Dolly Varden are laterally compressed (flattened from side-to-side) with large eyes below the top of a round, medium-sized head. Juveniles are coloured brown with a whitish belly, with small red spots on the sides and back, and rectangular marks on their sides and back. Adults have small, pale pink or red spots, with surrounding bluish halos. Spawning sea-run males are brightly coloured and develop a hook on the lower jaw, while females, non-spawners and non-anadromous males are more muted in colour.
Length: Sea water forms, over 35 cm (13.8 in); Freshwater adults 30 cm (11.8 in) or less