The geographic distribution pattern of mitochondrial DNA (control region) sequence polymorphisms from 73 populations of a salmonid fish, Dolly Varden Salvelinus malma, over most of its range in the North Pacific rim, was examined to assess how its spatial population genetic structure has been molded. The observed 68 haplotypes were grouped into three main lineages, which correspond to western, central, and eastern regions in the North Pacific. The two outlier-haplotype groups gave close agreement with DNA types from two congeneric species, white-spotted charr S. leucomaenis and Arctic charr S. alpinus, respectively. These results suggest that the present-day genetic structure of S. malma reflects historical patterns of isolation and re-colonization, and also historical hybridization with co-distributed species. We also placed the haplotypes of S. malma within our study areas into a pre-existing evolutionary relationship of S. alpinus and S. malma throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the Western Lineage S. malma was basal to all other lineages of S. malma and S. alpinus. Our data serve as a biogeographic hypothesis for salmonid fishes that the Sea of Japan and/or Sea of Okhotsk regions represents a place of origin for S. malma and S. alpinus groups currently distributed in circumpolar regions.