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Thread: Arctic Char on the Sag River

  1. #1
    Member Mark Collett's Avatar
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    Talking Arctic Char on the Sag River

    Just a couple of pics from my last hitch on the slope.It was a good time.Obliviously the char is the bright silver fish.Anyone help identify the yellowish fish ?It was a bottom feeder,mouth on thee lower part of the jaw,rubber lips,Is there such a thing as a arctic carp ? Lokking at the fishing regs I don't think it's a whitefish....Any help.......?
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  2. #2
    Member preed's Avatar
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    I think its a sheefish

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    its a whitefish, there are several different kinds there....

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    I agree, I think it is a whitefish, and the first fish is a Dolly Varden, but I wouldn't want to start that arguement...Sweet Hat!

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  5. #5
    Member preed's Avatar
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    yeah it does look like a dolly.

    (ADFG) There are some external characteristics which can be used to differentiate between Arctic char and Dolly Varden. Arctic char generally have a shorter head and snout, a trait particularly evident in spawning males. The tail of an Arctic char has a slightly deeper fork than that of a Dolly Varden, and the base of the Arctic char's tail is narrower.

    dang bigcox your always here. saw your humpy...my sons was bigger!!! laughing...

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    Member bigcox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by preed View Post
    yeah it does look like a dolly.

    (ADFG) There are some external characteristics which can be used to differentiate between Arctic char and Dolly Varden. Arctic char generally have a shorter head and snout, a trait particularly evident in spawning males. The tail of an Arctic char has a slightly deeper fork than that of a Dolly Varden, and the base of the Arctic char's tail is narrower.

    dang bigcox your always here. saw your humpy...my sons was bigger!!! laughing...
    haha...yeah I bet, and as thin as a double stack of pancakes right...

    TSS told me your not headed to Valdez tommorow, I'll be sure to post some pictures for yeah when I return...

    Fish On!
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    Member preed's Avatar
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    No im not going, cant justify thousands of dollars on gas for no fish...RV, truck, boat...add camping food and beer... ill just stay and play in my own backyard. possibly here in another week or so i may make a mad dash down but not right now.

  8. #8

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    looks like a sucker. i caught one once in the deshka. caught lots as a kid in newyork and ohio.

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    looks like some kind of a whitefish
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  10. #10
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Dollies...

    Quote Originally Posted by twodogs View Post
    looks like a sucker. i caught one once in the deshka. caught lots as a kid in newyork and ohio.

    That is my thought as well. My buddy got a very similar/identical fish on the Goodnews in SW Alaska a few years back. A smaller specimen, but looked the same as the one posted here. We emailed a pic to the area bio out of curiosity. Seems he said it was a sucker fish.


    Below is some great info on dollies from retired NW ADFG bio Fred Decicco. He studied dollies for 20 years in NW Alaska.

    Dolly Varden: Beautiful and Misunderstood
    Dolly Varden's Reputation as Varmint Undeserved

    By Fred DeCicco

    A Dolly Varden in striking spawning colors. Dolly Varden have been much maligned as a predator of salmon. Although they do eat salmon eggs, they are more scavenger than predator.

    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. There are even populations of dwarf Dolly Varden in many parts of Alaska. In spawning colors, the Dolly Varden is perhaps our most striking fish. The name “Dolly Varden” stems from a character in the Charles Dickens novel, “Barnaby Rudge.” Dolly was a young girl with a rosy complexion. In the late 1860s a popular green fabric adorned with small crimson polka dots was marketed under the name Dolly Varden. A 15-year-old girl named Elda McCloud is credited with connecting the name Dolly Varden with the fish. McCloud’s uncle, George Campbell, was the proprietor of the Soda Springs Resort in Northern California. Upon viewing the catch from a successful fishing trip to the upper McCloud River (tributary to the Sacramento River), the girl remarked that bull trout was a poor name for such colorful fish and that they would better be called Dolly Varden. Whether young Elda had recently been making a dress from the spotted fabric, or had recently read “Barnaby Rudge,” remains unknown, but the name caught on and has been with us ever since that eventful day.

    However, the story is one of misidentification. Bull trout and Dolly Varden are two different species. The Dolly Varden found in Alaska, Salvelinus malma, were never present in the McCloud River. The fish likely viewed by Elda McCloud were in fact bull trout, Salvelinus confluentus. Bull trout and Dolly Varden were confused by anglers and biologists until 1978 when Ted Cavender of Ohio State University demonstrated that bull trout was a valid species separate from Dolly Varden. At that time the world record Dolly Varden (32 pounds) from Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho became a record “bull trout”.

    Misidentification has not been limited to the southern extreme of the Dolly Varden’s range. In the north, Dolly Varden and Arctic char have been confused by anglers and biologists. To address the identity problem we must go back to original species descriptions. Carl Linneaus, the famed Swedish naturalist and the founder of the modern classification system for plants and animals, first described Arctic char, Salvelinus alpinus, in 1758 from specimens in an alpine lake in Swedish Lapland. Therefore, any fish that fits the original description is considered an Arctic char. Arctic char occur across the northern regions of the world, and three subspecies are present in North America. The Arctic char is a lake (lacustrine) species, which has anadromous forms present in many areas. Anadromous Arctic char generally spawn and overwinter in lakes, then move to sea in summer to feed. Dolly Varden were first described by Johann Walbaum in 1792 from Kamchatka, Russia. Dolly Varden are a riverine species in northern Alaska, and anadromous Dolly Varden generally spawn and overwinter in flowing water. The common anadromous Dolly Varden in Kamchatka is the same species as the anadromous char found in western 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.

    There are two forms of Dolly Varden in Alaska. The southern form ranges from southeast Alaska throughout the Gulf of Alaska to the south side of the Alaska Peninsula. The northern form ranges from the north side of the Alaska Peninsula northward to the Mackenzie River in Canada. Recently some char from the central Canadian Arctic drainages of the Tree and Coppermine rivers have been identified as Dolly Varden. Arctic char occur there as well and whether the current Arctic char angling record of 32 pounds 9 ounces from the Tree River will be reclassified as Dolly Varden remains to be determined.

    Southern-form Dolly Varden differ from northern-form Dolly Varden in number of vertebrae (62-65 for southern form and 66-70 for northern form) and in number of chromosomes (82 for southern form and 78 for northern form). In addition, southern form Dolly Varden generally overwinter in lakes, but northern-form fish overwinter in rivers. Stream-resident and lake-resident populations are present in both forms but lake-resident northern populations are rare. In addition, northern-form Dolly Varden can attain a much larger size than southern form fish. The current Alaska angling record from the northwestern part of the state is 27 pounds.

    Dolly Varden have been much maligned as a predator of salmon. From 1921 to 1941 there was a bounty on Dolly Varden in Alaska. It was terminated when analysis of the 20,000 tails submitted for payment in 1939 revealed that more than half were from coho salmon, and of the remainder, more were from rainbow trout than were from Dolly Varden.

    Although Dolly Varden do eat salmon eggs and salmon fry, they have not been found to be significant predators in areas where their feeding habits have been studied. They primarily eat drifting salmon eggs that would not have hatched anyway. They are more of a scavenger than a predator. In fact, they perform a beneficial hygienic function, eating dead or fungus-infected eggs that could infect the entire redd (spawning nest).

    In cases where they eat outmigrating fry, Dolly Varden primarily feed on pink salmon. Their ability to capture these is directly related to fry abundance. Thus, more fry are eaten when large numbers are available and the overall effect on the population is less significant. When other fish such as Arctic char, cutthroat trout or young coho salmon are present, Dolly Varden have always been shown to be the least effective predator.

    Despite all the confusion, misidentification and misinformed slaughter, Dolly Varden remain a widely distributed, beautiful, diverse and sought after species that provides high quality sport fishing opportunity throughout Alaska.


    Fred DeCicco is the Northwest Area Management Biologist and has worked for
    the Sport Fish Division since 1974. He has specialized in the study of
    northern form Dolly Varden in northwestern Alaska and is a member of the
    International Society of Arctic Char Fanatics.


    Below is a 14 pounder I got last Sept on a fly rod...

    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  11. #11
    Member Mark Collett's Avatar
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    Talking That's nice fish

    Dan
    That is a really nice fish.I caught my little guy with an ultra-lite spinning outfit with 4 lb test.Not my 1st choice for gear but it sure was a nice diversion from work.
    Now off to Seward for some silver..........Fish On

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    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Default Fish Species?

    A dolly and a whitefish. I am not a biologist but I did sleep at a Aspen Hotel in Soldotna last night.

    Is there any arctic char in the sag river?

    Never heard of any being there?
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  13. #13
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Collett View Post
    Just a couple of pics from my last hitch on the slope.It was a good time.Obliviously the char is the bright silver fish.Anyone help identify the yellowish fish ?It was a bottom feeder,mouth on thee lower part of the jaw,rubber lips,Is there such a thing as a arctic carp ? Lokking at the fishing regs I don't think it's a whitefish....Any help.......?
    yup that is a white fish.. there are about 7or 8 different types of white fish in ak... there was a link a few month back with Stid...( I THINK) and some links to the bios of white fish were posted.

    i will see if i can dig it up...
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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JediMasterSalmonSlayer View Post
    A dolly and a whitefish. I am not a biologist but I did sleep at a Aspen Hotel in Soldotna last night.

    Is there any arctic char in the sag river?

    Never heard of any being there?

    there are plenty of CHAR in the sag... as that dolly prolly is one as well....
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    there are plenty of CHAR in the sag... as that dolly prolly is one as well....

    Looks like a Bull Trout to me.

  16. #16
    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Default Arctic char or dolly varden

    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    there are plenty of CHAR in the sag... as that dolly prolly is one as well....
    I know that dolly varden is a fish in the "char" family along with lake trout, arctic char, bull trout and others.

    And I agree that "char" are in the Sag they are Dolly Varden. However there are no "Arctic Char" fish in the Sag river. Check the interactive mapping on ADF&G.

    Here we go again....
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  17. #17
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    WEll i guess some one should tell all those Char we caught up there. that according to the map they dont live there... and need to move to a place inside the lines...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    If the weather gets a bit better, ie not pouring down rain and blowing sideways I will be fishing in that exact spot on Monday or Tuesday. I will try to get some more pictures so we can further our debate about the silver colored fish with two names.

  19. #19
    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    WEll i guess some one should tell all those Char (which species of char are you refering too, arctic char or dolly varden?) we caught up there. that according to the map they dont live there... and need to move to a place inside the lines (very witty) ...
    Like I said, you caught "char" they were ALL dolly varden, no Arctic Char in the Sag.

    Just because your fishing above the "arctic circle" does not make them "arctic char" If you would like to share some documented research on the subject I have yet to see, I would like to see it. I have asked previously on this forum and have got nil. With respect, everything I have read about this subject tells me your incorrect with the identification you made, and no worries, the fish are in the right spot and at the right home, people just need to identify the species correctly. So no need to arrange for the movers to come over and pack boxes yet, I will tell the dollies they can stay in the lines when I go back up.

    I have given documented sources before on this, its not my theory and not my work, it is what it is. No arctic char in the Sag River or any other river up North in Alaska. If you what to catch an Arctic Char you may want to try one of the stock lakes along the Richardson Hwy.
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  20. #20

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    No there are definatly arctic char in the Sag river. That is a round nose whitefish in the second picture. The TRUE arctic char in the sag river get there around september and leave before october. They get in there and spawn like salmon then leave. You could have cought an early char but I doubt it. Char that come up the river there are all in spawning colors. Plus the fish looks like a plain jane dolly.

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