Gone Fishing

Fishing is a great way to get out on the land and experience all of the natural beauty that the Yukon has to offer. And with our endless summer sun, you can cast your line any time of day or night!

To fish in the territory, you’ll need a Yukon fishing license. You can get a license for the season, one day or six days, with different rates for Yukoners, Alaskans, Canadians and non-residents. Permits can be purchased online or at Conservation Offices and government liquor stores throughout the territory. Barbless hooks are recommended. Always be aware of where you are, as there can be specific rules for different bodies of water throughout the territory, in particular on First Nations settlement land. Around Dawson City, it is illegal to fish from the shore in front of Moosehide Village and Tr’ochëk.

The most easily accessible fishing spots in and around Dawson City are along the Yukon and Klondike Rivers, where you can fish right from shore. Fishing is especially good in any spot where clear waters empty into the silt-laden Yukon River, such as at the confluence of the two rivers. You can expect to find lots of arctic grayling! They have a slender body and short head, with a dark purplish blue back and purplish grey sides with scattered black spots. Their most distinguishing feature is their enlarged dorsal fin. Grayling average around a half kilogram, but can sometimes be bigger. Grayling are also a great catch for beginner anglers!

Aside from grayling, people also find pike and inconnu in the Yukon and Klondike Rivers. Though usually a lake fish, Northern pike can be found in river sloughs and backwaters. They have a dark green colour across the back, and are mottled down the sides with light yellow spots fading into a whitish belly. Mature females can weigh more than 10 kilograms. Inconnu are usually found at the mouths of tributary streams. They have white, oily flesh and average 2 to 5 kilograms in Yukon, but can grow as large as 10 kilograms.

If you’re heading up the Dempster Highway, you can try your luck at any river or stream for grayling. If you’d like to try lake fishing, Dolly Varden can sometimes be found in Chapman Lake, at kilometer 116 on the Dempster Highway. These fish have a trout-like body and forked tail fin. They’re colourful, with dark blue to olive-green on the back and sides, and light yellow spots on their dorsal surface and orange and pink spots fading to white on the side. You can also find grayling in Chapman Lake, though the rivers are better fishing if that’s what you’re after.

Looking to try your hand at ice-fishing? In winter, you can catch burbot, the only freshwater member of the cod family. Burbot are caught using set lines, which can be left overnight. In addition to your Yukon fishing license, you’ll need a sport fishing license, which you can get for free from any conservation office.

If you’d like to learn more about fishing in Yukon, including things like daily limits, check out this comprehensive guide!

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