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.” Whitehorse residents can be at a prime fishing destination in anywhere from 20 minutes (Hidden Lakes and Long Lake) to 40 minutes (Scout Lake). Some are stocked by the Department of Environment in cooperation with the Yukon Fish and Game Association. Pumphouse Lake on the Fish Lake Road is not part of the stocked lake program, but it is large and deep enough to maintain naturally occurring species and what are suggested to be unintentionally introduced Arctic charr. Rainbow trout are common throughout the McIntyre Creek system. McLean Lake was originally stocked for a royal visit about 60 years ago and continues to produce (catch and release only) rainbow trout without stocking.
Now the ice is in. A friend and his pal recently visited Hidden Lakes and caught a number of three-to-four-pound rainbows, as well as a number of smaller ones. The fish stomachs were full of what appeared to be snails, indicating bottom feeding. The anglers used a weight at the end of the line and hooked shrimp very close to the bottom.
The Yukon River is pretty close to anyone living near Whitehorse. A visit to the fish ladder (when it’s open) allows you to see the types of fish available in the river and Schwatka Lake. Included are Arctic grayling, northern pike, rainbow trout and burbot. Grayling are common any time the water is open in riffles and eddies.
Marsh Lake, Braeburn, Labarge and Little Atlin Lakes are all within an hour’s drive from Whitehorse. These lakes require a boat, or ice fishing, but each one contains the usual fish species common throughout the Yukon. Lake Labarge is especially good through the ice for burbot (ling cod.) Fox and Little Fox Lakes are 40 minutes from downtown and offer good catches for the angling family who want to ice fish on foot rather than with a snow machine.
We all are motivated to travel far and wide to fish. These destinations are close to us and they all produce a lot of fish every year. Most of the lakes suggested are close enough to allow for a half a day’s fishing, even with a late start on the day.
I recently (late November) met a friend in the fishing section at Canadian Tire. This guy couldn’t talk for long as he was meeting friends at 3 p.m. on the Yukon River, south of the bridge, to fish Arctic grayling on dry flies. I don’t know how successful they were, but it has to be better than being at work.