Arctic Char Management and Research


Lake-dwelling Arctic char are slow-growing and can only sustain relatively low rates of exploitation. As a result, Arctic char are generally managed to provide a very conservative level of yield. In most areas of Alaska where present, the sport fishing daily bag limit for Arctic char is 2 per day, similar to lake trout, with the exception of the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak island where bag limits are more liberal. ADF&G stocks a variety of landlocked lakes throughout southcentral and interior Alaska with sterile, hatchery-raised arctic char to provide additional sport fishing opportunities near larger population centers. For more information on stocked lakes containing arctic char see: Hatcheries stocking and releases. ADF&G also collects information on sport and subsistence uses of Arctic char, while the Alaska Board of Fisheries set regulations for sport and subsistence uses. The Federal Subsistence Board sets regulations for the subsistence use of Arctic char on federal lands in Alaska.

In northern and western Alaska subsistence fishing for Arctic char has few restrictions other than general statewide provisions (Fall et al. 2009, Fall et al. 1996). Similar to sport fishing, subsistence harvest regulations as well as harvest estimates for Arctic char are typically reported as a single category along with Dolly Varden char (Arctic char/Dolly Varden) due to the difficulty users have distinguishing between these species.


Harvest of Arctic char is monitored by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game via surveys of anglers as well as periodic community-based surveys among subsistence users. Annual sport catch, effort and harvest data is captured by the Division of Sport Fish through the Alaska Sport Fishing Harvest Survey. The USFWS, Office of Subsistence Management (OSM) also funds monitoring studies that may include Arctic char.

Relatively little research on life history or population trends of Arctic char in Alaska is currently being conducted by ADF&G at present, largely due to their isolated nature (generally, remote lakes) and relatively low fishing pressure on Arctic char stocks throughout their range.