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Artic Char or Dolly Varden?


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Ronan's report

Wednesday 22 January, 2014

Many years ago I saw a picture of a fantastic looking fish in a fly fishing magazine, called to be an Arctic char. To me that fish was so beautiful, that I knew one day I would have to fish for that kind of fish. Now this year that day is getting much closer!

I already started to do some reasearch two years ago in order to find out, where exactly to go, to catch one of these beautiful fishes. One? Yes, just one, but it has to be a big one! It is exactly that what makes it quite difficult though:

First of all it turned out, that the picture I saw in that fly fishing mag wasn't presenting an Artic char (S.alpinus), but a Dolly varden (S.malma) instead. But it's not only that one mag, which got those two species of fish mixed up. In fact the whole fly fishing world, especially the www most of the time seems to mistake Dolly varden to be Artic char. Here we find a perfect example of an "Artic char", which was a Dolly varden (S.malma) in truth. At least as far as I know it.

Now I already know most people would tell me, that Dolly varden don't grow bigger than 4-5Kg. And that's true for a lot of rivers. But there are a very few rivers, in which (northern) Dolly varden do get much bigger. The one in the picture I linked above is just one prove here. After knowing which species exactly to look for, it wasn't that hard to locate the right river to aim on.

It will be much harder to get access to that river though, since it is meandering thru the deepest wilderness. But hey, in fact THAT IS exactly what I was hoping for! A place hard to find, even harder to get to and then a very special fish - beautiful and a chance for a serious sized one - to HUNT for.

Still am wondering why so often the Dolly Varden is mistaken to be an Arctic char instead. Does Artic char sound more sexy? Don't all these guides, lodges and journalists know how to differentiate between both species? Or am I totally wrong myself?

If so, maybe some of you out there can provide further infos!? Yet am pretty sure to be spot-on here!

In the end both species of fish are among the most beautiful ones I know of.

All my best


p.s.: My greatest thanks to Fred DeCicco (Twinpeaks Adventures) for providing me with a lot of superb knowledge about both these species of fish.

p.s.s.: Even though facebok helped me a lot to locate the right river in order to... I agree with you Harps, it's time now to make that special fish happen. And that indeed can't be done in a place, where facebook could still help me. In fact I definetly will not have any internet connection out there, which makes that trip even better! (I agree with you ;) )

Pic Of Day



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