Char & Grayling Fishing


At Talaheim we fish within a 25-mile radius from the lodge where we have more than 100 miles of fresh water rivers and streams. In these waters you’ll find our resident predator fish– Arctic Grayling and Char, or “Dolly Varden” – as well as five species of salmon.

Our local predator fish grow quite large during the summer months, often times gaining 30% of their spring body weight due to the abundance of food the salmon provide: fry, eggs, and toward the end of the summer, decaying salmon flesh.

Some dolly vardens live in the sea and enter fresh waters to spawn like salmon, but ours remain in fresh waters and migrate toward the glacier rivers in the late fall. You’ll often find this species behind the salmon, close to or in the small glacier tributaries that run into the Tal. When it comes to char, “matching the hatch” means a fly that resembles salmon fry, salmon eggs, or salmon flesh.

An average dolly varden caught in the earlier summer months can average about 18 inches. But during late August and September our waters produce hogs, some reaching up to 26 inches and 6 to 7 pounds.

When it comes to Arctic grayling, they are plentiful on the Tal and in our surrounding waters. They are a white fish, and if you can get past the bones, they’re very tasty and often served as sashimi. They are silvery gray in color with a large decorative fin and big scales. The older ones turn darker in color, and have been known to live 10 years.

Grayling are great for beginner fly fishermen because they take to the surface almost all summer long. So nihpms and dry flies work well, and for the larger grayling, they’ll also take shews.

A thing to note: unlike rainbow trout grayling don’t come to the surface and grab the fly. Instead they take on the way back down. New anglers to grayling miss so many because they strike the fish on the way up. But for this species, it’s the opposite. Wait a beat, then strike.

An average grayling in our waters runs about 14 inches, but we’ve been known to catch 22 inchers that weight about 3-4 pounds.





You can tell a male from a female grayling by the length of the dorsal fin. On a male, the fin will reach back as far as the adipose fin, while on a female it will only reach halfway back.The big dorsal fin on a male is thought to be for sexual displays when it comes to territory and spawning.

Dolly Varden’s name came from a female character in a Charles Dickens novel called “Barnaby Rudge.” The character wore a colorful, polka-dotted calico muslin dress that was fashionable during the time. Anglers encountering these fish in California in late 1800’s gave them their name.
Grayling are very long lived. They average 10 to 11 years, the maximum recorded being 18. The biggest grayling we’ve caught to date was over 20 inches.

Char runs consist of 80% first timer spawners and 20% second time spawners. This means the average char that we catch is 16-22 inches, but interspersed among those we also catch a few bruisers that are 26 to 28 inches.


This week has been an absolute trip of a lifetime! Mark and staff were wonderful. Fishing was excellent. I had so many firsts on this trip: I had never ridden in a small plane, or helicopter. Never seen a bear in the wild. Never seen a moose or caught a salmon. I just can’t say enough about the hospitality! And the food– OMG! I will definitely come again the next chance I get.
Dave Green
Laurie and I have fished in the USA, Argentina, Chile, and New Zealand , and Talaheim Lodge is as good as anywhere we’ve been. Thanks a million.
Don and Laurie