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VISpas Hotspots: Tjonger (Friesland)

VISpas Hotspots: Tjonger (Friesland)

The Tjonger is a river in the south of Friesland that flows more than 40 kilometres from high, forested ground to lower moorland areas. There are quite a few easily accessible spots along the banks of this stretch of river. In addition to enjoying a varied landscape, restful surroundings and space, anglers of coarse fish, predatory fish and carp will have the chance of a good catch.

The Tjonger (or Kuinder) is a canalised river that is included in its entirety in the VISpas. The river flows westwards from Oosterwolde (near Drenthe). For the first fourteen kilometres, the banks are generally dead straight and easily accessible by means of a bike path. However, this changes just past Heerenveen. From there onwards, a number of broad side canals branch off, connecting directly to the Frisian Lakes. This connection enables fish from these lakes to migrate to and from the Tjonger, and they make good use of this, particularly in spring.

Coarse fish

Spring is therefore the high season for coarse fish anglers, although a session along the Tjonger often also yields a catch during the rest of the year. The most commonly caught types are bream (with an average weight ranging from 800 to 1500 g), followed by roach and silver bream. Since it’s not essential to cast far – the most productive spots are at a distance of five to fifteen metres – both a light feeder rod and fishing pole are suitable. Gauge the depth carefully and pay extra attention to the riverbed conditions. The Tjonger’s deepest point (two metres) is regularly at a distance of just five metres, while the middle of this approximately thirty metre-wide stretch of water can sometimes be shallower. Also bear in mind the softness of the riverbed. Use light feed baskets (15 to 20 g) for feeder fishing, and choose a somewhat longer underline (25 cm) with a pole for better bait presentation. Knead a feedball that falls apart readily, and choose casters and dead maggots as bait, as these stay down well on the peat bottom.

Fishing spots along the Tjonger at Tjongerpad b Mildam.

Predatory fish

The Tjonger is known to be a good location for pike. The average ‘green jacket’ comes in at about 75 cm, but there are also specimens of over a metre out there. Because the banks are rather monotonous, any interruptions offer attractive spots. Bridges, junctions, narrows, quays, pumping stations and the three weir complexes are great pike hotspots. Pikeperch are present to a lesser extent, with catches varying significantly from year to year. There are fewer good hotspots for this predator (such as a narrows under a bridge), and these are often only accessible by boat. The average glass-eye comes in at 35 to 65 cm in length, although whoppers of up to 90 cm can be caught. From the summer months to November, small artificial lures (four to six centimetres) offer the chance of landing perch near quays, bridges and spots where baitfish get into trouble due to the current.


A good mix of common and mirror carp makes the Tjonger an attractive carp water, particularly since there are relatively few anglers. The average carp comes in at around 20 pounds, but anglers have also landed 40-pound specimens along this river. Along this large water system, establishing a feeder spot is a generally more effective approach than fishing right away. The best catches are made at night, with the sometimes busy recreational boating traffic appearing to reduce the bite rate during the day. In any case, thanks to the stocking of carp by the SKP Friese Boezem Committee together with Sportvisserij Fryslân, the future looks bright. If you catch a mirror carp on the Tjonger, a report of this would be appreciated (


Sportvisserij Fryslân has recently renovated three fishing piers at Ter Idzard (Ruskemadenweg). Eleven new fishing spots have been established at Mildam (Tjongerpad). There are free boat ramps in Kuinre (Havendijk), Oldelamer (Tjongerweg) and Ter Idzard (Ruskemadenweg). Because the Tjonger flows past private estates in some places, this sometimes limits the possibility of driving alongside the water.
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