Estonia's border lakes popular fishing spots after ATV ban lifted

A frozen Lake Peipus.
A frozen Lake Peipus. Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

Starting Tuesday, it is now allowed to take an ATV or snowmobile on Lake Peipus (Peipsi järv), Lake Pihkva and Lämmijärv. Since the zander season has already kicked off, several fishermen were already working the lake on Tuesday, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.

The shores of Estonia's eastern lakes were quite empty on Tuesday, as fishermen had already moved out onto the ice, "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Tuesday evening.

"[ATVs and snowmobiles] are a great help for fishermen, because pulling a led back by yourself is heavy and since we are talking about distances of 10-20 km on Peipus, it is unthinkable to traverse it on foot," said OÜ Latikas board chair and fisherman Margus Narusing.

Since an all-terrain vehicle allows fishers to travel longer distances and the zander season has kicked off, Narusing said Lake Peipus is currently a very popular location.

"If the starter pistol is fired and it is open season on zander can be caught from January, everyone will go fishing and as much as the half-year quota is caught right away - some 200 tons. Everyone wants to catch as many and as fast as possible," Narusing added.

"For example, if I go on foot and can put down five nets, I can maybe catch 100 kg of fish, but if I go with an ATV and can put down 20 nets, I can already pull out some 400 kg," the fisher added.

Although most fishermen on the lake currently are looking to bag larger amounts of zander, there are still those that prefer to fish to go fishing the old-fashioned way. It also allows them to stay active and enjoy the nature. Additionally, walking is safer as the lake ice has already claimed the lives of at least two ATV-riding men this winter.

"It depends on the depth of the lake, the flow, springs and vegetation. The ice is not the same all-around and unfortunate situations can take place at any moment," said Konstantin, a local fisher.

When venturing out onto the ice by ATV, it is mandatory to register the departure. To do this, the person must first create an account on the border guard's self-service website at, and after that one's departure to and arrival from the lake can be registered either by text message or on the same website.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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