Salvelinus malma malma: My Favorite Fish

About halfway through the season in Alaska, a new creature comes into play. It generally arrives right as the reds are starting to get down to business. The Dolly Varden.

These guys seem to me more akin to steelhead than any other trout. This due to the fact that they are Anadromous, fight like crazy, and are some of the most beautiful fish you will ever see.

It seemed to me like they enjoy sitting in the deeper faster pools, and as that was the case I had a few spots that were challenging to hold the sled in, but each drift (all 15 yards of it) would produce a double.

They don’t like feeling the sting, just as any other fish does, but they pretty much go insane when they feel it. Backflips, cartwheels, tail walks. You name it, they do it. When they first arrive, they are bright mirrors of fish, often with sea lice still clinging to their flanks. As time goes on, they throw on their tuxedos and become truly a sight to see.

The picture directly above, is of a very nice specimen. Usually 16-18″ is the average, but occaisonally they will reach into the 20-24″ range, but its fairly rare on the Agulowak.

There is one thing I despise about these fish. The net roll. For one, these guys are incredibly slimy. Almost pike-like in their slimyness. Partnered with their gooeyness, the net roll can be a major hassle. Especially if one of the hooks finds the soft meaty part of your hand. Either way if your not on your game your probably going to re rig. And who doesn’t like tying knots? Right?……

Slight digression, but I purchased a Cliff Bugger Beast a few months back and one side has been covered in decals, and the other was left blank in hoping I would be lucky enough to get some artwork on my single day at the Pleasanton fly fishing show. I was. Jeff Currier, world traveler, artist, movie star had the time to throw a some original artwork on my box. Stoked to say the least.

83 days until im back up there. Cant wait to see them.



About taylerwells

fly fishing guide in california and alaska student pursuing a career in the DFW
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4 Responses to Salvelinus malma malma: My Favorite Fish

  1. Chase King says:

    I have no idea why Alaskan’s hate these things, they are a blast to catch. The biggest Dolly I caught measured 27 inches out of an unnamed river in the midst of Pink and Coho salmon on a red steelhead jig. The thing fought about as hard as a Red!

    – Chase

  2. Norma says:

    Great post! Keep em coming. So cool you got the beautiful art work.

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