WELCOME [ Log In ] SITE [ Search Page Index Recent Changes ] RSS

Arctic Char

Arctic Char Flavor Scale

Back to Finfish

Arctic Char Taste & Flavor Profile

Arctic Char have a rich taste with a flavor profile somewhere between trout and salmon with a fat content close to that of sockeye salmon.  The flesh ranges in color from light pink to deep red with moderately firm but fine flakes. The skin is is thin and delicate, is easy to crisp-up and is edible.  I usually cook it to 120° F, about medium-rare (note that the Health Dept. recommends 135° for fish). Char is also served as sushi, but because it is of the Salmonidae family it must be frozen first to a temperature of -4° F for 24 hours to kill any possible parasite larvae.

Typical Cooking Methods

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Deep-Fry
  • Grill
  • Poach
  • Saute
  • Smoke
  • Steam
  • Sushi

Alternate Names

Char, Alpine Trout, Sea Trout, Alpine Char, Iwana (sushi)

Typical Wholesale Products

Whole, Dressed, Fillets

Description (Salvelinus alpinus alpinus)

Arctic Char is a member of the Salmonidae family which includes salmon and trout. Average commercial weight is 2-8 Lbs but can grow to 25 Lbs. Their body shape resembles salmon. They have silvery skin with flecks of pink along the sides and splashes of green & blue along their back.

Like salmon, arctic char is anadromous, migrating from lakes to saltwater to spawn. But unlike salmon, they do not die after spawning and can live to an age of over 25 years.

Arctic Char Arctic Char Fillets jpg



Fresh Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability. Farmed fresh Arctic Char is available all year.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec


Arctic Char Butchering Yield %

ItemTo Skin/On FilletsTo Skin/Off FilletsNotes
Whole Round 55% 50% Round is whole fish ungutted.
Whole Head/On gutted 69% 63%  
Skin/On Fillets -- 91% If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


Range & Habitat

Wild Arctic Char are found in the northern arctic waters of North America, Europe and northeastern Russia.  They are found in marine and fresh water, and dwell at a depth of 90 - 210 feet deep.  Some are migratory, while others live in fresh water their entire lives.

Arctic Char are unique in that they are the only fresh water fish to inhabit the coldest, most northern lakes, as well as alpine lakes at the the highest altitude.

Range & habitat
AquaMaps     Data sources: GBIF



Visit our recipe database page and search our favorite seafood recipe sites.


Arctic Char Sustainability Info

NameAlternate NamesCatch MethodCatch
Arctic Char Char, Alpine Trout, Sea Trout, Alpine Char, Iwana Farmed Canada, Iceland, Norway, US Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png no
Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.

 Green-icon_20.png = Best Choice/Recommended     Yellow-icon_20.png = Good Alternative     Red-Dot_20.png = Avoid/Not Recommended
Jan 2013

Most arctic char are farmed in some type of closed land-based aquaculture system such as tanks or raceways. They are well managed with low impact upon the local habitat and low risk of pollution. Wild fish are also available, but in very limited supply.  Read more.


Nutritional Information

Arctic Char nutrition based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving.

* Calories/Calories from fat 264
* Protein grams  34.6
* Fat grams  13.9
* Saturated fat grams 2.9
* Sodium milligrams  120
* Cholesterol milligrams  46.3
* Omega-3 grams  2.7



Follow David Buchanan on Google +
David Buchanan is a professional chef and author of Chefs-Resources.com, a site geared towards providing chefs and culinarians useful info to help in their kitchens.
Did you find the information about Arctic Char useful? Or did you notice something which is missing on this page?
If so, leave a comment!

Comments [ Add a Comment ] [ Jun 28, 2010 ]

A great fish...Love it!