Dolly Varden



Dolly Varden and Arctic char have been confused by anglers and biologists in Alaska. The Dolly Varden is one of the most widely distributed salmonids in Alaska. It occurs throughout the coastal areas of the state from southeast Alaska across the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea into the Beaufort Sea to the Mackenzie River in northern Canada. It also occurs in streams in Interior Alaska and the Brooks Range. The Dolly Varden is one of the most beautiful and diverse fish in Alaska. Some spend their entire lives in freshwater lakes or rivers. Others spend part of the year in saltwater, a few months or just a few weeks, but spawn in fresh water. In some populations, only females migrate to sea, growing larger and producing more eggs before returning to their home water and spawning with the small resident males. Char/Dolly Varden are also a secondary target fish, being mixed in with the rainbows and silver salmon in several rivers. They are brilliantly colored in September when they take on the spawning color and they can reach a length of close to 30 inches. No one ever complains about catching a char/Dolly Varden.