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Yukon, The Magic and the Mystery, Larger than Life
Yukon Fishing Adventures in the Southern Lakes Region

Here are the three main species we fish for. There are other fish in the territory which include: Arctic Char, Burbot, Dolly Varden, Inconnu, Kokanee, Bull Trout, Rainbow Trout/Steelhead, Salmon and Whitefish.

Arctic Grayling
Arctic Grayling:

Arctic grayling have a slender body, short head, unusually large eyes, small square shaped mouth, and a greatly enlarged dorsal fin. They may grow as large as 24 inches long and attain a weight of 5 pounds, but the average Yukon grayling would be less than 20 inches long with a weight under 2 pounds. They are vividly coloured fish, especially during the spawning period. The adult grayling have a dark purplish blue back and purplish grey sides with scattered black spots. The large dorsal fin with its rows of orange or emerald green spots edged with orange give the Arctic grayling male an iridescent peacock coloration. Terrestrial insects form the larger part of their diet, but they also feed on bottom nymphs, snails, small fish and eggs.

The Arctic grayling is a species of freshwater fish in the salmon family. It comprises five subspecies.

Spawning takes place in the spring, when the fish seek the shallow areas of rivers with fine sand substrate and moderate current. The males then establish individual territories and court the females by flashing their colourful dorsal fins; the fins are also used to brace receptive females during the vibratory release of milt and roe. As these fishes are nonguarders, the eggs are left to mix with the substrate. Although the graylings do not excavate nests, the highly energetic courtship and mating tends to kick up silt and cover the eggs. The eggs are small (approximately 3 mm in diameter) and hatch after two to three weeks. The hatched larvae remain in the substrate until they reach a length of around 12–18 mm (0.5–0.7 in), at which time they form shoals at the river margins. The fry grow quickly during their first year or two of life.

Lake Trout
Lake Trout:

In exterior colouring, lake trout vary from almost black to greyish or very light green with light coloured, irregular shaped spots. Similarly, there are variations in the colour of the flesh - from deep red to pale ivory. These differences are probably determined in part by heredity and in part by environment. Their main food is fish although smaller aquatic organisms are also eaten. Spawning occurs in the fall. Lake trout are sport fish as well as important commercially. Growth is quite slow in most water bodies in the Yukon yet twenty to thirty pound fish are not uncommon. Those living in large lakes usually grow to a larger size than those in smaller bodies of water. They will take the hook in fly fishing, with artificial lures, as well as some baits.

From a zoogeographical perspective, lake trout are quite rare. They are native only to the northern parts of North America, principally Canada but also Alaska and, to some extent, the northeastern United States.

Northern Pike
Northern Pike:

The Northern Pike is a carnivorous fish of brackish and freshwaters of the northern hemisphere. It is also known by the somewhat misleading folk-name, "Water Wolf."
Northern pikes are most often olive, shading into yellowish or whitish on belly with short, light barlike spots on body and some dark spots on the fins. The lower half of their gill cover lacks scales and they have large pores on their head and lower jaw. Unlike the similar-looking Muskellunge, the Northern pike has light markings on a dark body background and less than six pores on the underside of its jaw.

Pike grow to a relatively large size: lengths of 150 cm and weight of 25 kg are not unheard of. A non-metric measurement estimates the size of the Northern Pike as usually over 1' and running to over 4', with a weight of 50 pounds.

Pikes are found in sluggish streams and shallow, weedy places in lakes, as well as in cold, clear, rocky waters. The pike generally hides in wait for prey, holding perfectly still for long periods, and is then capable of remarkable acceleration, sometimes propelling it a meter into the air (though it rarely leaves the surface). It catches its prey sideways with its sharp teeth, in order to kill it, before turning lengthwise to swallow. It eats mainly fish, but on occasion water voles and ducklings have also been known to fall prey to pike. It is moreover a cannibal and this cannibalism serves in maintaining stability in the pike population. Young pike have been photographed eating pike of a similar size. Northern Pike also feed on others of their kind, insects, and leeches. It has a tremendous appetite.

Releasing pikes into lakes where it has previously been unknown often has a significant impact on the local ecosystem. Trout populations in particular tend to drop dramatically.

Whilst a worthy adversary for any rod and line fisherman, pike are often caught and released by fishermen since its flesh is bone-filled. However, the larger fish can be filleted. Pike have very white, mild flesh, and are considered one of the best tasting freshwater fish. When eating pike, be sure to chew carefully, as their "y-bones" are not always easily visible.

Fishing for pike is very exciting with their explosive hits and aerial acrobatics. The pike are some of the biggest freshwater fish.

The Northern Pike gets its name from its North American habitat and its resemblance to the pole-weapon known as the pike.

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