Species in Nunavut
Arctic Char, the Premier Fish of the Arctic
The arctic char’s appearance varies greatly. Sea-run adults are commonly deep blue or blue-green over their backs, shading to glistening silver along their sides. In its spawning colors the arctic char displays ivory-tipped blood-red fins, crimson belly and greenish flanks speckled with red.
Arctic char can grow larger than 30 pounds, eagerly take a fly or lure and perform tremendously on the end of a line as well as on the table, making the arctic char one of the most coveted game fish in the world.
Arctic char are anadromous, which means they are born in fresh water, spend much of their lives feeding in the sea and return to fresh water to spawn. The migration of char up Nunavut rivers begins in late August. They spawn in rivers or inland lakes in September and October. The young hatch in late April and may spend four or five years in freshwater before joining adult char in their annual migration back to the ocean from early June to mid-July. Arctic char can live to 40 years old but the lifespan of most is around 20 years.
Landlocked arctic char are found in lakes that were once connected to the ocean. Anglers can fish these char year-round. However, if you are targeting sea-run fish, plan your trip to correspond with their migration back to the ocean to feed in spring, or when returning up rivers in the late summer or fall to spawn.
Best fishing times for char migrating upstream are closely related to the tide. Because char cannot leap like Atlantic salmon, they depend on the tide to surmount obstacles like falls, resulting in the largest number of fish being in the river at high tide. For seven-day tidal predictions in various locations throughout Nunavut visit http://www.tides.gc.ca/eng/station?sid=4140
Ice fishing for char occurs in winter through the ice of inland lakes.