From the day we came to Whitehorse it was my partner’s dream to catch a burbot; the only freshwater member of the cod family is found in most Yukon lakes and large rivers.
We were told that they are easily caught overnight on baited set lines, as they are bottom dwellers. In December we wanted to try our luck. We rented a guest house at Little Atlin Lodge for the weekend.
It turned out to be an ideal place to stay because it is nestled right on the shore of Little Atlin Lake – an excellent lake for ice fishing.
Little Atlin Lodge offers two secluded, lakefront guesthouses. One of them – called the Pine Guest House – is fully winterized and can be rented year-round. It is very spacious and provides a complete kitchen and a private bathroom with hot shower and flush toilet. What a comfortable place to spend a winter weekend in a natural setting, relax and wait for burbot to bite.
We put out our set lines on Friday and Saturday nights and got rewarded with one burbot each the following mornings. A long-awaited wish came true!
If you want to experience burbot fishing yourself, here is a short overview of how we did it:
Get a set line license issued by Environment Yukon. The license is free in addition to the Yukon angling license.
Book an overnight stay at Little Atlin Lodge. We spent three nights in the Pine Guest House – the more nights you have your lines out, the better your chances are. The Lodge offers a 10 per cent discount on bookings of three or more nights this winter.
Prepare the set lines by fixing them to a stick. We used big hooks and tried different bait such as shrimp, chicken and bacon.
Place setlines into holes. We covered the holes with snow and made sure our lines were marked with our address and license number. We also marked the holes with sticks to find them again the next morning.
Keep fingers crossed. We enjoyed our overnight stay in the warm and cozy cabin while our lines were out.
Check set lines the next morning (or after a maximum of 30 hours). Both mornings we could shout out loud “FISH ON!”
Gut and fillet the fish. We had to check Youtube because it was our first time preparing a burbot.
Enjoy a delicious meal. Burbot is also called “poor-man’s lobster.” We tried different recipes such as boiling fillet slices in salt water or frying them in a beer batter.
We were so busy with ice fishing in front of our guesthouse that we didn’t have time for other activities. The lodge would also be a great place for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling or exploring nearby lakes – it’s a good reason to go back some day.
And maybe next time we will be lucky to see the northern lights. It is a great open spot for awesome pictures.
Try it yourself and experience a unique weekend out of town. The hosts Rahel Diener and Andri Kobler will be happy to welcome you. Tight lines!
For more information go to www.LittleAtlinLodge.com.