Dolly Varden

Dollies, no Char, no Dollies, no… Who cares! They are awesome! There is such a slight biological difference between the two that we call them all Dolly-char. That seems to appease the pundits on both sides of the argument…an argument that at times gets as heated as what’s the best fly pattern for ….(insert fish name here). Hey, they’re cool. They fish great and they are beautiful.

Dolly Varden at Alaska West

Whether in their sea run silver phase or their clown suit spawning phase or their been there done that, “now let’s get outta here”, returning to the seas phase, Dolly-Char are one of, if not the, most beautiful fish in our river. The spawning bucks, with their orange tipped kype, deep orange bellies, white and black striped fins and blue-green backs dotted with orange spots outlined in electric aqua, look like something an artist from Berkeley in the sixties would create. They are truly psychedelic!

All those looks and brains too! If pinks are more advanced in brain development than other salmon with their species protection plan, dolly-Char must be the Einstein of anadromous fishes. They have it figured out; “spawn and die?”…not…”spawn and live to do it again!”

Arctic Char at Alaska West

Numbers of Dolly-Char in our river are too high for any fish-per-mile census. Most seasoned guides guess somewhere around infinity, maybe a little more.

The Alaska Fish and Game Biologist specializing in Dolly and Char thinks there may be both Dolly Varden and Arctic Char in the river. On goes the debate, but we all know what they are. They’re awesome!

Dolly Varden

Fly Tackle for Dolly Varden

Fly Rods

We recommend 4 weight to 6 weight medium to fast action rods capable of casting split shot with a strike indicator, and dealing with the occasional big rainbow or sockeye.


Good quality reel and drag that matches rod.


Floating lines are best.


Up to 12 feet of 6 to 10 pound monofilament.

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