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Pike fishing in Sweden can very well be described as phenomenal.01 blekinge 20220213 1601724868

But, it is very easy to put strong words and praise to fishing, so please let me tell you of my experiences with pike fishing in Sweden, and you can judge for yourself.

Since my early years of fishing, I have read and heard about the great pike in Sweden. Sweden is just a few miles from Denmark, separated only by a narrow sound, and yet the pike fishing there is worlds apart from ours.

The first Swedish pike reports and articles, I read, were about the fishing in Stockholm harbour. Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, and needless to say, there is a lot of boat traffic, so pike fishing right there seemed a bit odd to me at the time. Nevertheless a great number of 10-15 kg pike were caught around luxury yachts and among the pier pillars, where they were quite visible in the crystal clear water.

03 blekinge maraviken 20220213 1061266547The Swedish pike record suddenly skyrocketed, when one man, Fehmi Varli, got the two biggest pike on the list: 26.57 kg and 24.10 kg. They were (of course) caught in Stockholm harbour.

These pike are to date two of the biggest pike recorded in Sweden, and even though they have recently been removed from the record list, because of lack of "credibility" in the way they were caught, one irrefutable fact remains: They were bloody big pike!

These days, big pike fishing in Sweden is really something else. Methods, baits and especially fish finders have created totally new dimensions in the hunt for bigger pike.

All over Sweden an unbelievable number of 10 kg pike are caught, and what is even more interesting, a comfortably large number of pike between 15 and 20 kg on top of this.

The many huge lakes of Sweden, that before seemed a daunting task to fish (and to some extend still is), have now seen the effects of fish finders and downriggers - many lessons learned from the prolific Baltic Sea salmon and sea trout trolling. Pike, which before were as good as untouchable, are now very much a realistic potential.

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The Swedish eastern coastline (the Baltic Sea) is basically an archipelago consisting of thousands of small islands, bays and fiords - called Skärgård. Many rich Swedish rivers run into the Baltic, especially famous for the salmon and sea trout fishing. This coastline, the Skärgård, and these river mouths are, in my estimation, the most prolific and by far the best pike fishing waters in the world.

Countries like Germany and Austria have very big pike, in Canada and Ireland you can catch almost as many as you like, but when it comes down to the amount of 15 to 20 kg pike, Sweden takes the lead by far.

The reason the big pike thrive in Sweden is mainly due to three things:

1) The lake pike have infinite masses of water, which to any normal pike angler are overwhelming, and which in turn leave many waters and areas completely untouched and free of fishing pressure.

2) The coastal pike live on fat prey such as herring, eelpout, mackerel, trout and salmon in the brackish waters of the Baltic Sea. And here, as well, there is an almost infinite amount of water.

3) The Swedish laws prevent commercial fishermen from taking all the big pike.

A very good question now would, of course, be: “Where, exactly, do I go and fish pike then?” - And an easy answer would be: “Anywhere!”

Of course, that is stretching it a bit. There are pike, and very good pike, just about anywhere in Sweden, but naturally you won’t easily catch monster pike with no effort. So let me tell you a little about my experiences, and share with you some area information:

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The Trosa Skärgård, just south of Stockholm, has been famous for the Baltic pike fishing for a number of years now. There the brothers Robert and Ronny Andén run a very successful guiding business. They have together accumulated years of invaluable knowledge about the water there, plus perfected fishing techniques to lure the pike out under just about any weather condition, and overcome the very special bottom topography in the Skärgård. They are so successful, that they offer you your money back, if you don’t catch pike.

Both these guys have pretty good personal records, both with biggest pike of 17 kg, and Ronny sports a record of more than a 100 pike over 10 kg in 1997.

In April 1997, I had the pleasure of doing a test-fishing trip to Trosa with Robert Andén. The conditions were not the best - sun, blue sky and very cold. This means the pike have a tendency to stay close to the bottom, and not moving around very much, and this makes bait presentation a bit hard, as the bottom topography is like something created by a psychedelic artist - huge rocks, very deep gorges and crevasses – the waters drops from 1 meter to 10 metres to 100 metres within a fairly small area. Very few artificial baits can really cope with these conditions, because it is next to impossible to get the bait placed in front of the pike for very long, and the pike rarely rise to the bait in very cold water (just a few degrees that makes the difference sometimes, though). For this fishing the Swedes have developed a plug, named Zalt, which has almost revolutionized plug fishing in Sweden. This plug can be fished, actually jigged, very slowly near the bottom, as it is almost weight-neutral, only just sinking.

In my estimation there are very few new types of bait, which really make a difference, especially considering the amount of tackle being produced, and as a result I was hesitant to start writing a want-list consisting of Zalt plugs, until I had seen it in action. 1½ days fishing with Robert produced 54 pike to 10 kg (under conditions that are traditionally very difficult). Need I say more...

22 vaestervik 20220213 1415037883II) VÄSTERVIK ARCHIPELAGO
Four years ago, in May, I visited my good friends Håkan and Per, who run another guiding business. The places they take people fishing are the Skärgård about 200 km south of Stockholm, plus the second biggest lake in Sweden, Vättern. In Vättern they almost solely do trolling for pike - and it is actually in Vättern, that the present Swedish record pike of 19.7 kg, was caught in 1999.

In Skärgården near Västervik, they do spinning/jigging or bait fishing depending on the time of year. When I was there the first time, the pike were “cold and slow”, once again. Håkan and Per’s way of overcoming these conditions is in a way similar to the Andén brother's - jigging the bait. But Håkan and Per do the natural extension of this method - using a jig.

Too many big pike have been lost on traditional jigs, so the jigs have been outfitted to deal with that problem. Either a treble is simply fitted over the jigs big single-hook, and one of the points of the treble embedded in the silicone body; or a jig is tackled up like a live bait, with wires from the eye on the head to one or two trebles along the body and/or the tail of the jig.

We had 2 days fishing together, and landed 45 pike to 9.4 kg, with the average pike weighing around 5-6 kg. In perspective, two other very good pike anglers were fishing one day with normal plugs under the same conditions a couple of days before and caught 1 pike!

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South again, in the province of Blekinge, the local authorities are putting a lot of effort into promoting the pike fishing in the Baltic coast. It was at Eriksberg estate in Maraviken, Blekinge, that I caught my biggest pike of 21.2 kg.

My fish isn’t the only big pike from this specific area. The local record is 22.5 kg, and a few days after I caught mine, a German angler got a pike of 19.1 kg.

In Maraviken the best fishing is when the pike are actually spawning, which happens in April/May, depending on the temperature of the water. The pike can then be found in the shallow bays, and often you will actually see the pike taking the bait. In the shallows we used small green/yellow jointed Rapalas with great success, and in the deeper water I would now use either Zalt plugs or the big “outfitted” jigs.

As an afterthought, it is strange to think that had I recorded my big pike at the time, it would have been the Swedish (and Scandinavian) record today. At the time it was Fehmi Varli’s 26.57 kg pike, which held the record. But who complains...

The many rivers of Sweden have also come under the “pike microscope”, and what an utter and total success that has proved. Only five years ago river pike were caught sporadically, but nevertheless, anglers fishing for perch caught a couple of enormous pike. One lucky perch angler actually managed to land a 20 kg pike on light tackle.

That (and other very interesting reports) practically jumpstarted a new generation of pike anglers in Sweden. Besides the pike anglers, specimen- and carp anglers took a good and serious look at this new potential. Echo sounders made it easier to map the river in search of monster pike lairs, but the greatest leap in this respect was undoubtedly made in bait presentation - and then a good portion of patience. The results came on natural baits; live bait and dead bait, and preferably trolled - not even pre-baiting is sacrilege anymore for the modern pike angler as it has almost always been in Scandinavia.33 blekinge maraviken 20220213 1972053762

Of course, there is nothing new in live and dead baits, but the methods and rigs adapted from England, turned out to be enormously handy in the Swedish rivers. The Lödde Å (Å = River) produced no less than 5 pike over 13 kg in one single day: 13.9 kg, 15.5 kg, 15.9 kg, 16.5 kg and a monster of 19.9 kg. They landed no less than 14 fish over 15 kg that year (1997) from the river.

The next year the biggest monster from Lödde Å weighed 18.8 kg. A very talented pike specialist, Fredrik Stjärnkvist, who has spent countless hours on the rivers in wait of the big ones, caught this pike. Fredrik is one of a new breed of Swedish specimen anglers, who are not afraid to implement techniques from abroad, and who have the intelligence to make them work under Scandinavian conditions. He has a solid knowledge of Swedish pike fishing, and he has an impressive track record of 6 pike over 15 kg to back up his views.

Besides boat fished natural baits and trolling, Fredrik recons that the influence from American jerk bait fishing and improved techniques on ice fishing, have "opened up" waters that were previously very difficult.

Fredrik sees a bright future for Swedish pike fishing, indeed. He believes that the really big breakthrough is yet to come – and he foresees a leap in catches helped by refined techniques for both spinning, bait fishing, trolling, ice fishing and fly fishing in the years to come.

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The area around Trollhättan in the southwest of Sweden, lakes and rivers, including the great Göta Elv (Elv = River) can boast of big pike and big catches, as well. My long time friend, Peter Grahn, lives there - and certainly fishes there. Peter is without a doubt the greatest pike expect I have ever met. His keen interest in pike over many years, his natural talent for fishing, and his generosity has put him in the top of the Swedish pike anglers.

I fish with him as often as I can, and I have a much benefit of his in-depth knowledge of the local waters. We have yet to return home empty-handed.

Peter has a good deal of 10 kg fish under his belt, and his biggest pike, which came from Göta Elv, weighed 16.65 kg.

Lately Peter has recently tested an enormous local lake, and after only a few seconds of the plug being in the water (after a yellowbird planer-board), he hooked and landed a 12 kg pike - and after another half hour he got another one just touching 10 kg. He has promised me, that I can come and try myself, so guess what I will be doing next time we meet in Sweden...

If you are interested in trying yourself and/or seeing some more about it, you are welcome to check out my website: or contact me for more information on email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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