Dolly Varden


The Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma) is a species of fish belonging to⁤ the Salmonidae ⁢family. This‍ intriguing fish, often confused⁣ with trout, has a rich history and fascinating characteristics that make it a popular target for anglers.

Species Name Salvelinus malma (Dolly Varden)
Family Name Salmonidae

Conservation Status

The International Union for Conservation⁣ of Nature (IUCN) classifies the Dolly Varden as⁣ a species ⁤of least concern. However, population levels vary widely across its distribution areas. Local conservation efforts are in place to protect critical habitats and manage fishing ⁣pressures.

Current Status Least Concern (IUCN)
Conservation Efforts Habitat Protection, ‍Controlled Fishing


Attribute Average Range
Length 24 in 12-30 in
Weight 3 lb 1-7⁤ lb
Average Lifespan 10 years


The Dolly Varden is prominently found in ​the cold, clear waters of the northern Pacific Ocean. It ‌spans from Korea and Japan, across Siberia and Alaska, and down to the​ rivers ⁣of British Columbia. These fish exhibit complex migration patterns, with some⁣ populations remaining in freshwater habitats while others venture into the sea.


Dolly Varden‍ thrive in different‍ water types and temperatures, demonstrating a considerable degree of environmental adaptability.

Water Type Freshwater, Saltwater
Depth Range Variable
Temperature⁤ Range 0-20°C

When and Where to See

The best ⁣time to see Dolly ⁤Varden is during the summer when they migrate to the⁣ sea or congregate in estuaries. Find them in the early morning or late evening to avoid sunlight.

Best⁤ Fishing Locations

  1. Russell Fiord ​Wilderness, Alaska
  2. Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia
  3. Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
  4. Iliamna ⁤Lake, Alaska
  5. Hokkaido, Japan

How⁣ to ⁤Catch

Dolly ‌Varden are bottom-dwellers ⁢and can be caught using techniques like‍ fly fishing or bait fishing. They are ⁢attracted to shiny lures and are also fond ​of insects, small fish, and crustaceans. Prime fishing seasons are spring and ⁤fall.

Identification Guide

Dolly Varden have a streamlined body with a small, pointed head. ⁢Their‌ color can vary ⁤from greenish to black or dark blue, with lighter spots on ‍the sides. They are often confused with ‍the Brook Trout, but can be distinguished by their forked tail​ and sharp teeth.


Dolly Varden’s meat is‍ mild, tender, and versatile. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids offering ‍significant health benefits.⁣ Common recipes include grilled, smoked, or baked⁣ Dolly Varden.

Additional Information

Dolly ⁢Varden are⁤ active predators, ⁢feeding mainly⁢ on smaller fish, crustaceans, and insects. Their natural predators include larger⁣ fish, birds, and mammals. They play a significant role in indigenous cultures,⁣ with numerous myths and stories associated with them.

References and Further Reading

For detailed understanding and advanced studies, researchers and enthusiasts can refer to:

  1. “Freshwater Fishes of North America” by Melvin L. Warren‌ Jr.
  2. “The Behavior of Freshwater Fishes” edited by Keith B. Tierney, Tonya M. Farrell and Peyton A. Taylor
  3. “Fisheries Techniques” ‍by Alexander V. Zale, Donna L. Parrish, Trent M. Sutton