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1. Many organisms undertake migrations between foraging and breeding habitats and while it is assumed that reproductive timing affects fitness, little is known about the degree of individual consistency, and about the causes and consequences of individual variation in migratory timing in organisms other than birds.2. Here, we report on a 6-year mark–recapture study, including 2048 individuals, of breeding migration in anadromous pike (Esox lucius), an iteroparous top-predatory fish that displays homing behaviour. By repeated sampling across years at a breeding site, we first quantify individual variation both within and between breeding events and then investigate phenotypic correlates and fitness consequences of arrival timing to the breeding site.3. Our data demonstrate that males arrive before females, that large males arrive later than small males, that the timing of breeding migration varies among years and that individuals are consistent in their timing across years relative to other individuals in the population.4. Furthermore, data on return rates indicate that arrival time is under stabilizing viability selection, and that individuals who are more flexible in their timing of arrival during the first reproductive years survive longer compared with less flexible individuals. Finally, longitudinal data demonstrate that individuals consistently fine-tune their arrival timing across years, showing that the timing of arrival to breeding sites is influenced by experience.5. These findings represent rare evidence of how between- and within-individual variations in migratory timing across breeding events are correlated with phenotypic and fitness traits in an ecologically important keystone species. Our results emphasize the importance of considering variation in migratory timing both between and within individuals in studies investigating the fitness consequences of migratory behaviour and have implications for future management.This study provides rare evidence of phenotypic correlates and fitness consequences of individual variation of migratory timing in an aquatic top-predatory fish.