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04 sweden canadian lake char 20220221 1052302024(2000) Östersund, Sweden. When it was nice and warm in mid-June in Copenhagen, 26 degrees, it was some completely different temperatures that, despite sunshine, surrounded Östersund. In addition, there was snow on the mountains, which of course is beautiful, but it also reminds one that it is a completely different and harsher climate there.
Up here, the favourite sport fish are arctic char, grayling, pike, houting, burbot, lake trout and the imported Canadian lake trout - and it was precisely the Canadian lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) that I wanted to get acquainted with.

The Canada lake trout is actually a very large char, and is well known in North America, where it originally comes from. In the huge lakes on the border between the USA and Canada, this beautiful fish reaches an incredible 30 kg+ weight, and gets to become more than 50 years old.10 sweden canadian lake char 20220221 1690296418
Such a large char has naturally become very popular as a sport fish, and like everything else popular: "dear child has many names". This char is called lake trout in the United States, and it is also called "Mackinaw trout", "Lake char", "Christivomer", "Great lakes trout", "Salmon trout", "Mountain trout", and a myriad of combinations of these names.

The Canadian lake char is introduced many places in the world, including the large lakes around Östersund. I'm sitting with the complete release report in front of me and it's impressive to say the least. The first release took place on September 1st, 1971, where 3000 fish with an average of 150 grams were released. Since then, between 8000 and 9000 fish of the same size have been released each year until 1993, which was the last time. According to the report and my calculator, a total of 180056 Canadian char were introduced during that period.

20 sweden canadian lake char 20220221 1017476950In Sweden, the Canadian lake char don't have quite as good growing conditions as in North America, and they do not achieve even nearly the same size. But OK, weights over 13 kg are surely also worth fishing for.

The largest known Canadian trout from the Östersund system are at resp. 13.6 and 12.7 kg, both of which have been stuffed. These fish were caught in nets. The Swedish sport-fishing record is 8.820 kg, and this record was set last year by my friend, Lars-Göran Nilsson, during the Kallsjö Trolling competition.
Lars-Göran is also locally known for being the first one who has "broken" Storsjön when it comes to Canadian lake char. Still, Lars-Göran has managed to get Canadian lake char almost every time he is out. Here are just three days of fishing reports from 1999:
July 17 Canadian lake char: 5.5 + 3.2 kg in addition to 6 lake trout of approx. 1 kg
July 20 Canadian lake char: 5.0 + 4.0 kg lost 3 fish
August 1 Canadian lake char: largest 7.2 kg - a total of 8 fish over 3 kg
Not bad!60 sweden canadian lake char 20220221 1863351836

I met with Lars-Göran at this year's Kallsjö Trolling competition on the Saturday after the first day's fishing. I have to say that the trolling competition is going on somewhat differently up there than anything else I have seen. There is a much cosier atmosphere and in a somewhat more relaxed manner, not as streamlined and rigid as most trolling competitions in Denmark. Here there was dancing and music in the small place where the competition was held and the families were there aswell.

Lars-Göran came in with an impressive Canadian lake char of 3.9 kg, which was photographed endlessly. We spent the evenings in a small, rented cabin, where several of the fishermen gathered, each with a bunch of beers and booze and angling stories; and it was getting late; phew...

66 sweden canadian lake char 20220221 1626376668The next day, I rode with Lars-Göran in his boat, a 6 meter Boston Whaler. I do not know if it was the hangover's fault, but at we didn’t get a single bite all that day. The winner of the competition was, however, not Lars-Göran this time.
The winner of the competition was young Micke from the sport fishing shop, Fiske Service, in Östersund. He had a total of just over 8 kg and won with only 200 grams over the fisherman in second place. The largest fish (Canadian lake char) caught during the competition weighed 4.1 kg.

In addition to Canada lake trout, arctic char and European lake trout (Salmo trutta lacustris), some hybrids of Canada lake char and brook trout (also a char) were caught, and of Canadadian lake char and arctic char. The first hybrid, which is called "splake", is very popular in put & take lakes, as it grows very fast, but without reaching the same size as the Canadian lake char. In Sweden, the second hybrid is called "kröding".

My last fishing day with Lars-Göran took place on Storsjön, which is actually his home plate. Lars-Göran has a dream house right down to the lake with a fantastic view and a very conveniently located boat bridge. We fished almost all day and unfortunately did not get any Canadian lake char that day, just a few lake trout as a consolation prize. There were, however, lots of "interesting" echoes on the fish finder, but none of them wanted to come out and play.
The methods and techniques were like this: 6 rods rigged for 2 planer-boards (which is illegal in Denmark), which are fished at a depth of 1 to 5 meters, and 4 rods on 2 down riggers at 6 to 20 meters. They get the Canadian lake char in all depths, but when it gets really hot, it's when the fish hunt in the surface.
The baits consisted primarily of Swedish trolling flashers and Bomber plugs in powerful colours.

Next year, I will visit Lars-Göran again, and have another go at the Canadian lake char, and the lake trout, which grow to well over 10 kg.

90 sweden canadian lake char 20220221 1027687721

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