Searun Dolly Varden

David Loy

Senior Moment
#5
FWIW, we caught a lot of Dolly Varden off the beaches in Katmai. I imagine they inhabit other coastal areas of AK as well. I had never heard the term Bull Trout before reading these pages. Many of the Dollies we caught were in the 12” to 16” range. We cooked a couple and returned most. This was in the mid 70s.
 

Preston

Active Member
#7
The large, anadromous char of Puget Sound are bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus). The range of the Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma) does extend south to northern Washington, but they only occur as small residents in small, high-elevation streams in the Cascade and Olympic mountains. The two are different species.
 
#9
These were all caught in the ocean near estuaries. As Preston kindly mentioned, there are two different species. They aren't the lake dwelling species or the inland river type but they do spawn in rivers like other salmonids. They are not the inland form of Dolly Varden now recognized as bull trout. I've caught my share of bull trout and these are a much nicer looking fish. I'll try to locate a photo. I was just wondering if the marine range of these extended as far south as Puget Sound. We we catching them north of Campbell River on Vancouver Island while fishing for pinks and coho. I've never encountered one in the ocean any farther south. Larger ones would go 15 inches.
 

Jim B

Active Member
#11
Years ago, we'd fish the northern Whidbey Island beaches about this time of year for SRCs, and occasionally would get into a few bull trout, some of which exceeded 20" and were pretty stocky. Used Dan Lemaich's Puget Sound Minnow...rolled duck flank feather tail, olive chenille body wound with silver tinsel, and a palmered duck flank collar. I wonder if they still patrol those beaches.
 

Preston

Active Member
#12
While the range of the bull trout does extend as far north as Southeast Alaska on the coast and the Peace River in the interior it does not occur on Vancouver Island, The Queen Charlotte Islands, or the close inshore islands off of SE Alaska. More correctly thought of as semi-anadromous, bull trout can sometimes decide to remain in fresh water for extended periods of time. Puget Sound (and coastal) bull trout routinely reach lengths of 20 inches and can be much larger, living to an age of 8-10 years. During the saltwater phase of their lives, bull trout adopt the silvery appearance of all salmonids in the salt.
DOLLY_CU.JPG
 
#13
FWIW, we caught a lot of Dolly Varden off the beaches in Katmai. I imagine they inhabit other coastal areas of AK as well. I had never heard the term Bull Trout before reading these pages. Many of the Dollies we caught were in the 12” to 16” range. We cooked a couple and returned most. This was in the mid 70s.
In Washington State, the native char that are anadromous are Bull Trout. There are some Dolly Varden in the state, but I believe they are in a couple of headwater streams. Dolly Varden and Bull Trout are very difficult to distinguish from one another. There three measurable variables (measurements and counts) that were identified by two researchers named Haas and McPhail to differentiate the two species. At one time is was thought that Dolly Varden were distributed on the coast (both anadromous and non-anadromous) and Bull Trout were interior (non-anadromous fomr). Through genetic analysis, it was discovered not to be the case.

Yes, Alaska definitely has Dolly Varden. I do not know if there are any Bull Trout populations there.
 

Skip Enge

Active Member
Staff member
#14
The WSFW's confusing morass of specificity...trout or immature steelhead, Bull or Dolly
Re:upper NF of the Lewis mile 13 caught a 7 lb Dolly...or looked like one...it's a bull trout?
The great flip flop is it this or that...by definition it was a bull trout...by visual inspection... 'Helly Dolly!!!"
The pic i have of iot is under lock and key on my sharing blocked 15 year old Photobucket acct page.
 

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