Fishing the North Klondike

Fox Lake, Yukon

Here in the Yukon, feisty northern species like Arctic grayling, northern pike and lake trout crowd the eddies and outflows of our streams and abound in our pristine lakes. Salmon make their way thousands of kilometres from the oceans to their spawning beds, arriving in the Yukon and Klondike Rivers late in the summer. And for the warmer types among us, there’s always ice fishing in one of the world’s most extraordinary landscapes – Yukon winter.

dawson-fishWhenever and wherever you choose to fish, recreational fishing is about spending time with friends, family and the great outdoors. The North Klondike Highway offers numerous lakes, rivers and creeks for fishing enjoyment, most within easy access of the highway. Beginning at Lake Laberge and Fox Lake you can fish for northern pike, lake trout and Arctic grayling at all the stream crossings.

Pike will take medium to large spoons and spinners, but also flies, plugs and other topwater lures. Lake trout is very popular and so closely managed. Early and late in the season they can be found in shallow water, but in July lake trout go deep. Switch to jigs or trolling with weights. Please let the big ones go as they are responsible for most of the new fish stocks each year.

Smaller lakes such as Little Fox, Little Braeburn, Braeburn, and Twin offer anglers the chance to catch lake trout on small, calm lakes. Off the highway, Tatchun and Ethel Lakes offer up more opportunities to drop a line, and maybe see a moose or other foraging wildlife.

There are several stocked lakes in the North Klondike region: Gloria I and II, Wrong, and Haldane, offering the opportunity to catch rainbow trout too. Local fishers recommend powerbait. Pick up a Guide to Stocked Lakes at Visitor Information Centres or Environment Yukon offices.

Up the Dempster Highway, there are Arctic grayling in just about every creek and river. These classic Yukon fish with the colourful oversized dorsal fin make great eating. Small spinners and spoons are commonly used, and flies work too. Yukon has adopted progressive conservation strategies to ensure that our fish stocks remain healthy and productive. Fishing practices are guided by three First Nations’ principles: respect the animal, take only what you need, and use everything you take. Visiting anglers are encouraged to adhere to these principles and to carefully practice catch and release fishing whenever possible. Barbless hooks, gentle handling and live release in moderation are preferred.

Fishing licences and regulations are available at most highway lodges, gas stations and community stores. Please review the regulations closely as daily catch and possession limits vary, and some waters are restricted to barbless hooks only. You can also hire guides who can share their local knowledge and passion for the sport. So go ahead. Grab your fishing pole and join us in the nature and culture of Yukon fishing.

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