Arctic Char

Also known as: Sea-run, Ilkalupik, Martson trout, Quebec red trout, or Blueback trout

Firm, Tasty Fish

Native in northern Manitoba, the Arctic Char has historically been an important food source for the peoples of northern Manitoba and the Hudson Bay coast. It’s no wonder, because this fish is incredibly tasty with firm red flesh and a high fat content – a northern fisherman’s favourite. Look for a shorter head and snout, which is particularly evident in spawning males. The char has a deeper forked tail with a narrow base.

Arctic Char have light coloured, often violet-pink spots on a dark background. Their colour will depend on the lake and time of year. The back is brownish or olive with lighter sides that fade to a pale belly. They may be brown, yellow, gold, orange or red. As the char approaches spawning, the spots, belly and fins become bright orange, red or gold. The lower fins have white edges. Spawning colours in males will be more vibrant than those in females.

Head North

They typically favour the Polar Regions. It was only in the 1980s that this species of fish was discovered in North America. Fish over 10 lbs are common in some Alaskan lakes. In other lakes, fish may be about 2 lbs even though they are older.

Arctic Char are found north of the Churchill River and are also stocked in some lakes in Duck Mountain Provincial Park.

You may find two forms of Char in the same lake: dwarf and normal, which result from differences in habitat and food selection that impact maturity and growth rates. Between the ages of six and nine, Arctic Char will spawn between August and October every other year.

Manitoba Record: Caught in Snail Lake the largest Arctic Char was 71.12 cm (28”).
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