Alaskan Arctic Char are a beautiful fish that most resemble salmon and lake trout, easily confused with a Dolly Varden. Arctic char are highly variable in color depending on environmental conditions within their lake or river of residence and time of year, but are generally brown to greenish-brown on their upper body and lighter on their lower body. They have sparse pink to red spots on their back and sides (15-20 below their lateral line) and typically, the leading edge of their lower fins are white. In spawning adults, especially males, the lower body and the lower fins are orange to red, with fins having a prominent white leading edge. Spawning colors are more exaggerated in males than in females.
Fishing for them at the prime time can be an unforgettable experience. Char average 16″ to 18”, and some have measured over 27”. These beautiful fish are a great targeted species for novice to experienced anglers. Although you can catch Char all summer the ideal time for fishing for char is in the the late months of summer through October. As Char get closer to spawning there colors become more vibrant!
Fly Fishing for Char
Lake, river and stream populations of arctic char can be found nearby at the Last Cast Lodge. Fly fishing for char is very similar to fishing for rainbows. The Kvichak River, Lake Iliamna and the surrounding small tributaries are home to many arctic char. Nothing beats catching one of these beauties when they are in their spawning colors! In Alaska, all known populations of Arctic char appear to spend their entire lives in lakes and do not migrate far from their home lake. Anadromous populations of Arctic char have not been observed in Alaska.
Spawning takes place in lakes between the fall months of August and October. Most char are ready to spawn between six to nine years. Growth is slow for Arctic char in Alaska's cold lakes. Some arctic char have been known to live for over 20 years. Maximum size may vary greatly, depending on the productivity of the particular lake and the presence of other fish species. Fish over 10 pounds are not uncommon in some Alaska lakes, while other lakes may not produce fish over 2 pounds even though fish may reach a great age. The largest Arctic char in Alaska occur in some of Bristol Bay's large lakes. The largest lake in all of Alaska is Lake Iliamna, the Last Cast Lodge is located on 10 acres that boarders Lake Iliamna and the Kvichak River.
Recommended Rods & Flies for Arctic Char
Use one of our custom "Walton rods" or bring your favorite 5 wt rod, some trusty streamers, woolly buggers, egg patterns or flesh patterns. At the lodge we have experienced guides who would be happy to teach you how to tie our favorite flies for these cold water trophies.