Fly Fishing for Arctic Char (Helicopter Assisted)

Fly Fishing for Arctic Char (Helicopter Assisted)

Exceptional Fly Fishing & Arctic Wildlife In The Remote Canadian High Arctic.

Arctic Char Fly Fishing (Helicopter Assisted)

  • 9 nights

Arctic Char Fly Fishing (Helicopter Assisted)

Led by the team at Weber Arctic, embark across Somerset Island and Prince of Whales to fly fish for migratory sea run Arctic char. This adventure focuses on the heart of the Northwest Passage - lakes and rivers where few have ever set foot, and arctic wildlife such as polar bears, beluga whales and muskoxen call the region home.

In early July, as lakes melt and rivers open into the arctic ocean, migratory arctic char travel from their spawning grounds to the arctic ocean to feed for the summer. Travelling by helicopter, on foot and all terrain vehicles, our team brings you to a collection of lakes and rivers on the central Northwest Passage to witness and fish this unique spectacle.

Eight hundred kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is your basecamp as you set out to explore the Northwest Passage and fish some of the best migratory Arctic char routes on the globe.

All fishing is catch-and-release with single hooks. Expedition is limited to 4 guests per date.

Read more about Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, and what to expect on staying at the world's most northerly fly-in lodge.

Cancellation Policy

Any cancellations before 180 days prior to the departure date will receive a full refund less a $750 administration fee, per person. Any cancellations after that are not eligible for a refund.

To ensure a stress-free adventure, we recommend guests purchase travel insurance prior to visiting the Arctic.

For guests wishing to donate, a $500 conservation fee will be charged to each visitor to Arctic Watch. The fee directly supports our foundation's conservation work.

As per Canadian Law, all quoted rates are GST applicable at 5%. Prices are in Canadian currency. All adventures are subject to licensing under the Nunavut Tourism Act.

Notice, as per regulatory requirements: This website describes activities carried out under licenses pursuant to the Tourism Act. Weber presently is seeking license renewals to conduct licensed activities for the 2024 season. During the ongoing licensing process, Weber does not hold an active outfitter’s license or tourist establishment license pursuant to the Tourism Act. By using this website you agree and understand that Weber is not a current license-holder and is not offering services requiring such licenses, pending their issuance. We are proud to have operated for the past twenty plus years in Nunavut.


Arrival Instructions

All adventures to Arctic Watch include accommodation in Yellowknife the nights before and after at the Explorer Hotel. Guests arrive into Yellowknife the day before the private charter departs for Arctic Watch.

Day 1

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

Day 2

After breakfast, depart Yellowknife on a private charter for the 3-hour flight to Arctic Watch. Guests will land in the Arctic later that afternoon. After an introduction to the lodge and the surrounding landscape by the Arctic Watch team, guests will have time to settle into their cabins. Before dinner is served, a short hike up to the local mountain is offered; breathtaking views of the Northwest Passage and ice formations on the Arctic ocean. Connect with our guides for an evening gear check, rod preparation and helicopter safety briefing. 

Day 3

Today we start to target sea run arctic char on the eastern half of Somerset Island - leaving the lodge by helicopter we head down the coastline of the Northwest Passage to two small lakes with short rivers that spill into the Arctic ocean. These rivers are "short runs", or short in distance and perfect migration paths. Sea run Arctic char will overwinter in lakes and migrate to the ocean to feed for the summer, returning in the fall. The "spring" migration is what we are targeting - fish emerge from a winter of hibernation, are hungry and need to feed. Short runs mean more concentrated sight fishing opportunities. Casting in the rivers, fishing at the confluence of fresh and salt water, we spend the day in this area of the Northwest Passage. 

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, we'll endeavour to track polar bears. 

Day 4

After breakfast and a visit to the espresso bar, we head along the north coast of Somerset towards the western edge of the island. Continuing our hunt for lakes with short runs, we 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

After two big days exploring lakes and rivers with a helicopter assist, we 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 (including beluga whales) 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

Today we 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

Today we head south. Leaving Arctic Watch and flying towards the southern quadrant of Somerset Island, we 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

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

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

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.

Preparing For Your Trip

In the wild and unpredictable Arctic, weather patterns and wildlife can disrupt even the best-laid plans. All of our itineraries are ‘suggested’– we strive to ensure your visit to the Arctic is a trip of a lifetime. Each day’s activities take into consideration the dynamic environment we operate within, your interests, and may not always reflect the suggested itinerary outlined below.

Travel Recommendations & Notes

Read and understand our waiver here.

All travellers must purchase travel insurance - even Canadian guests. We recommend trip interruption, cancellation and health insurance that includes air ambulance. If an air ambulance is required to Yellowknife, Iqaluit or Ottawa, all non-Nunavut residents are responsible for the cost.

All guests must be fully vaccinated (two weeks prior) against covid-19 before to arriving at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge.

Baggage allowance on the charter flight from Yellowknife to Arctic Watch is 20 kg per person, including carry-on. If you have additional gear that will exceed the weight limit please let us know in advance.

Gear List

  • Neoprene Boots - A comfortable update to the traditional rubber boot with neoprene uppers and a neoprene/polyurethane foot. The best brand is Muck Boots -
  • Hiking/Walking Boots - Sturdy, waterproof/water-resistant leather lightweight boots are nice to have, but if happy with the Muck boots, these are not needed.
  • Light Winter Jacket/Raincoat - In the cooler evenings, a warm jacket is a must.
  • Comfortable Hiking Pants - Pack a couple pairs of quick dry pants made from tightly woven, wind-resistant material. No cotton or silk content.
  • Long Underwear - A couple sets of long underwear made from synthetic or wool - no cotton or silk content.
  • Day Pack - You’ll need a day pack to carry cameras and extra clothing on your excursions. We recommend Osprey Backpacks. Waterproof/water resistant storage compartments are a must for water sports.
  • Personal Items - Toiletries, cameras, sunglasses, extra glasses/contacts or any other items you might require.
  • Fishing (chest) Waders and Boots - While we can supply fishing waders, many guests prefer to bring their own. Our guides generally use Simms waders and boots. We recommend cleated vibram sole boots.
  • Fly Fishing Rods - Our team supplies premium single and double handed fly rods for guests. If you've got a lucky rod that you absolutely love, please do bring it! We recommend 8-weight class rods.
  • Rain Pants - This item is primarily for protection against the wind while on the ATVs. Ensure your pants are waterproof and seam-sealed.
  • Lodge Shoes - Light, comfortable shoes to wear in the lodge are useful. We will supply guests with lodge shoes.
  • Fleece Jacket - A fleece jacket is another necessity as an extra layer under your raincoat, for warmer days, or just to wear around the lodge.
  • Hat - A wool toque or fleece hat. Any cap really that is made from a material that dries easily.
  • Gloves - Wind-resistant gloves/mittens for cold days or the ATV excursions.
  • Socks - Several pairs of good wool or wool-synthetic socks are a must. No cotton or silk content. Arctic Watch has Smartwool socks available for purchase if needed.
  • Sunscreen - The summer sun in the Arctic is extremely strong - not to mention it shines almost 24 hours a day. So pack sunscreen.
  • Binoculars - Great for spotting wildlife. We recommend Swarovski Optiks.
  • Arctic Watch has gear available for use on specific excursions: ATV helmets, fishing gear, paddling dry jackets and pants, life jackets, and more.

Staff Gratuities/Tip: If you wish to leave a tip to the team after your stay, it is greatly appreciated. Gratuities are split evenly amongst the staff members. We don't make suggestions - every culture has different expectations surrounding tips. Guests will (on average) leave about 10% of the value of their trip.

We're here to help.

We understand that booking a trip like this is a big endeavour. Please reach out to us with any questions that you might have regarding your upcoming adventure.