When was the last time you heard of a place that has more wildlife than people? The ‘land of the midnight sun,’ is such a place. With a land mass about the size of Spain, the Yukon Territory has a wildlife population that far exceeds the 30,000 people that call the Territory home. Some of the best fishing on the planet is found in the Yukon bush. Twenty-seven freshwater species can be found in Yukon waters. Species like the arctic grayling, northern pike, whitefish, and lake trout are highly regarded by anglers who visit the Territory. Fish do grow slower in cold northern waters. However an abundance of baitfish, and extremely low fishing pressure produces a lot of trophy class fish.
Lake Trout Fishing in the Yukon Territory
Lake trout in excess of 50-pounds are not unheard of. Lake trout populations are not limited to large deep lakes. They are also found in smaller lakes and rivers. On unfamiliar rivers, anglers are well advised to target deep holes, and large eddies. Lake trout will sit suspended in these areas feeding on baitfish.
Another misconception is that these fish prefer the depths. Here in the Yukon Territory, some of the best lake trout fishing takes place in shallow water. Early in the season after ice out, large schools of trout can be found feeding in extremely shallow water. Our early season strategy focuses on working the large shallow shoals found throughout the lakes we fish.
One ounce spoons work extremely well for spin casters. They are light enough to allow you to fish shallow water without hanging up, and their action mimics wounded baitfish very well. Our most productive color is the yellow ‘five of diamonds.’
The clouser deep minnow is our pattern of choice for early season lake trout fishing. Coupled with an intermediate sink tip line, our favorite tactic is to work the edges of large shoals or points. By anchoring just off these areas we can cast up into the shallow water without spooking fish. Lake trout will continue to work these shallow areas until the water begins to warm up in mid-July.
Northern Pike Fishing in the Yukon Territory
Northern pike are probably the Yukon’s best kept secret. Anglers that visit the Territory, are often surprised at not only the size, but the number of pike Yukon waters produce. One June day I watched two of our clients catch and release 61 northern pike in just two hours of fishing. Only one of those fish was under 30-inches in length.
Spin casting is very popular and effective. One ounce spoons like the Eppinger Daredevils are my all-time favorites for pike. The classic red and white Daredevils are hard to beat. Early in the season northern pike are often found in extremely shallow water. It’s not uncommon to catch 40-inch or larger pike in 12 to 24-inches of water. Good stout leaders are a must for these fish. Leaders at least 12-inches long are best. Northern pike are famous for rolling up in your line so the more protection you have the better.
Pike on the fly is becoming extremely popular these days and for good reason. These fish are extremely aggressive predators that have a unique ability to generate a lot of excitement! The fact that they are the fastest of all freshwater species gives them the ability to hit your pattern with blinding speed. I still catch myself flinching when a big pike hits my fly!
Arctic Grayling Fishing in the Yukon Territory
Considered by many to be the most beautiful of all freshwater species, arctic grayling are truly a flyfishers dream. Their sail like dorsal fin is their most striking feature. Spring spawners, arctic grayling will move into their spawning areas as soon as the ice goes out. After spawning they migrate to summer feeding areas. The biggest fish will usually seek out deeper holes and eddies.
These voracious fish will readily take both wet and dry flies. The elk hair caddis, bloody mosquito, or black gnat are all top choices. Arctic grayling won’t spook as easily as trout in southern streams will. This surprises some anglers that are used to fish spooking if their drift isn’t just right.
Panther Martins are the lure to beat for anglers using spinning gear. The blade creates a vibration that drives these fish crazy. Some of the best arctic grayling habitat will be close to good cover like logs or overhanging brush. Because of this, good casting techniques will improve your chances of success.
The Yukon Territory is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the premier fishing destinations in the north. Anglers that visit this great land are in for a very special experience far removed from the hustle and bustle of the south; book your trip today. `