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Catching Arctic Char

Arctic Char Fly Fishing

Example 10 Day Tour
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Experience fly fishing over Somerset Island and the Prince of Whales. This journey focuses on the center of the Northwest Passage, where arctic wildlife such as polar bears, beluga whales, and muskoxen call home. An expert team takes you by helicopter, on foot, and in all-terrain vehicles to a group of lakes and rivers in the middle of the Northwest Passage so you can see and fish this rare spectacle.
Fly fishing for Arctic charCasting for Arctic char near Arctic Watch Northwest passageHelicopter on Somerset Island Northwest passage near Arctic WatchEarly July Landscapes Cunningham InletA beluga playing in the Cunningham RiverATV on the tundra near Cunningham Inlet at Arctic WatchATVing on the tundraHigh ArcticMuskox photographyA herd of Muskoxen on Somerset IslandFly fishing for Arctic char near Arctic WatchCatching Arctic Char
  • Experience exceptional fly fishing in Northwest Passage rivers
  • Enjoy ATVs, a Mercedes Unimog, kayaking, rafting, fishing, and hiking
  • Explore stunning archeological sites on the north coast of Somerset
  • Encounter rare arctic species, including polar bears and muskoxen
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

  • 1 Dinner
Fly to Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories and spend the night at the Explorer Hotel.

Day 2: Fly to Arctic Lodge

After breakfast, board a private plane for the 3-hour flight to Arctic Watch from Yellowknife. Later the afternoon, guests would arrive in the Arctic. Guests will have time to relax into their cabins after an introduction to the resort and surrounding scenery by the Arctic Watch crew. A short trek up the local mountain is available before supper, with stunning views of the Northwest Passage and ice formations on the Arctic ocean. Connect with our guides for a gear check, rod prep, and helicopter safety briefing in the evening.

Day 3: Northwest Passage

Today  begin pursuing sea run arctic char on the eastern half of Somerset Island, departing by helicopter from the lodge and heading down the Northwest Passage coastline to two small lakes with short rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean. These rivers are "short runs," meaning they are short in distance and provide ideal migratory routes. Arctic char that travel to the ocean to eat for the summer will overwinter in lakes and return in the fall. lookout for fish that have emerged from their winter slumber, are hungry, and need to eat. Short runs give more concentrated opportunities for sight fishing. Spend the day casting in the rivers and fishing at the junction of fresh and salt water.

Spring in the Arctic is also when the floe edge has formed around Somerset Island - a natural causeway of ice that connects between land an ocean, polar bears roam the Arctic ice eagerly hunting for seals. Conditions permitting, you'll endeavor to track polar bears. 

Day 4: North Coast of Somerset

After breakfast and a visit to the espresso bar, head along the north coast of Somerset towards the western edge of the island. Continuing our hunt for lakes with short runs, visit one lake in particular that has a river only a few hundred meters long. The quick migration offers sea run Arctic char an easy migration path to the ocean for the summer. The coastline in this area was inhabited by the Thule culture (1000AD). The coastline has several stunning archeological sites including remains of tent rings, stone foundations of homes, tunnels, kayak cradles and more. Spend the morning fishing and the afternoon exploring the preserved archeological sites.

Day 5: Cunningham Inlet

After two big days exploring lakes and rivers with a helicopter assist, switch gear and head out to explore the floe edge on foot. A natural causeway for wildlife created by ice breaking on the Northwest Passage and solid ice remaining around the shorelines, this area draws migratory birdlife and arctic mammals who are waiting for the sea ice to fully break before entering Cunningham Inlet. Spend the day on the pack ice tracking wildlife, summiting pressure ridges and exploring the completely alien landscape. After dinner, an informal lecture by Richard Weber on his North Pole expeditions - highlighting his historic (and unrepeated) 1995 unassisted journey - will be offered.

Day 6: Prince of Whales

Today head to Prince of Whales. The island west of Arctic Watch on the Northwest Passage offers another series of small lakes with short river migratory runs for Arctic char. Spend the day exploring the region on foot and Heli-assist. After dinner, an informal lecture by Nansen Weber on wildlife photography will be offered. Nansen has spent the past 20 years photographing wildlife in the Canadian Arctic including leading major motion pictures for organizations such as Netflix, Nat Geo and BBC. 

Day 7: South Coast of Somerset

Today head south. Leaving Arctic Watch and flying towards the southern quadrant of Somerset Island, visit and area that is home to one of the largest char migrations in the Canadian Arctic. The sea run Arctic char that inhabit this area will migrate into the ocean to feed on Arctic cod and krill. A fast flowing river with shallow eddies offers sight fishing in and around the mouth of the ocean. The region also draws polar bears, birdlife, arctic foxes and at times - arctic wolves. 

Day 8: Cunningham River

Travel by ATV across the Cunningham River delta, to Muskox Ridge. This scenic trail provides spectacular views of the area and is a great vantage point from which to see muskoxen and arctic foxes. From the high ridge, hike down into one of the many depressions where muskoxen often spend the summer months foraging. After a picnic lunch at Inukshuk Lake, fishing gear will be supplied to catch-and-release arctic char. Head back to the lodge along the River Trail keeping an eye out for birds such as snowy owls, jaegers, rough-legged hawks and more. After dinner, an informal lecture by Richard Weber on his North Pole expeditions - highlighting his historic (and unrepeated) 1995 unassisted journey -will be offered.

A human powered option is also offered for guests - use electric bikes to explore the tundra with your guide.

Day 9: Depart for Yellowknife

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
By now, guests are familiar with the area, and can opt to do an activity that they missed during the week or would like to repeat. There’s lots of time before the flight departs in the late afternoon. Upon arriving in Yellowknife you will spend the night at the Explorer Hotel before your return flight home.

Day 10: Yellowknife | Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Depart Yellowknife for the return flight home..

In the wild and unpredictable Arctic the weather patterns and wildlife can disrupt even the best-laid plans. Therefore all of our itineraries are marked as ‘suggested’. Daily excursions are planned based on guest desires, abilities and interests as well as daily wildlife and weather conditions.


Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

View the beluga whales from your tent at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
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Lodge Room

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  • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners
  • 9 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Gratuities
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  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)


When to Go

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Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.


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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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