On Arctic Char.

 

Arctic char vary greatly in appearance and behaviour in Iceland.

 

Like the brown trout, the Arctic char can either remain in one place or spend part of its life cycle in the sea. The landlocked char spends its entire life in fresh water, in either running or still water. One of the best examples of the variety exhibited by Arctic char can be seen in Lake Thingvallavatn where no fewer than four distinct variants are found in the same body of water.

Arctic char are very widespread in rivers and lakes in Iceland. In lakes which hardly have any inflow or outflow the char is generally the only fish species. Lake-dwelling char usually spawn in shallow water and the fry spend the early part of their life in gravelly shallows close to the shore before later spreading out into the lake.

If rivers or streams flow into or out of the lake, the char may enter these to spawn and the juvenile fish will then spend the early part of their development there. Landlocked char can often be found in rivers which are poor in nutrients. In these conditions they grow slowly and reach sexual maturity while still comparatively small.