Laker Taker

This blog post from the trip I did to the Yukon at the beginning of June is long overdue; sometimes life, your job and of course fishing seem to get in the way. We have been long overdue for a blog post to keep our awesome followers well following but here’s to getting back on track.

                If you have never been up to our countries north, go. It is something special that will always remain close to my heart; the scenery, the vast open spaces and solitude just seem to cleanse the soul. Going up to Whitehorse, I had the primary objective of landing a lake trout on my fly rod. Unfortunately due to circumstances I was not able to go after these fish until my last weekend there, but was it ever worth it. We head out to a river system that basically had a lake form from a widening of the river into a huge mud flat. The max depth was maybe 7’ and something extraordinary was that you could follow moose tracks all the way across the entire lake. In a lake virtually void of structure and a unanimous mud bottom, it is almost impossible to find where fish are holding. Cruising the lake we came across schools of whitefish, but nothing with the vermiculations or bright white char fins that we were hunting. At the very end of the lake, the river drained out of a single spot where it once again turned into a river, winding through the wilderness. This was the spot.

                Anchoring up on a flat next to this outflow, we could see fish everywhere; this was going to be good. We caught many 15” grayling but none of the desired char. As I am casting my buddy suddenly stops and turns to me with an almost lost expression; “there’s one under the boat”. That was all I need to know that it was my time to wrangle with a laker. I peeled line off my reel and threw my sculpin pattern out to get ready. No sooner than my fly hit the water, the trout ripped out from under the boat and clobbered my streamer. I saw a flash and disappointment set in for a split second but was quickly overturned and I realized I was hooked in a mean, sculpin killing rainbow. Landing this fish was one of my highlights from the trip as the eat was phenomenal.

                About 20 minutes later my buddy gave me the same look and I knew it was on this time. I dropped my fly to the side of the boat and basically jigged as it fluttered back to the stern in the current. A big head slowly came into my view from under the boat; a big dark hear and white char pectoral fins as it ate my sculpin and the hookset perfect into the side of its mouth. I do not know what came over me but I tried to reel in my line for a fish that was literally 10’ straight below me. As I was fumbling with my reel and forgetting about the fish, I felt a pop and the line went slack. Thank god for the vastness of the Yukon rockies as I am sure only a few moose heard my cursing. I blew my chance on a fish I had been waiting on for two weeks.

                We did not see another laker in the outflow but on our way back up river I did catch one trolling that same sculpin pattern that destroyed big rainbows in the outflow. Sure it was trolling, hell maybe cheating but I did not fly 1600kms to not go home with the memories of the elusive lake trout after the chance I blew previously. We ended up catching a few lakers trolling and at the end of the day we did what need to be done to fulfill the objective.