There are many reasons why Yukoners enjoy fishing.
I believe my passion for fishing started with a positive experience on the water with my Dad. For others it is a way to get out and enjoy the spectacular Yukon wilderness. Then there are those who simply have it in their blood and it’s something they have always done.
Upon moving to Whitehorse, over five years ago, we purchased a house across the street from a family of long-time Yukoners. Every summer I would watch Jim and Jennie get their boat and camper prepped and religiously head out for summer camping trips.
With two young kids apiece, Jim and I would sit at the edge of the driveway and talk of taking our kids fishing. A few years later we moved from Riverdale to Copper Ridge, but still stayed in touch and often e-mailed fishing stories or pictures.
I know that Jim, Jennie, Brandon and Amy are still fishing on and around Aishihik Lake. Fishing this area is in their blood. Jennie’s father, Lloyd, worked with the military to build a road to the original Aishihik airstrip.
Lloyd, a third-generation Yukoner and legend in the aviation industry, used to take Jennie to this lake when she was a child. Jim, who married into the family, is a technician with Yukon Energy and spent a number of years at the Aishihik hydro facility.
In keeping with tradition, the third, fourth and fifth generation Yukoners got together this past Canada Day long-weekend for camping and fishing at the lake. Jim explains how, on a gorgeous summer day, 86-year-old Grandpa Lloyd showed up the ‘young uns’ and caught the biggest fish of the day, a 12-pound lake trout.
This is no small feat considering the fishing credentials in that one boat.
Seven-year-old Brandon is already an expert spincaster who is now taking up a fly rod and regularly catching grayling and whitefish. This summer he caught over 100 fish and will often spend up to eight hours at a time on the water.
Dad is no slouch, either, having just won the Yukon Fish and Game Association’s Angler of the Year award for a 30-pound lake trout. Brandon placed third in the youth category with a 22-pound pike.
This family has made fishing in the Aishihik area a tradition.
If you ask Jim what he likes most about the fishing, it has nothing to do with the fish caught; it is about having 100 per cent of his children’s attention and being able to spend quality time with the family.
While many of us are first-generation Yukoners who won’t get anywhere close to the fish count of this family, we can all learn from this special connection. This summer, get the family together, pick a special lake, go fishing and start your own tradition.
If you would like to share your fishing story or hear more about this one, visit Dennis Zimmermann’s Yukon fishing blog at www.fishonyukon.com.