The first rule is that it has to be fun or it will fail.
Yukon has a long-running pothole lake fish stocking program. There are 18 of these lakes and six or seven of them are in or near Whitehorse.
Others are within a 2-hour drive. These lakes are stocked on a scheduled basis and depending on the lake, the fish are Rainbow Trout, Arctic Char or Kokanee Salmon (freshwater sockeye.)
A stocked lake publication is available at any Department of Environment office or by Googling “Yukon stocked lakes.” Included are lake location maps, info on the fish and tips to make it a successful outing.
At many of these lakes, you can drive right to the water. Some lakes are a bit ornery to fish from shore except in a few spots.
Hidden Lakes in Whitehorse are included as they were created when the Whitehorse dam was built in 1955, so they are flooded forest areas with the trees still standing under the lake surface. These lakes are best fished using a canoe, small boat or winter ice-fishing (which can last into April.)
Other than stocked lakes, there are a number of other nearby spots that are productive.
The Yukon River in Whitehorse has a number of species, but Arctic grayling are abundant and not hard to catch. Small flies or spinners seem to work best. Being right in town, fishing can be a couple of hours in the afternoon or even after supper.
Try the pools behind the fish hatchery or the point off the Millenium Trail reached by the skateboard park.
The straight river section off Wickstrom Road near the hospital is productive.
Pump-house Lake and McIntyre Creek alongside the Fish Lake Road are home to rainbow trout and Arctic char.
Not very far south out of town is the Lewes River bridge. This area has pike, grayling and whitefish and is easily fished from shore. Try the small point on the Marsh Lake side of the bridge or the north side of the bridge again on the Marsh Lake side. Whitefish are frequently caught on the downstream side of the boat lock by the dam.
A little further south is the Johnson’s Crossing Bridge over the Teslin River. There is open space to fish from shore on both sides of the river on the downstream side of the bridge. Arctic grayling are abundant and available all year as long as the area isn’t frozen over, which happens occasionally, but only temporarily.
Stocked lakes can be fished with small lures, spinners or flies. A very productive method especially for youngsters who cannot cast a line yet, is Powerbait, which comes in a small jar, in various flavours, shapes and as a paste. Simple to use, the rig is a sinker at the end of the line and a dropper hook (6” to 8”) 3 to 4 feet up the line. You might have to cast for the child, but after the sinker is on the bottom, reel in some line to keep the hook off the bottom (Powerbait floats, which helps.)
Grayling like little black flies all year. A split shot a foot above the fly and a float or bobber 5 to 6 feet above that. It is cast out and retrieved slowly.
You do the casting and they do the reeling.
It’s up to you to make it fun.