The Arctic char of Nunavut, the northern-most Canadian territory that lies just west of Greenland across Baffin Bay, are amazing fish. They cruise into rivers and streams running into the Arctic Ocean on tidal flows starting in the summer, and they are aggressive eaters. In the fall, just like their char cousins, the Dolly Varden, brook trout and lake trout, they turn a bright orange as they get ready to spawn, and they are a sight to behold.
Above, my friend Mark Melnyk of the New Fly Fisher brings in his best-ever char while fishing a tidal flat in Baffin Bay—and you’ll see by the outfit he’s using, that he’s not taking any chances with these bruisers—he’s got a 9-weight … and he’s not afraid to use it.
Arctic char are the among the farthest ranging salmonids in the world, turning up in Arctic rivers from Alaska to Siberia, and from Iceland to Finland, Norway and Sweden. That said, because of where they live and limited time fly fishers can really get into them, they aren’t terribly well-known.
When you see the beast Mark pulls from the surf, I’m betting they make their way onto your wish list.
— Chris Hunt