If you have not read our section on habitat, we recommend you do so before reading the techniques on catching Dolly Varden.

This is important as the Dolly Varden is a northern dwelling fish in a harsh environment.

The Dolly Varden occurs in cold northern lakes and rivers in the Arctic and sub Arctic and is limited to the northern hemisphere.

Dolly Varden Preferred Water Habitat

Dolly Varden do not like warm water at all. In fact, Dolly Varden prefer water temperatures of 55°F/13°C at the warmest. Therefore, look for them in the summer in water no water than 55°F/13°C.

They do not like murky or turbid water. Their preference is similar to that of the Brook Trout, liking clean, clear and cold water.

Dolly Varden Spring Locations

In late Spring, Dolly Varden can be found in the sea. For northern extremes, they can be found heading to the sea as late as July. Prior to this time, look for them in rivers and streams or estuaries.

It should not be hard to locate Dolly Varden. Read up on their spawning times and check with local bait shops as their spawning cycles vary from the southern part of their distribution to the northern parts.

Dolly Varden Spring Fishing Techniques

Dolly Varden are not fussy eaters. You can use a variety of local baits and they can be caught with the same lures as used for salmon and other Charr. However, one bait that works very well is salmon eggs, or any lure that appears like salmon eggs.

When using salmon eggs, the best bet is to let the bait fall to the bottom of the headwater of sea flowing rivers and streams. This is effective during the Salmon’s spawning season.