At the first Worlds held on Lake Vanern many anglers caught pike around the metre mark within a kilometre of the starting line, some within just a hundred metres of the entrance to the small harbour of Amal that opens onto the lake.
Having spent many years guiding anglers on sportfishing tours around Lake Vanern, Andy van Assema has accumulated a broad knowledge of the vast reaches of this massive lake and offered the following thoughts, when interviewed in early December 2017. Among those thoughts was the prediction that competitors don’t necessarily have to travel a long way to catch fish and that pike will be caught close to the event site, which of course was exactly what happened.
Van Assema said, “Vanern is the third largest lake in Europe and is part of a totally unique archipelago with a length of almost 200 kilometres. It holds a great variety of fish, including very large pike, but it also holds a large numbers of trout and salmon up to around 5-6kg and 90cm in length. They can be caught as bi-catch when targeting pike, particularly around autumn. Pike between 10-14kg are pretty common around the lake and many of the larger pike are well over the 1m mark, with some going up to 140cm”.
“When you look out from the harbour in Amal, it looks like one massive big lake, but when you go out on the water, and into the more shallow areas that you can see from the event site, you will find an incredible amount of smaller bays, weed lines, rocky areas and thousands of small and larger islands which offer a wide range of sportfishing possibilities”.
“Perch! There are many in Lake Vanern, but in spring it is more of a challenge to catch them than pike. They are more common in summer and autumn, but in the colder period such as early spring, they are still found in the deeper water. There are some there, but it is harder to find a lot close to the event site”.
“But if you are going to target perch, the weather, which is very unpredictable in Sweden, will be a big factor. In May you can still have a -5 degree frost at night and then it can reach 20 degrees Celsius during the day. So, where the perch are, and in what amount, has a lot to do with the water temperature and the weather”.
“Keep a close eye on your sonar because within 40-60 metres of the start location there are steep drop-offs where they might be sitting, otherwise they can often hide between the islands among the stones and the weed lines. They like the big differences in depths and a lot of structure on the bottom”.
“Vanern holds a tremendous stock of big fish, but when you go there for the first time it can be very hard. Generally, you need to have a lot of experience to know where pike and perch hide in the lake in different seasons and conditions, throughout the year. The best advice for anglers without a lot of experience targeting pike and perch is not to spend too much time pedaling long distances to areas hours away just to take a lucky shot. It is better to concentrate on areas closer by, because you will find that there are many great spots a long way away, but there are also areas much closer to the Worlds event site that will present plenty of opportunities”.
“There are deep drop-offs with rock structure that is connected to open water and also really shallow bays with weed lines. In Spring, when the event is taking place, you’ll see that there are big differences in water temperature in a really, tight confined area. Just outside of that area it may be +2 degrees while you enter a bay a few hundred metres out it may be 7,8,9 degrees or even more. Try to think in that way, and how fish might react to differences like that”.
“Of course, as you all would know, keep in mind every predator always follows their food, so if you come across schools of baitfish take a good look under the patterns of the school, and just like across the rest of the world you can almost be sure that there will be predators hanging around”.