Hottest spot: The deep water just upstream of Third Island
Why we chose it
In 2011, Best for world-record Arctic char
No one knows for sure why the mighty Tree produces such giant char. It could be the fish gorge on the Arctic Ocean’s abundant forage before entering the river, itself rich in forage. Or maybe the intense competition for redds simply weeds out the little guys. Then there’s the catch-and-release policy maintained by sole outfitter Plummer’s Arctic Lodges, along with the low pressure—just 250 anglers get a crack at the Tree each season. Whatever the case, the fish average 10 or so pounds, double that of most other char waters, and expectations for even bigger fish are completely justified. In all, the International Game Fish Association recognizes eight world records out of the Tree, including the coveted all-tackle record, a 32-pound nine-ounce behemoth caught in 1981. No wonder the river lures anglers from the world over. Australia’s Frank Bluch, for example, has visited twice, chalking up one IGFA fly rod record and another one pending from just this past season (both fish are pictured above). As for me, I didn’t break any records during my trip to the Tree River a few years back, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never catch two 20-pound-plus Arctic char again in my life. Unless, of course, I’m lucky enough to one day return to the Tree.
Hot lure: White Twister Tail on a one-ounce Jig-a-Jo Banana jig
Hot fly: Black Cone Head Zuddler
In 2010, Arctic char; World-record calibre fish offering an incredible fight
When to fish: August is best.
Where to fish: From camp, upriver to the Third Falls; don’t miss the Presidential Pool.
Tip: Fling big streamers or use heavy bucktail jigs or spoons.