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Arctic Char illustration

Arctic Char

World Record ~  32 Lbs. 9 oz. Caught at Tree River, Canada on July 30, 1981 by angler Jeffery Ward

Scientific name ~ Salvelinus Alpinus

Other names ~ charr, red char

Identification ~ Arctic char have light colored spots on a dark background. They are variable in color depending on environmental conditions within their lake of residence and time of year. The back is dark with a brownish or olive cast. The sides are lighter, fading to a pale belly. The overall color may be brown, yellow, gold, orange, or red. As the char approaches spawning, the spots, belly, and fins take on a bright orange, red, or gold cast, and the lower fins have brilliant white leading edges. The entire body may become golden or orange. Spawning colors are more exaggerated in males than in females.

Size ~  Arctic char are streamlined fish and typically trout like. They belong to the char group of the salmon family and there are two subgroups - a sea-run group and a freshwater or land-locked group. The sea-run fish are larger, commonly weighing 5 to 10 pounds while the lake dwellers range in weight from 0.5 to 5 pounds.

Habitat ~ Circumpolar in distribution, Arctic char are native to far northern streams and lakes of North America, Asia, Europe, Iceland and Greenland. They are found in North America from Alaska around the Bering Sea and along the Arctic coast as far as Baffin Island. Except in the larger rivers, they seldom range far inland, although there are a few pockets of freshwater char as far south as Newfoundland, New Brunswick and the lakes of southeastern Quebec. In the Northwest Territories, their distribution includes most coastal rivers, some coastal lakes, the streams of the high Arctic islands and several islands in Hudson Bay.

Feeding Habits ~ The Arctic char's diet consists of insects, mollusks, and small fish.

Fishing Prints


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