Grayling – a glimpse of life under the surface. Photo: Naturcentrum AB.Grayling – a glimpse of life under the surface. Photo: Naturcentrum AB.

The world of fish

Under the surface of Gränslandet’s streams and lakes waits an exciting fauna with a great variety of insect larvae and eight different species of fish. Below you can read about five of the most typical fish in Gränslandet. In addition there are whitefish, burbot and minnow.

Charr – our most beautiful fish

The red ruler of the deep, dark mountain lakes and streams loves cold water. Its fiercely red belly, green-black back and white fin margins, make this the most beautiful fish in Scandinavia, and one of the tastiest. The high-fat flesh is highly appreciated on the table.

Although charr can weigh up to seven kilos, the normal weight is around 500 grams. Charr spawn in streams, rivers or in shallow areas in lakes from August to October.

Charr feed mainly on small bottom-living organisms such as crustaceans, gastropods and molluscs, but also on insects. Large charr are known to eat other fish.

Brown trout – treasured omnivore

There are several types of brown trout – sea-dwelling, stream-dwelling and lake-dwelling. They are of the same species, but the types are named after their habitats. In Gränslandet you find lake-dwelling and stream-dwelling brown trout.

Brown trout is a beautiful, streamlined brownish fish with a yellow belly and black spots on the sides. During the spawning period in autumn, their colour darkens and the males develop an elongated lower jaw.

Young brown trout feed mainly on insects and small animals but switch to eating fish after they reach a certain size. Lake-dwelling brown trout are gluttons that can reach more than 10 kilos.

Grayling – thyme fish

Grayling is one of the best known fishes in the mountains, and also the province fish of Härjedalen. It has a scaly silver-grey body, and like brown trout, charr and whitefish it’s a game fish. A distinctive feature is the black and red sail-like dorsal fin, which can be very large in males.

The generic name Thymallus tells us that the fish has a fragrance of wild thyme, Thymus. Grayling feeds mainly on insects and its flesh is white. It’s a good fish for eating, but has to be consumed fairly soon after being caught. Poached freshly caught grayling is a delicacy.

Graylings spawn when the ice breaks up in late winter, in sandy shallow bottoms or in flowing water.

Pike – crocodile of the fells

Pike is unmistakable with its elliptical, green shimmering body, large head and powerful jaws. It’s the crocodile of the fells, and eats everything, even birds or other pike. Prize pikes can reach an age of more than 30 years.

Pikes often lie in wait behind stones or vegetation. They strike their prey at lightning speed, catching it sideways in their mouth before immobilising it with its sharp teeth. Pikes spawn in the spring, in shallow waters in inlets and reed beds.

Perch – large, coarse or dwarf

Perch has beautiful red fins and a dark green-black body. The dorsal fin has sharp spikes, so be careful. It eats almost anything, but prefers worms and flies. During winter, perch live in large shoals in deep water, but in summer they gather in vegetation and around tree roots and sunken trees. It spawns in shallow water in spring.

Young perch live in shoals, but prefer solitude the larger and older they get. Sometimes you find shoals of “dwarf” perch. Their stunted growth is ascribed to a shortage of prey-fish.

Perch is widespread in Gränslandet. The lakes hold both shoals of small perch to hefty specimens weighing up to 2 kilos– so big that they could be almost 20 years old.

Arctic char on the iceArctic char on the ice

Voracious brown troutVoracious brown trout

Grayling's large dorsal finGrayling's large dorsal fin

Pike headPike head

Perch on the icePerch on the ice

Photo: Naturcentrum AB.
Fishes found in Gränslandet are brown trout, charr, grayling, whitefish, perch, pike, burbot and minnow.