozens of kilometres of peaceful stretches where fish can grow. Korpijoki provides excellent opportunities for catching really large grayling. Trout is a relatively rare surprise on these rivers. Some trout, however, move from the downstream lakes of this large watercourse into the upstream reaches, with some individuals, much like grayling, spending their entire lives in these rivers. The fishing regulations aim at restoring the fish stocks’ natural reproduction. Minimum legal sizes have been raised to give fish a chance to reproduce. It is important that anglers observe the fishing regulations and minimum legal lengths and understand the role that responsible sport fishing plays in restoring natural reproduction of the fish stock.