Summer is an interesting time for the Dolly Varden. At the beginning of summer, most sea going Dolly Vardens are already in the ocean, having travelled from their winter spawning grounds, or those habitats just down from the spawning grounds.

However, in many areas of their distribution, especially close to the Arctic, they begin their migration to the headwaters of their natal streams.

During their time in the ocean, they may travel some distance, not holding themselves to the estuaries of their natal streams like the Arctic Charr.

Dolly Varden Summer Fishing Techniques

Dolly Varden are not hard fish to catch. They can be caught with the same techniques as Coho Salmon or Steelhead salmon and can often be found schooling in the same area together.

Spoons, spinners and live bait work very well. Fly fishing is also very effective and well worth trying if you have never tried it. For those that truly enjoy nature, fly fishing somehow seems to connect you more closely with the elements.

Summer techniques depend largely on where the Dolly Varden are. Early on in the season, casting and trolling techniques are best as they are found in the ocean. Later on in the summer, they are found heading upstream and fly fishing is much earlier and far more rewarding.

Dolly Varden Fly Fishing Tips

Light fly gear is best for catching Dolly Varden. Go with a nine foot rod that is weighted between a four weight to five weight. A graphite rod should do fine and is light weight.

Fit it with a sinking tip fly line. Nothing more than 10 pound test should be used.

If there are a lot of large fish in the area, you could run into trouble with light gear and might want to step things up to medium gear. Check with the local guide or bait shop before heading off on your fishing trip to improve your chances of success.

There are an assortment of flies that work well for catching Dolly Varden. Here is just a short list: Zonkers in White and Natural, Egg sucking leeches and flesh flies, Glo Bugs, Flash Fry in natural colors, Bow River Bugger, Baitfish Minnows in Grey and White, Battle Creek Light.

Generally speaking, olive coloured flies work best unless you are ice fishing, then bright colours that closely match the colour of salmon eggs work best.

Dolly Varden Summer Characteristics

As mentioned above, summer is a very busy time for Dolly Varden. At the beginning of summer they have moved into the ocean searching out food, fattening up for the long migration back to their headwater natal streams. However, this trip is only for those Dolly Varden that are mature enough, usually between four to seven years old.

Migration begins in late summer, but may go as late as early fall in the southern parts of their distribution.

During June and July they are found in salt water unless they are land locked in which case, they can be found in the deeper parts of their lakes.