Catching Dolly Varden: Equipment for Spinning Dolly Varden Fishing in Primorye and Magadan


How to catch and what to lure the Dolly Varden

Malma is a complex species of char. It has several subspecies, may differ in color. The fish have a large habitat. Sizes vary greatly, northern subspecies can fatten up to 12 kg. Malma is considered an anadromous salmon, but it has residential lake and river forms, often dwarf ones. Anadromism is more characteristic of the northern Dolly Varden, the fish can migrate up to 1.5 km. The southern subspecies are more prone to residential forms, and feeding takes place in the coastal waters of the seas, not far from spawning rivers.

Ways to catch Dolly Varden

This is one of the most common and popular fishing objects in the Far East. Charr is caught on all types of gear typical for salmon. Both summer and winter fishing for sedentary forms is popular. Experienced anglers keep a variety of tackle in their arsenal. It can be both float tackle, donk, spinning, and “boat” or fly fishing.

Catching Dolly Varden on float and bottom gear

Malma is perfectly caught on float gear, depending on the conditions, it can be both deaf and running equipment. Residential, smaller forms are not demanding on the strength of tackle, and for catching large Dolly Varden, you will need thicker fishing lines and reliable hooks. Fish are caught for caviar, worms, fish meat, insect larvae. Fishing is also possible on imitation of natural baits. Donkeys are more often used during floods. Special equipment is not required.

Catching Dolly Varden with winter gear

Malma is caught on medium-sized spinners with a soldered hook, often with replanting fish meat. In addition, they fish with tackle, from sinkers and hooks on leashes, with replanting of fresh fish meat. The equipment is periodically supported. Fish are caught both in lakes and rivers. Fish keep in flocks, along the main stream or behind obstacles. Small Dolly Varden can also stand in the course.

Catching Dolly Varden fly and spinning

The char is an active predator. Perfectly responds to traditional spinning lures: wobblers and spinners. The choice of gear for catching Dolly Varden does not differ from other types of medium-sized salmon. Spinning is a popular type of fishing for this medium to large sized fish. Before fishing, it is worth clarifying the conditions of fishing. The choice of rod, its length and test may depend on this. Long rods are more comfortable when playing big fish, but they can be uncomfortable when fishing from overgrown banks or from small inflatable boats. The spinning test depends on the choice of weight of spinners. The best solution would be to take spinners of different weights and sizes with you. Fishing conditions on the river can vary greatly, including due to the weather. The choice of an inertial reel must be associated with the need to have a large supply of fishing line. The cord or line should not be too thin, the reason is not only the possibility of catching a large trophy, but also because fishing conditions may require forced play. As for fly fishing, it is worth saying that Dolly Varden of all sizes actively reacts to fly fishing lures. Small, residential forms can serve as an excellent tool for training beginner fly anglers, and large subspecies are a welcome prey for anyone who dreams of catching Far Eastern salmon. The choice of tackle depends on the experience of the fisherman and the size of the fish. In case of interest in light tackle, when catching large Dolly Varden, switches can be optimal for fishing, instead of “heavy” one-handed rods or spey rods of medium and light classes. For small, residential forms, the lightest gear is quite suitable.


Earlier, we analyzed natural baits in sufficient detail. For spinning, the baits are no different from those used for catching other medium-sized Pacific salmon. For fly fishing, imitation caviar is best suited. Almost at any time, this fish reacts to this bait. Medium-sized char responds well to dry flies. Do not forget about streamers, which are made small. The most universal colors of materials for the manufacture of baits can be considered black or various dark shades. The presence of small bright segments on streamers can increase interest in the bait.

Places of fishing and habitat

The habitat is quite large, from the Kolyma basin to California; Japan and North Korea; Kuril ridge and about. Sakhalin. Considering residential, anadromous and dwarf forms, it is common in various rivers and lakes. Can live in small streams and stand on a jet in a mountain stream. Large individuals live apart, preferring bottom depressions or obstacles.


Sexual maturity in Dolly Varden depends on the subspecies. Southern forms ripen for 1-2 years already, in northern forms maturation can be delayed for up to 6 years. The color changes to a brighter one. Spawning takes place in late summer-early autumn. After spawning, a small number of fish die. The rest can spawn 5-6 times. In charrs, absolute homing is observed.

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