Just a little trip report
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  1. #1
    Mayfly Tangler's Avatar
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    Default Just a little trip report

    I keep seeing how empty this section this is so I thought I would post a report of a trip I took a couple of years ago:


    We flew from Nanaimo to Whitehorse towards the end of June. Our 10 month old daughter seemed to enjoy the trip which was a relief. She was also the main impetus for the trip, not because she wanted to go fishing up there so much, but because one set of her grandparents are there... Landing in Whitehorse always seems exciting, like all the passengers are buzzing with excitement at landing at this frontier.
    Fortunately the in-laws also like to fish (not so much into the C+R though) so the next afternoon Dave and I are off to a local lake, Hidden lake #2. We didn't take a boat, it was windy, there wasn't much room for a backcast, and the water is full of dead trees from back before it was a lake, all of which combined to make the fishing difficult. There were a few fish rising within reach and I eventually confirmed that they were Rainbows (stocked). As I was a little way away from Dave I was able to release it quickly claiming it was too small to keep (and really, it was, by my standards). They didn't seem to like Dave's spinners so we went home after a few hours.
    The next evening we headed out again, this time to Scout lake, apparently stocked with Rainbows and Chinook, and scene of much in-law frustration caused by bulging fish that wouldn't take a lure. I figured I would show them how it was done with flies. Again we had the same limitations as before minus the woody water. A beautiful lake though. Blue water and white shoals, terns flying around in the brilliant evening light. No fish though. Of course, the wind would make it hard to see any rises... At the end of the evening a small (2") trout gorged itself on my caddis pattern. I released that one too...
    The next day we were off to Kluane national park to stay at Kathleen lake. In the afternoon I tried fishing the lake, but had the same problems, notably wind and bush. After half an hour I gave it up. We decided to drive to the Arctic institute basecamp at Kluane lake to visit some of my wife's friends there and I took the rod as we would be driving by/over Jarvis river. After a nice visit and a free supper we headed back to Kathleen and stopped at Jarvis. I had 30 minutes to catch my first grayling as it was getting late and 10 month olds are not always that flexible...
    Jarvis is a nice little creek that obviously gets a lot of attention near the highway. There was even some other fishers there... After applying the necessary bug dope I headed to a little eddy just downstream from the other fishers. I stuck my head out of the bushes and saw some fish rising. A mixture of roll casts and dapping saw 4 grayling (9" to 12") to hand in short order. I was struck by the beauty of the fish. I wondered around a bit more but didn't see any other rises. Wandering along a riverbank in thick head high bushes in Grizzly country is certainly a bracing experience so I headed back to the car, more than satisfied, as my Wife could tell from the grin on my face.
    The next day was our big hike day and we stuck to the plan even though the wee one had decided that partying most of the night was more fun than sleeping. We dropped the little one off with the in-laws (gods bless them) and headed up King's throne, a nice looking mountain with a rock glacier next to the lake. We didn't make it to the top due to our parenting induce poor conditioning, but were pretty pleased with our progress anyway. Very nice view...

    Click here to enlarge

    What always strikes me about the views in the Yukon is the lack of obvious clear cuts and how the trees just run cleanly up to the tree line.
    Anyway, on the left side of the picture you can see the accessible portion of the Kathleen river, another of my fishing goals for the trip.
    That evening, with the little one seeming asleep I headed for the river. The water was high but beautifully clear and blue. I roamed around on river right for a while, swinging nymphs and wading in fast water. Nothing. I headed back to the bridge, crossed the river and explored river left. It was deeper with some big eddies and, conveniently, a trail through the woods heading downstream. I changed to an ant pattern (some local knowledge) and probed the head of a big eddy. Nothing... I went further down and started to explore the middle of the eddy. Standing thigh deep in cold water on a sloping, slippery mud bottom and winging out long roll casts I finally connected with a nice Kathleen river grayling. 14 inches. Even though I was hoping to get some of the rivers fabled rainbows it was hard to be disappointed (so I gave up and settled for happy). In all I landed 6 nice graying up to 16 inches on a variety of dry patterns. Nice splashy takes and good fights. I headed home very happy to find an unhappy wife with a wide awake youngster. My turn to stay up late...
    The next morning we decided to head back to town as the little one obviously wasn't going to let us sleep in a one and a half room cabin. I guess I will have to explore the river more on another trip. Before we left the in-laws and I did head back to the eddy for a bit more fishing. Lois seemed impressed with the benefits of fly fishing, so hopefully that will move her in that direction. I had similar success to the night before, probably the same tough Yukon fish...
    A shot of the river from the fish with me in the distance

    Click here to enlarge

    Beautiful colours in the water...

    And here is a picture of me in full Yukon fishing regalia (note the bug jacket..) with King's Throne in the background.

    Click here to enlarge

    Back in Whitehorse I only had one more chance to catch a pike before heading home, so the Wife and I head off with the canoe to Snafu lake. I broke out the as yet fishless 9wt and we paddle around looking for pike. We saw a couple but they didn't seem interested in any off my lures, even the deerhair mouse. Combining a canoe trip with fishing also doesn't seem to work well for us...
    As we were heading back we started to notice a fair number of "smaller" fish swimming over the shoals. At first I thought they were suckers but soon realized they were more likely whitefish. At my Wife's suggestion I gave up on the pike dream and changed terminal tackle to a size 12 leech... A few casts and I felt a good tug. I was pleasantly surprised at the fight the fish gave, even putting a good bend in the 9 wt. I got it to the boat and gently released it. Northern flats fishing... Then the wind came up, the clock ran down and it was time to end the fishing for that trip. No pike, lake trout, or Kathleen river rainbows. Guess I will have to go back...

    Small mouth for a fair sized fish (about 16").

    Click here to enlarge

    The flight back was again easy, and the skies were clear enough for a good view of some of inner coast mountains from the air. Truly amazing country. Stunning mountains with some amazing looking rivers and lakes with no roads in sight. Dream on...

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  3. #2
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    Hey Tangler, great report good to read up on your adventures thanks for sharing!

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    Nice report Tangler. I lived in Whitehorse for 6 years in the 80's and unfortunatley wasn't big into fly fishing at the time. Fished the Kathleen river a few times and fish lake outside of Whitehorse but your report bring us lots of familiar names. I had invites to Tin Cup Wilderness Lodge and Kluane Wilderness lodge on Wellsley Lake and never took the opportunity. I kick myself for that now but plan on making the trip one day. The Yukon is a special place and I return every October for the past 25 years for a weekly trip to Haines, AK for the fall Coho. A few years ago a group of 4 of us landed 45 Coho on a great day on the Chilkoot river system.

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    Mayfly Tangler's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. It is a pretty cool area and I look forward to going again in the not-too-distant future.

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    squanga is a great place to do some fly fishing. one of my favorites great fighting whitefish and some big pike also a river flows into the lake where some great grayling are! If your in whitehorse just go downtown and wade the river running through it caught myself some great rainbows and some lakers in there with the rare pike no grayling yet odd

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    nice pics. i had the privilege of living in yukon for 8 years from '95 to '02. my wife was born and raised there. its a pretty amazing place and i'm itching to go back for a visit, (although i cant say i would want to live there again...those dark winters are brutal). my wife and i spent almost every wknd camping and fishing. many trips to kathleen lake, as well as kusawa, kluane, teslin, marsh, ect. i love how everywhere you go there, every lake has some epic folklore story behind it. and the people are great too. gotta love the close proximity to alaska too...loved those trips to haines, skagway, juneau, fairbanks, ect. yep, i think it's time to pack up the truck and head north for a few weeks!
    "the biggest fan of fly fishing is the worm"

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    That's Awesome trip you had and some nice pictures as well looks so awesome up there .
    Thanks for the post .

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