Maine fisheries biologist Fred Kircheis, the “Charr Man,” passed away Feb. 27 at his home in Carmel. He was 81.

Fred Kircheis.  Submitted photo

Kircheis will be remembered as a consummate, dedicated fisheries biologist, who devoted most of his working life to the restoration and protection of Maine’s rare Arctic charr.

According to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIF&W): “Arctic charr in Maine represent a unique resource, which is represented by the only intact native populations in the lower forty-eight states. Furthermore, recent genetic work shows that Maine’s populations are genetically isolated, representing unique gene pools, and that many of them have adapted specifically to the available food base. For these reasons, MDIFW focuses on management that warrants protection for each individual population.”

Kircheis worked out of MDIF&W’s Bangor office. His work allowed him to work in all areas of the State and with all of Maine’s native fish. But his main research focus was on Arctic charr, especially those in Floods Pond. Because of his work with Arctic charr, Fred was invited to join the International Society of Arctic Charr Fanatics, a select and exclusive group of international Arctic charr experts. He traveled the world studying Arctic charr in all their forms and environments.

V. Paul Reynolds, Outdoors Columnist

Bob Mallard from the Native Fish Coalition recalls, “Fred was a wealth of knowledge in regard to Maine’s rare Arctic charr. He was easy to talk to and always willing to help. Few biologists I’ve worked with could bring it down to layman’s terms as well as Fred.”

Downeast regional fisheries biologist Greg Burr says, “I worked with and for Fred for many years in the beginning of my career. He was a nice man who was a very focused fisheries biologist on accomplishing the best protections for charr and the native fishes of Maine. He demanded excellence from himself and his colleagues around him.”


Fred Hurley, former deputy commissioner for the MDIF&W, recalls, “Fred was one of those persons you never forget. He had a long and distinguished career with the Department’s Fisheries Division, and commonly participated in discussions with his colleagues that guided fisheries management programs for many years.”

Today in Maine, Arctic charr exist and naturally reproduce in 14 lakes and ponds, including two populations established through translocation (the live transfer of fish) by MDIF&W. Arctic charr are the northern-most fish in the world, sometimes living in lakes and ponds with no other fish, and where the ice doesn’t break from the lake every year.

During his working life, Kircheis played a pivotal role in shaping the fisheries management goals and policies that will serve to protect this special native fish for years to come. As they say, he left his mark, and did, indeed, make a difference.

Fred Kircheis, the “Charr man,” will long be remembered for his profound passion, his significant contribution to fisheries management in Maine, and his hard work.


V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal, an author, a Maine guide and host of a weekly radio program, “Maine Outdoors,” heard at 7 p.m. Sundays on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. Contact him at

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