The chief objective was to determine the critical thermal limits for alevins, fry and parr of Arctic charr, Salvelinus alpinus, (L.) from four races living in Windermere (northwest England). The experimental fish were reared in a hatchery but were the progeny of wild parents. As comparisons between tethal temperatures at four acclimation temperatures (5, 10, 15, 20° C) revealed few significant racial differences, the data were pooled to estimate the lethal values for survival over 7 days (incipient lethal temperature) and over only 10 min (ultimate lethal temperature) for each life stage. Upper lethal values increased with acclimation temperatures for alevins but this effect was negligible for fry and parr, Alevins were generally less tolerant than fry and parr at lower, but not higher, acclimation temperatures; e.g. after acclimation at 5° C, mean upper ultimate values were 23·3, 25·1 and 25·7° C and mean upper incipient values were 18·7, 21·5 and 21·5° C for alevins, fry and parr respectively; after acclimation at 20° C, mean upper ultimate and incipient values were 26·2, 26·1 and 26·6° C and 20·8, 20·8 and 21·6° C for alevins, fry and parr respectively. The area of the temperature tolerance polygon (expressed as ° C2) for juvenile Arctic charr is amongst the lowest recorded for salmonids; being 409, 439 and 461° C2 for alevins, fry and parr respectively. These low values are due to lower upper tolerance limits, not high lower tolerance limits; the latter being close to 0° C (<1°C for parr and fry, <0·3° C for alevins) at all acclimation temperatures. Arctic charr are therefore amongst the least resistant of salmonids to high temperatures but probably the most resistant to low temperatures.