fish strew and ingredients

The Unexpected Joys of Fishing

I never thought that I would like fishing. In fact, as with many things our minds convince us of, I went through the better part of my life certain that I was very happy having nothing to do with piscine pursuits. I didn’t particularly like eating fish and I felt no need to try to catch one. And then I fell in love with a man who loves fishing.

Tackle box or junk box?

The water is still hard and ice-fishing is good, but now is the time to take out all your open water gear and do some maintenance and organizing. You could get by without a gear inspection, but come July you’ll hate yourself for the condition of your tackle and its containers. IEventually, we all have …

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The twice-caught fish

This is a story about an Ontario Northern pike that was caught twice on the same day by two different anglers.

Local fishing in Whitehorse

Whitehorse is not a world-renowned fishing destination, but it is the entrance to the Yukon, which is one of those places on many people’s fishing “bucket list.”

Get schooled!

Kluane National Park and Reserve protects the northernmost population of kokanee, sockeye salmon that became land-locked.

Tie one on

Whitehorse is home to a tiny fly shop with a big heart Big fish. Tiny fly shop. At just 10 feet by 12 feet, and built in a mobile tiny-home style, H20 Troutfitter fly shop – located in the parking lot next to the Gold Pan Saloon in downtown Whitehorse – is the smallest fly …

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Ice fishing safety

Yukon rivers all have currents, bends, gravel bars, log jams and usually decreasing water levels over the winter.

Buying a knife

Part 1 of 2  One of the more common errors made by someone young or otherwise inexperienced in selecting a knife is to buy something big (heavy) with a thick, long blade. A common example is any knife similar to the famous Bowie knife or one of those large “survival” knives with the hollow handle, …

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Buying a knife

Part 1 of 2 Different knives are for different purposes, so peeling potatoes is not as easy with a Leatherman as it is with a paring knife. If your budget allows it, I think a person who hunts and fishes needs three knives. The angler can do a better job filleting fish with a knife …

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Boat trailering suggestions

Larry has some tips to keep your boat trailer, and boat, moving I frequently see trailered boats with the outboard in the “down” position. This increases the chances of  damage to the lower unit or broken prop blades from rocks thrown up by the truck or the trailer tires. If you must use the “down” …

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The pinks are running

Whether you’re into fishing or not, now is a great time to pack up the car and head to Haines to check out the salmon run. At this time of year, the rivers around the small Alaskan town are spotted with a waders-clad population, all hoping to reel in something tasty.

Pike for supper

Pike are very common, not difficult to catch and are a delicious mild-flavoured fish. Their one big negative is that they have more bones than other fish, with those “Y” bones in a line along the thickest part of the fillet. The method to remove these bones is pretty straightforward and can be found on …

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Telling a fish’s age

Once you cut a tree down, you can count the number of years it has stood by counting the annual rings around the stump. It might surprise many that you can get a pretty good idea how old a fish is by counting the rings on a single scale. When we used the big box …

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Sport fishing and the future

Fish management is an ever-changing science. With climate change at hand, it will present many unanswered questions about the future of fishing.

Fish actually have ears

Although fish have ears, they do not have eardrums like humans and other wildlife A number of years ago, while writing outdoor columns for some Ontario newspapers, I touched on the subject of the anatomy of the sensory parts of animals and fish. After the publication hit the newstands, I walked into a coffee shop …

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Many situations need a fire, right now! An emergency or something you come upon. May not even be an emergency or survival situation, yet.

Ziplocs and vacuum-sealing

Great for camping, canoeing and hunting, ziplocs are watertight. It can rain for days and the items in your Ziploc bags will still be dry.

Fish for dinner

Now that we’ve caught the fish, what do we do? Throw away the fish chain, remove the fish to a waterbox to keep the fish alive and replace it with an ice box.

Preparing those tasty fish treats

Most Yukoners like to eat fish, but sometimes people want a different taste sensation. Here are some fairly simple options to try: Tasty Fish Treat #1 Ingredients Arctic grayling, filleted and cut into 1-inch squares Shake ’n Bake, for coating Oil, for deep frying Method Shake the fish in a ziplock bag with old-fashioned Shake …

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Let’s go fishin’! – 3 of 3

On land we have voracious bears that will eat almost anything. In the rivers and lakes, without a doubt, the most voracious fish in North America is the northern pike.

Get stuffed!

Stuffing for fish, birds or game should never be overpowering. When preparing stuffing, make it moist and fragrant.

Catch ‘the Kraken’!

Catch the Kraken offers Alaskan saltwater charter fishing (targeting halibut), but other species include rockfish, cod, flounder, wolf fish, pollock and shark.

Kathleen & Kokanee in Kluane – Part 3 of 6

Kathleen Lake, which is the only place in Kluane National Park you can sleep (legally) if you have rubber wheels for your mode of transportation (rather than flying machines, skis, hiking boots or birchbark).

The ecological web: A story of salmon caught in the middle

“Nature is not something else, isolated, out there; it is as much a part of us as we are of it, and neither can be altered without impacting on the whole.” – Adam Weymouth The Yukon River holds many roles—the namesake of a territory, the history of peoples for thousands of years and home to …

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Fishing with Children

The first rule of fishing with children is that it has to be fun or it will fail.

Fishing with children

Fishing for youngsters may be their first glimpse of ethics and responsible behaviour in relation to nature.

Be Prepared

It is absolutely amazing how even a little preparation can get us through challenges that could be insurmountable without a bit of prep time.

Get the best out of the fish you caught

One of the best ways to assure the very best taste of your fish is to kill it immediately after landing it. Throw away the fish chain and any containers that just hold water. Just don’t use them.

Tea and gin cured salmon

Salmon is a great fish to quickly cure, and the addition of a bit of tea and some gin really compliment the delicate flavours of the beautiful West Coast salmon we’re lucky enough to have access to. The addition of tea and gin makes this a great dish to have for brunch (because gin Caesars …

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Fishermen’s Tales: Mike Gustus

There are lies, darn lies and fishing stories. In the Yukon, fishing is a huge hobby and we’d love to share your big ones, but only if they didn’t get away!

The whole fish tale

Many people wouldn’t be surprised to hear that long-time Yukoner Josée Carbonneau is a passionate fisher. Like many northerners, Carbonneau has an affinity for fishing. It’s what she does with the fish that leaves people awestruck. Long after her fly fishing flies have been tied, and after her hip waders have dried, Carbonneau takes the …

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Northern Food Fusion

lover of adventure & fine tastes – forager of the wild world. The life I live is close with nature, so is my diet. Spruce Tip Salmon Roe Caviar

An Epic Weekend of Hiking

The saying in Yukon is you only truly experience the Yukon when you get out in the wilderness, and those words are accurate beyond belief. From incredible hikes, to a free boat ride, to some refreshing beers and a Sunday afternoon Canadian barbecue… it was a busy, but great weekend! After a month in Whitehorse, …

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Salmon: Another Dijon Delight

Fire up the barbecue, here’s another never-fail salmon recipe. Salmon: Another Dijon Delight Ingredients: ¼ to ⅓ cup mayonnaise 2 Tbsp of your favourite Dijon mustard 2 tsp brown sugar 2 tsp fresh or concentrate lemon juice ½ tsp dill Black pepper to suit your taste Lemon pepper Olive oil Method: In a mixing bowl …

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Fish Chowder

When out on a day’s fishing and you don’t catch one of those big clunkers, don’t be dismayed. You can make a great chowder with little fish too! Gary Hill, one of the very best fishing guides out of Atlin gave me his secret fish chowder recipe. Gary Hill’s Atlin Chowder Ingredients: 2 pounds of …

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Salmon on a Stick

This shish kabob recipe works well, but be gentle as rough handling will cause the cooked fish pieces to break and fall off the skewer. Ingredients: Any size skinless salmon fillet cut into 1” cubes ½” thick sliced zucchini, enough to put 1 slice between every 2 pieces of salmon ¾ inch pieces of red …

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Start South, GoNorth!

Winter in Whitehorse is beautiful, but long. By the end of April 2016 we traveled down south to find Vancouver fully in bloom already. A reasonably priced and very scenic train ride along the coast brought us to Seattle. After discovering this attractive city for a few days, we took over a truck camper at …

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Portable Burn Barrel

On a recent half-day ice-fishing adventure with our son, I got to experience some of the benefits of a portable burn barrel that he has been using for the past five or six years. He puts it to use throughout the year, but spring/autumn hunts and hard-water fishing are when it sees pretty consistent use. …

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Wonder What to do with a Pike?

Pike Chowder Supreme This will take some time, but it is time well spent. Ingredients: 1 pound of freshly caught pike fillets, cut into stew-size pieces 2 ¼ cups boiling water 2 cups milk ¾ cup diced celery 1 ½ cups raw diced potatoes ½ cup thinly sliced carrots 3 Tbsp butter 1 white onion, …

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Bush Gypsy’s Banquette

Sometimes when you’re in the bush you need lots of calories, but you don’t have lots of time (or energy) left at the end of the day. By prepping the first part of this three part recipe for dinner, you have yourself a hearty, quick breakfast, as well as lunch or dinner the next day …

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Happy Appies

Winter is the time for socializing around the wood-stove at the cabin or just in the living room at home. We all want to be warm and welcoming, but when people “just drop by” we get nervous about what we can feed them as far as snacks and appetizers are concerned. Certainly there are lots …

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Fishing on a Budget

The equipment needed to start out fishing can be very expensive and it’s really easy to spend a lot more than you need to. One of the first things a prospective angler needs to learn is that the huge rack of lures and accessories was made more to catch you than to catch fish. There …

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From the Catch to the Table

For those who don’t like the taste of fish, the reason is because of the lack of proper handling of the fish from the time it is caught to the minute it is served. It might come as a surprise to some, but a fish starts to deteriorate the minute it is hooked. More often …

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Heavy Metal Mountain

As Tom unpacked he took inventory: sub-Arctic self-erecting tent, sleeping bag, water/bear proof ruck sack full of high protein granola and astronaut food, zinc for the nose, GPS, selfie stick. He hadn’t been camping in years, since his last fall in the Yukon 20 years ago. But here he was, back again. Roughing it for …

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Gone Fishing

As a Conservation Officer in Ontario in the late 1950s through the 1960s, I patrolled the St. Lawrence River to the Quebec border. I came upon a very strange group of people between five and 90 years old. They were in search of a specific species whose ancestors date back 100 millions years ago and …

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September is harvest time. Berries are juicy and ripe for picking; root crops need to be dug and stored. The shortening days are a clear indicator that it is nearly time to put the garden to bed. September also marks the return of the coho and provides anglers not only the thrill of the catch, …

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Learning to Fry

A small assembly of structures along Mountainview Drive has been quietly housing 45,000 young salmon each year for the past 25 or so years. The McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Facility is located midway between Range Road and Porter Creek. Now an educational facility under Yukon College, it was previously operated by Department of Fisheries and …

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A Family Tradition

When the hooligan are running, the rivers and harbour In Haines, Alaska host a fiesta of wildlife that congregate to feed on this little fish that First Nations prize for its high fat content. Sea gulls, eagles, sea lions and even whales feast on the bounty when it arrives. For generations, the local Tlingit people …

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Hot Ticket to Ride

France has the Tour de France. Italy has the Giro d’Italia. And here in the Yukon, we have the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay. The relay sees cyclists ride the spectacular 238.3 km from Haines Junction, Yukon, to Haines, Alaska. The race is split into eight legs and can be done as a relay by …

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Catch A Cutthroat

This is an awkward time of year for fishing.  Each day, as the amount of daylight lengthens, we grow impatient to be back outside, with fishing rod in hand.  As the warmth of the sun returns, and the snow begins to disappear,  a growing mistrust for the strength of the ice on the once frozen, …

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Getting in Sheep Shape

We drove four hours from Whitehorse to one of my favourite fishing lakes, then an hour and a half across. As a sheep hunter that’s all the info we give on our hunting spots. If you know where that is, you know the Yukon better than I do. Looking up the side of the mountain …

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Golfers and Duck Hunters Have Something in Common

The golfing season and duck hunting season have something in common.  I am convinced  that if a person took up both sports their problems would be greatly magnified. I came to this monumental conclusion when I was chasing golf balls on the number six  fairway. It started to sprinkle rain, but undaunted, like a duck …

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Visiting the Glaciers

We always said that when the kids were old enough we would take them for an Alaskan kayaking expedition, just like the one we had gone on before the kids were born. So last summer we did just that, and what we learned is that an eight-year-old and a 13-year-old are awesome ages for such …

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There Goes my Life

My hunting partner is the best. I know we’ll head out on more adventures, but it may be a while. Hayley is graduating & heading to law school.

Yukon vegetarian

I am not a hunter. Not everyone has to be. I’m spending time with a man who is respectful, thankful, spiritual about the process.

Dem Bones

Pike are notorious for being boney. As a child, I developed an intense fear of choking on fish bones. Not from any horrendous experience, but probably from my little-girl brain taking an off-hand comment from my mum to be careful way too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, choking isn’t any fun, but it doesn’t mean …

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41lb. Lake Trout out of Tagish Lake

Hunting for Wildlife: Mike Gustus

This 43” lake trout, which weighed in at a husky 41 pounds, was caught in Tagish Lake on Saturday, July 19 by Mike Gustus, who writes: “A good ole (Len Thompson) Five of Diamonds barbless hook caught this hog at 94’, deep trolling with my long-time fishin’ friend Brian. I always use a 20lb test, …

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Freezing Fish

Over the years a few people have told me that due to a loss of flavour, they do not freeze fish and only eat them fresh. Certainly a well cared for fresh fish has a slight flavour edge on one that’s been frozen, but not enough difference to avoid freezing your catch. For most of …

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Cooking and Eating Ling Cod

Ling cod, or burbot, is very common in the Yukon’s southern lakes, and is quite easy to catch by jigging, bottom fishing, or using set-lines (which requires a free, separate fishing licence). These fish are bottom-feeders and are attracted to bits of fish belly on a single hook. They usually swallow the baited hook, so …

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Ice Fishing Equipment

Ice fishing is a cold weather activity and your hands are involved in every operation, including cutting holes, setting up equipment, and hopefully handling fish. High quality gloves, mitts, and hand warmers are essential to keep at it for any length of time. Long before power or even hand-powered augers were available, holes for winter …

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Fish on Porcupine River

Sitting at a fish hole in the dark on the Porcupine River, in the Yukon at Old Crow in the fall, is not unusual. Excitement stirs when the ice begins to freeze on the Porcupine River. My friends and I begin to prepare ice augers, fishing lines, favourite fish hooks, and all-time baits. We do …

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Killing My First Fish

The day I kill my first fish I eat a tuna sandwich for lunch.I’m on a bush excursion, assisting a field biologist. On our lunch break, which we take on a log on the marshy edge of Snafu Lake, I open a can of tuna I purchased at the Superstore and spread the flaked bits …

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The Collector in Tagish

His name is Douglas Roy Rogers Dupont the 3rd. That’s what he’s known as on the water around Tagish at least. It’s his two-way radio handle.

Fly Fishing for Pike

In the Yukon, fly anglers usually target arctic grayling, rainbow trout, or kokanee salmon in stocked lakes. These fish are readily available, fairly easy to catch and make great meals. One very common Yukon fish, usually overlooked by the fly-angler, is the northern pike. These great fish are often demeaned with nicknames like “slough shark” or “alligator,” and sadly …

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Vacuum Sealers

Fish quality deteriorates faster than anything else in your freezer. Flavour loss and freezer-burn are the most common results. Double wrapping with plastic and butcher paper allows longer storage, but vacuum packing is the secret to longevity with frozen fish. The early versions of shrink-wrapping devices were large, expensive, and not as dependable as later …

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Northern Romance, November 21, 2013

Dear Readers, Charley Sprucetip and I have parted ways. Fortunately, I have found an absolutely delightful and charming writing partner, Johnny Snowshoe, who has years of experience and valuable insight on love and lust in the North. Juniper Frost Dear Juniper and Johnny, I am originally from a large city in southern Canada and moved …

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Local Angler Receives National Recognition

On October 9, 2013 Dennis Zimmerman was awarded the 2013 Recreational Fishing Award. This award, which is only handed out to a handful of Canadians or Canadian organizations each year, recognizes the dedication he has shown in the conservation, restoration and enhancement of Canada’s recreational fisheries. In the Yukon, Zimmerman is the executive director of …

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What is the Tr’ondëk-Klondike Project?

In two previous columns I have given some background behind Dawson City’s interest in UNESCO’s World Heritage Status designation. The Klondike region was placed on the national short list for this status in 2004, and I have outlined some of the earlier attempts to realize this goal. The latest project is called Tr’ondënk-Klondike: Future World …

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Hooked on Haines

Salmon fishing in Haines is one of the most exciting fishing trips a Yukoner can take. The vast array of species creates an opportunity for everyone. Fishing the ocean tides for kings in the spring, the Chilkoot River for pinks and sockeye midsummer, or the Chilkat River for coho in the fall. With hotels, campgrounds …

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Who Wears the Fishing Pants?

There is a competitive spirit in our house. Every season my wife Heather and I bicker about the size and amount of fish we will catch. Heather is usually a few dozen fish up on me by the time the ice comes off, so I pull the “fish per season” card. This usually ends up …

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Beginner’s Luck

We pulled into Frenchman Lake campground late at night to find it full. The day was like every other Friday, too busy to take care of camping preparations. We decided to move on to Nanatuk and luckily found the last spot on the water still open. I was behind the rest of the camping pack …

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From Community TV to National TV

When you hear the name Maximum Limit Fishing, you might expect the same old fishing show. But this is not the case for the Northwest Territories-based production. Maxim Bloudov has created a truly Northern experience to share with all. “I watch fishing shows religiously and have been fishing my whole life, 80 per cent of …

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Fly Brooch Pin

To create a brooch pin, I have chosen a fly that has worked very well for me on Pacific salmon in Alaska. This Black Laced Neptune is an adaptation of the Neptune Streamer which was originally used for large brook trout in Labrador. Since its inception, it has also been used successfully for numerous other …

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Fly Fishing on Skis

“Skis?” you say. I say, “Yup, that was me out there in a snowmobile suit, a fly rod and a set of cross-country skis, need I mention on some very thin ice on Fox Lake.” You see, some of us can hardly wait … That was my case; you see, the ice just could not …

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Yukon ‘Duck’ Fishing

It was chilly morning at the far south end of Teslin Lake that mid-August morning, a reminder that it was going to be an early fall. There were a few of them that year; waterfowl were starting to gather in larger groups as they prepared for the annual migration. I had been fishing the area …

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Fishing with Another Generation

As a parent with young kids, I am often concerned about the next generation. I know that children are not getting outside as much anymore. They don’t have as much unstructured play in parks, around trees, or in muddy marshes. I have many childhood memories living in the lower mainland where we were set free …

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Bitter and Batter

If you read Dennis Zimmermann’s article last week on ice fishing and combined it with the weather in Whitehorse this weekend, you may well have grabbed your auger and hightailed it down to Pumphouse. Or maybe, like us, you still have a freezer full of fish from last summer’s amazing season and got inspired to …

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Gone Fishing

Many Yukoners live here because they enjoy the active lifestyle, interaction with wilderness, and distance from ties and pencil skirts. A visiting author from the Toronto area pointed out to me the other day that he found it interesting how manyYukoners, however removed, still seek ways to remove themselves even further. I’d have to agree. …

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Larry and a lake trout

Ice-out Lake Trout

The three most targeted fish species in the Yukon are lake trout, Arctic grayling and pike, and are sought after in that order.

Honing Their Outdoor Skills

“You get to learn how to notice the plants around you, how to shoot a rifle, how not to ground your boat in the river, how to pack properly for a multi-day hike, and you get to have fun and relax while you’re doing it,” says Nansi Cunningham. Cunningham is speaking about the annual Yukon …

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Pike in the Shallows

Pike spawn in the late spring and depending on where you are fishing are available in shallow water well into early July. Among my favourite places to try are the high-water sloughs and back channels along our many rivers and shallow bays such as Jackfish Bay on Lake Laberge. These areas are often navigable if …

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Lip-smacking Ling Cod

Ling cod, burbot, fresh-water cod—call them what you like, we can all agree that they’re delicious. I’ve yet to hear of a complicated recipe, but there are probably some available. As mentioned in my Step Outside column in this issue, dressing-out a ling cod is different from handling any other Yukon species. When you have …

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A Great Late Winter Catch

If you catch a fish in the Yukon that looks like nothing you’ve seen before, it’s likely a ling cod. Ling cod and burbot are the usual names used in the Yukon, but this fish is common in much of Canada and goes by a number of local names, depending where you are catching them. …

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Fish Smoking Basics

Smoking fish and making jerky are somewhat similar in that the process removes the moisture from the product (fish or meat). In either case it is your preference as to how dry you make it. If either is completely free of moisture it will keep without refrigeration, but it is not nearly as palatable as …

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Shore Lunch

The Old-fashioned Shore Lunch

If you’ve ever read about—or been lucky enough to go on—a guided freshwater fishing excursion, there’s always a shore lunch included.

Fooling Feeding Fish

For some people, fly-fishing is a sport. For others, it’s an art. But for the diehard fly-fisher, it’s more like a religion. Doug Hnatiuk chuckles at the comparison. “It really is a passion for people, once they start to experience some of that outdoor serenity, peace and tranquility that comes with just a really quiet …

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Something’s Fishy for Dinner

While a fish stew exists in many cultures, our northern fish shines like no other in the version  presented here. Choose a firm textured fish and incorporate as many fresh vegetables as you can get. Using the barbecue keeps the fishy smell outdoors and adds a bit of a rustic flavour to the mélange. I …

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Fishing the Funky Blues at Chadburn Lake

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of getting out fishing with kids. Likewise, spending time with friends on the water brings memories to last a lifetime. While fishing can be an incredible social experience, sometimes you just have to get out yourself. This past weekend, I spent some quality “me time” fishing at Chadburn Lake. …

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Picking Eddies For Takhini River Grayling

For a small fish, Grayling put on a great show. Their entertainment value is derived from their feisty nature, dramatic physical features and the fact that they are usually located in prime moving waters. Further to this, Grayling are not fussy and tend to take a variety of presentations, including small spoons, spinners, wet and …

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The Neptune Streamer

The Neptune Streamer was originally used for large brook trout in Labrador. Since its inception, it has also been used successfully for numerous other species. I have always had good fishing with this attractor streamer. All you need is oval tinsel, flat tinsel and badger saddle hackles. The wing uses four badger saddle hackles and …

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The Poly Flash Carey Special

The Poly Flash Carey Special is one of the most widely used flies in lakes. Originally tied for trout in BC lakes, today it is used throughout the western provinces, the Yukon, Alaska and the Northwest Territories. It can be fished as a wet fly or a streamer and can also be used in rivers …

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