In the wintertime, the waters of Lake Saimaa are mostly covered with ice. Ice will melt in the beginning of May at the latest, but there are often enough open water areas for canoeing even before that. If you have courage to paddle following the edge of ice, it will be an unforgettable experience. Come spring, the nature of Lake Saimaa celebrates. Migratory birds arrive and may chant noisily (remember earplugs, if you wish to sleep in a tent).
It is most easy to see our world class rare endemic species, the Saimaa ringed seal, in the spring, too. It climbs on shoreline rocks or on the edge of the ice, to dry its fur during the moulting process. Nature is very active and as the days get longer, it is getting to be light nearly 24 hours per day.
At the beginning of May, sun rises at about 5 am and sets at about 9 pm. You can find wild herbs and fish for food.
The average air temperature in May is ca. 10 °C and water temperatures vary from 0 to +17 °C.
June, July and August are our summer months. June is a feast of light and sun shines nearly around the clock. In early summer, animals are still actively nesting. When the summer has reached its height, they care for their offspring and lead a more tranquil ”family life”.
In June, sun rises at around 3.30 am and sets approximately at 11 pm. Wild berries start to ripen, and in late summer, mushrooms will grow. Everyman’s Right permits berry and mushroom picking in the wilderness.
The avarage air temperature in June is 15 – 20 °C, July 20 – 25°C and August 18 – 22 °C and and water temperatures vary from 17 to +25 °C.
Autumn has a very special atmosphere on Lake Saimaa. It is the best time for stargazing and moon watching, as there is no disturbing light or snow. From September to October, winter preparations start in nature: deciduous trees change into their autumn colours and moss on rocky surfaces turns beautifully colourful. Waterway traffic on Lake Saimaa becomes scarce, and at times you can reach the feeling of being alone in nature and in the whole world. On the lake, you can smell the different fragrances of autumn.
November is our month of Helsinki “Slush event”, dark but invigorating. Usually, Lake Saimaa is usually not yet frozen and the ground is still snowless and bare. It is hard to imagine anything more exciting and bold to push away the depressing darkness than to paddle in twilight on the big open lake, waking up the senses. Low light and silence, the joy of freedom and moving on the water. All you need is the right equipment, good food and a warm cabin after the paddling day. November is truly the time when simple basics of life get appreciated
In November, sun rises at about 9 am and sets at about 3 pm.
The average air temperature in September is ca. 12 °C and water temperatures vary from + 11 to +15°C.
From December to January, the lake is hidden under the ice crust for a while. Lakeside people can enjoy a new dimension and move on ice. However, in certain places, the currents are so strong that the water doesn’t freeze, for example, just in the center of the Puumala village. Time to put your winter paddling gear on and go canoeing! It is striking, how comfortable paddling can be at below-freezing temperatures, surrounded by ice and snow. You can even get on out of your canoe, on ice, and try ice fishing. Twilight still prevails in December, but, in January, daylight time gets longer again.
In March, when open spaces of water become more abundant between the blocks of floating ice, we will organise winter canoeing courses.
The average air temperature in January is ca. -5 °C
Learn more about the weather: Finnish Meteorological Institute