Everything You Need to Know About Arctic Char Fishing

What is an Arctic Char?

Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), also known as red charr and golden trout, is a cold, brackish water fish in the Salmonidae family that they share with salmon, trout, freshwater whitefishes, and graylings. They are known to be the northernmost fish found in freshwater, even residing in the Canadian Arctic. They are also known for being one of the rarest fish in Britain and Ireland.

Though the topside of a char is dark, depending on the time of year and the environment they are in, they can range from red to yellow, to white on their bellies. This variance caused differently colored fish to be labeled as different species until 1974 when it was discovered they’re all the same.

The best way to distinguish an arctic char from their cousin, the salmon, is to look at their sides. Arctic char will have light pink or white spots, while salmon will have dark spots.

How big do Arctic Char get?

There can be quite the variance in the size of arctic char due to not only environment size and food availability, but also due to the species' size dimorphism. Size dimorphism is when there are two different-sized forms of the same species, in this case, dwarf and giant. Dwarf char can be between seven ounces and five pounds, one ounce, and three inches long. Giant char typically weigh up to nine pounds and are 16 inches long on average.

Female and male arctic char can live up to 30 years after reaching maturity at four to ten and are typically the same size. Arctic char that migrate to the sea are usually larger than their land-locked brethren.

What's the biggest Arctic Char ever caught?

The IGFA world record is held by Jeffrey Ward who caught a 32 pound, nine-ounce gigantic arctic char out of Tree River, Canada in 1981. However, there have been unofficial reports of even larger ones caught out of Tree River, the biggest claiming to be over 34 pounds.

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