Even though Dolly Varden are sometimes mistaken for trout, they are really a species of Char found in the frigid Pacific seas off the coast of North America’s northwest and sections of Asia’s north. They are renowned as gamefish because of their stunning colors (particularly during breeding season) and aggressive behavior. This species has some genetic ancestry with the Arctic Char and Bull Trout. In this article, we provide you with handy Dolly Varden fishing tips to help you catch more varden fish.
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Dolly Varden vs Bull Trout
Before we get down to our dolly varden fishing tips, it’s important to first help you distinguish between Dolly Varden and bull trout.
Contrary to popular belief, the Dolly Varden and bull trout aren’t genetically related. In reality, they have no common progenitor. However, since their first encounter in the Pacific Northwest, the two fish species have co-existed peacefully.
The size and habitat of Dolly Vardens and bull trouts might help you tell them apart. Smaller bull trout inhabit high mountain streams and rivers while bigger Dolly Varden inhabit the coasts of temperate regions. Bull trout may be found in both coastal and interior waters.
While these two fish species may be found in the same waters on the west coast of the United States, it’s simple to tell them apart.
Between their dorsal and tail fins, bull trout have a big black or reddish-brown patch. They have significantly smaller spots all over their bodies, less than two inches in diameter but without the large mark between their dorsal fin and tail fin like Dolly Varden.
When compared to Dolly Varden, which are silver with plenty of reflecting blue specks, estimating the length of bull trout is more difficult due to their more challenging appearance. For identification purposes, snap a photo of what you’ve captured.
Dolly Varden Fishing Tips
Fishing for Dolly Vardens just could be one of the most thrilling experiences you’ve ever had. However, when done incorrectly, it may be a difficult and unsuccessful endeavor, particularly if you’re fishing for bigger species.
Fishing for this type of fish isn’t easy, but with these useful Dolly Varden fishing tips, you’ll discover just what you need to know to succeed.
Know the Best Seasons for Dolly Varden Fishing
Migrating Dolly Vardens may be located in a wide range of environments. In the spring, they migrate from major lakes to saltwater sources close to the coast during the summer.
There, they join the salmon in the water and dine on their eggs as they go upstream. During the months of spring and the beginning of summer, look for Dollies moving from rivers and lake outflows.
Find Where to Fish for Dolly Varden
The most important component of capturing Dolly Varden is finding the correct fishing spot. When migratory fish are at their most active, river mouths and lake outflows are your best bet for early summer and spring fishing, respectively.
In rivers, search for them around fish that are spawning, since this is where they are most active. Fishing downstream of salmon spawning redds is often recommended.
Use Eggs from Sockeye Salmon as Lure
When used correctly, salmon eggs may be a very powerful bait. If you want to utilize salmon eggs, do it at the peak of the salmon time.
This is a good place for spawning, so let it sink down there for a while.
Get the Best Fly
Using the appropriate fly at the right time is critical when fly fishing for dolly varden. When the salmon are in the river, egg patterns work. Leeches may also be used for this purpose.
Streamers are frequently used in the spring and summer. It’s best to utilize an insect imitator when dealing with dollies that feed on insects. Using flies that closely resemble what they’re currently consuming at this time of year is crucial here.
Additionally, while you’re out fly fishing, you may utilize imitations of eggs. Insect replicas, wooly buggers, and egg-sucking leeches are all viable fly options.
Find the Best Tackle
Dolly Varden anglers swear on salmon roe eggs as their go-to bait. They work especially well when the Dolly Varden trout are laying their eggs.
Use Flashing Spoons
In situations where the varden are preying on smaller fish, flashing spoons may be an effective weapon. If you live in an area where smaller salmon and trout are often targeted, a spoon is a suitable option.
Get the Best Rods for Dolly Varden Fishing
Dolly varden are often caught with a fly rod or a spinning rod. Light-action rods are best suited for spinning.
Fly fishing requires a 5- to a 6-weight rod. When the dolly varden are eating on smaller fish, you may also use a spinnerbait.
Cleaning Dolly Varden
Cleaning and preparing dollies is quite easy. Cut through the Dolly’s neck at the gills’ groove with a sharp filleting knife on your cutting board. Cut forward towards the head by slanting the blade.
Begin cutting through the backbone from where the head used to be, turning Dolly so that its belly is facing you. Remove one fillet by cutting through the fish at the base of the tail and following the backbone with the knife.
Repeat the fish filleting procedure on the other side of the Dolly. Once you’ve removed the first fillet, slice along the spine’s top edge to remove the second. Scrape the flesh off the fillets to remove the pin bones. Remove any bones, large or little, that you discover.
Typical Dolly Varden Recipe
Here is a typical easy-to-make Dolly Varden recipe. Start by putting some butter on a frying pan.
When the butter has melted, add the Varden fillets to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until the meat is dark and flaky. As soon as one side of the fish is done, sprinkle some almond slices on top to give it an extra nutty flavor.
It preys on other fish whilst they are still juvenile. Brackish water is its preferred habitat, however, it isn’t often seen near salt water.
If you want to capture a dolly varden, look for hints like huge eyes, pink patterns down their backs, and orange-red bellies, although there are several fish with the same name.
Keep in mind the aforementioned Dolly Varden fishing tips!