If you could only wet a line for one species of fish in your home province or territory, what would it be? That’s the question we asked ourselves at Outdoor Canada when selecting our 2019 Canadian fishing hot spots. For more bucket-list species and hot spots, see our complete list.
THE YUKON: ARCTIC GRAYLING
Arctic grayling in the Yukon
Why this is one of Canada’s must-have fishing experiences
For a fish that most Canadian anglers have never caught, and perhaps never even heard about, Arctic grayling certainly inhabit a vast swath of our north country. These are frontier fish, found in countless cold-water lakes, rivers and streams, from Hudson Bay west to the Pacific Ocean, and north from the tips of B.C. and the Prairie provinces to the Arctic Ocean. And if anywhere typifies the places that grayling call home, it’s the Yukon.
Members of the Salmonidae family, Arctic grayling are not giant fish, typically weighing less than two pounds and measuring no more than 16 inches in length. But what they lack in size, they more than make up for in appearance. With their oversized dorsal fins and vibrant iridescent colouring, they’re truly magnificent to behold. And equal to their stunning visual appeal is their taste—a shorelunch of fresh-caught Arctic grayling is a must on any angler’s agenda when visiting the Land of the Midnight Sun.
The best part about grayling, however, is their abundance and willingness to bite, often grabbing flies or small lures dangling in the current as you prepare to cast. They’re surprisingly tough fighters for their small stature, too, making for great sport—and a truly unique northern fishing experience.
WHEN TO GO: June to September
HOT TACTIC: Drift a 1/16th-ounce brown jig and black curly tail grub beneath a float