You’ll have a hard time finding information on ice fishing for Arctic Char for these reasons. It’s the Arctic Circle, its winter, temperatures drop below -40°C/-40°F and daylight is counted in minutes rather than hours.

However, winter ice fishing in the arctic and subarctic has been practiced by many northern Canadian communities for centuries. The best advice we can give you if you want to try this extreme fishing is to hire a local guide.

Not all of winter is dark and there are plenty of good lakes in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories that offer great Arctic Charr ice fishing adventures.

Lake Trout and Arctic Char are the only game in town this time of year. While they don’t have a voracious appetite they are far from uncatchable as many fishing sites claim. We have been in touch with several communities and ice fishing is viable all winter.

Fishing is the mainstay for many Inuit families and it’s not uncommon to see men and women of all ages jigging through the winter and early spring ice.

Ice Fishing Challenges

Most augers are capable of drilling through 3 feet of ice. However, when fishing in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, you will encounter more like 10 feet of ice and a 3 foot auger just will not do the trick. You will need extensions.

Take a look at the following video as two anglers prepare their ice fishing hole.

Drilling with an augur

Fishing Techniques for Arctic Char

Ice fishing techniques vary little across the different species for one simple reason: the size of the ice fishing hole is limited to not much more than 8 to 12 inches.

Bait presentation is far more important and you should be fishing just off the bottom, which is where they spend their time in the winter. Jigs and baits are pretty much your only options.

Use fresh cut bait with a smaller diameter line and 2 to 4 pound test line where fish are expected to be less than 6 pounds.

For areas where fish are bigger than 6 pounds, use a 6 to 8 pound fluorocarbon line.

Larger jigs that imitate larger ciscos and whitefish are very effective. And lastly, patience is important as Arctic Char ice fishing is the most challenging form of fishing for Arctic Char.

Inflatable, Portable Ice hut

Ice huts are usually built of the same material as sheds and other small structures. Standard lumber like 2 x 4s and 4 x 8 1/2 inch particle board. However, these items are rare and very expensive in the Arctic and shipping them in is expensive. Several companies have designed flexible, fabrique based portable fish huts just for regions like the Arctic. The idea for these came from the utility industry.

Large, colorful Arctic Charr

The largest and most colorful Arctic Charr are available at the end of summer as temperatures drop and weather becomes less predicable and more extreme.

If you’re going to hang on to the end of the summer season, make sure you have hired a well season and experienced guide.

Ahab lost his life in an attempt to get his whale.