This weekend, Estonians and Latvians alike were taking advantage of the final chance to do some ice fishing on Lake Peipus before the warmer weather arrives. However, according to locals, nowadays, the chase is often better than the catch.
Near Räpina harbor, Põlva County, the ice on the water was thick enough for local fishers to ride to Lake Lämmijarv by snowmobile. However, those who came on foot had to carry all their equipment with them.
"In the old days, they used to say that when March arrives, the fish will come. But now I've noticed that nothing is coming anymore," said Romi, a fisher from Viljandi.
"Two days ago, a friend and I went to Kolkja, where I caught a couple of dozen perch. My friend got a few more, but that was enough for me. I'm not the kind of person who needs a full bag. Once you've caught one fish, you can take out a sandwich, then sit back and enjoy it and just watch the world go by," Romi said.
Lake Lämmijärv is also popular for ice fishing, as it offers the potential to catch plenty of different types of fish.
"It is possible to catch 36 different species of fish in Lake Peipus. Six types are prohibited, but the rest are all possible," said Räpina harbor chief Marko Kajasalu.
"The main one people are after is perch. Of course, the winter has really shown itself here again (at the moment). So now, as we head towards spring, these ladies and gentlemen from Latvia are trying to catch as many perch as possible," Kajasalu added.
Some fishers pitched a tent to shelter themselves from the harsh winds as others moved around the lake, drilling new fishing holes.
However, at noon neither the Latvians nor the locals had made any catches worth boasting about.
"If you're going to come here now purely for the catch, then I'd say it's not worth it," said Olev, a fisher from Tartu. "But just come to breathe in this fresh air. You're still getting out and about and moving around in nature. Some people go to the gym, others come out onto the ice instead," said Olev, a fisherman from Tartu.
Editor: Michael Cole