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Arctic char - the beauty of the north

 

Photo: Petteri Kontila
Arctic char, also spelt arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus). Kaldoaivi wilderness, Utsjoki.
Arctic char, also spelt arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus).

Arctic char, also spelt 'arctic charr', are mostly found in the mountain lakes of northernmost Lapland and in Lakes Inarijärvi and Kilpisjärvi. In addition, they can be found in small numbers in the Lake Saimaa water system.

Arctic char thrive in cool waters and can be caught in summer on large lakes by trolling with spoons at 10 to 30 metres. The fish may also bite closer to the surface, in particular when waters are cool.

On Lappish mountain lakes, flies and spinners are the most reliable lures to trick arctic char. The season starts right after the break-up of ice – not until late June – and the fish are caught by casting from the shore. Peak bite times are in the early morning and evening.

During midsummer heat waves, the fish may lie quite deep in small lakes, so it's a good idea to sink the lure generously. At night, the fish come to the surface to feed and that's when small dry flies are effective.

Photo: Jari Salonen 
Lake Inarijärvi.
Lake Inarijärvi.
 

Arctic char are capricious fish to ice-fish. You may have to spend several days by the hole without getting a single tug – or you may catch dozens of fish within the first half an hour.

During the spawning period, arctic char is the most beautiful fish in Finland. The red-bellied male is a handsome sight, but only a select few get to see it.

Arctic char is delicious when dry-cured raw, fried or smoked. The fish tastes best when enjoyed by a Lappish wilderness lake.

Photo: Ismo Kolari 
In summer, arctic char strike spoons at 10 to 20 metres. Lake Inarijärvi.
In summer, arctic char strike spoons at 10 to 20 metres. Lake Inarijärvi.
 
 
 
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Typical size: 0,5–1,5 kg
Record catch in Finland since 2000: 6,51 kg
Other notes: Arctic char is totally protected on Lake Kuolimo and on Lake Saimaa on the water area between Puumalansalmi Sound and the head of River Vuoksi (Vuoksenniska).

Closed season 1st September to 30th November in other parts of River Vuoksi water system.

Minimum sizes:
60 cm: River Vuoksi water system.
45 cm: Lake Inarijärvi.

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