River habitat represents where mature Dolly Varden spend over 60 percent of their life.

Knowing their ideal habitat and which rivers they can be found is critical for a successful fishing trip. For locals, a failed outing is just a wasted weekend and a few dollars spent.

However, when on a fishing vacation, a failed outing can be costly and a big let down. Therefore, doing your homework is critical.

Doing your homework before heading on your trip is the best way to avoid a failed fishing trip.

Checking with the local chamber of commerce for experienced guides and charter captains is one source of information. Fishing forums are also useful, but be careful to identify the credibility of the posts. Some guides and charters pay to have people post favourable comments.

Dolly Varden Migration Paths

The best way to know where Dolly Varden are located in the river is knowing where which rivers carry Dolly Varden to their spawning headwaters. Know this, and you will know which rivers to avoid and which to fish. Often, they can be found in their natal rivers for all but a few months of summer.

Fly Fishing for Dolly Varden

As they spend most of their adult life in river habitats, fly fishing techniques work best as they work well in all river conditions. Both dry and wet flies work best when they replicate common food found in their habitat, focusing on those foods that are most common at the time.

Stick with common baits in the area that you will be fishing. These will work well for catching all common Charr and Salmon, as well as the desired Dolly Varden.

River Fishing Gear

Many anglers use hip waders, but get yourself chest waders instead. Trust me, you will regret not doing so once you are out fishing for Dolly Varden.

The water is cold and there will be times when you want to wade out just a bid further. Having chest waders will give you that advantage of being able to fish further into their habitat.

Bring along plenty of warm clothing, especially boots that breath and keep your feet warm. You will be walking over rough terrain often and poor boots will lead to blisters and cuts.

Dolly Varden Fly Fishing Tackle

Go with lighter fly gear. A nine foot, four weight to five weight graphite fly rod is ideal. Spool it with a sinking tip fly line that is tested for no more than 10 pounds and nothing less than 6 pounds.

Any of the following flies will work: egg sucking leeches and flesh flies, glo bugs, wooly buggers, flash fry in natural colors, Alevin, Bow River Bugger and battle creek light to name a few.