Fishing in stocked lakes

  • About Yukon's stocked lakes
  • Where to find Yukon's stocked lakes
  • ​How to catch fish in stocked lakes
  • ​Stocked fish species
  • ​Your role in fisheries management
  1. About Yukon's stocked lakes

    The Government of Yukon has released hundreds of thousands of fish into pothole lakes for the enjoyment of Yukon anglers for the past 30 years. You need a valid Yukon fishing licence to fish in a stocked lake.

    Stocked lakes provide anglers with the opportunity to fish for species not normally available, including:

    • Arctic char
    • Kokanee salmon
    • Rainbow trout

    Stocked lakes also help take the pressure off slow-growing native fish such as lake trout.

    The catch and possession limits are more liberal for some species of stocked fish. Check the Yukon fishing regulations summary for details.

  2. Where to find Yukon's stocked lakes

    Most stocked lakes are easy to reach. You can drive to the shoreline of many of them; a few require a short walk on trails no longer than 1 km. Access roads are not maintained through the winter but hard-packed snowmobile trails usually provide easy access for ice fishing.

    See the Anglers' Guide to Yukon Stocked Lakes for maps and directions to the stocked lakes listed below.

    Stocked lakes in Whitehorse area

    • Hidden Lakes - rainbow trout, kokanee
    • Chadden Lake - rainbow trout, kokanee
    • Long Lake - kokanee
    • Cantlie Lake - Arctic char
    • Scout Lake - rainbow trout, kokanee
    • Judas Lake - rainbow trout
    • Salmo Lake - rainbow trout

    Stocked lakes in Watson Lake area

    • Hour Lake - rainbow trout, kokanee
    • Lucky Lake - rainbow trout, kokanee
    • Rantin Lake- rainbow trout
    • Veronica Lake - kokanee, Arctic char

    Stocked lakes in central Yukon

    • Gloria Lake II- rainbow trout
    • Wrong Lake - rainbow trout
    • Fisheye Lake - rainbow trout, kokanee
    • Coffee Lake - kokanee
    • Whiskers Lake - rainbow trout, Arctic char
    • Haldane Lake - rainbow trout
  3. ​How to catch fish in stocked lakes

    Fishing in stocked lakes requires different gear and techniques than you might use for lake trout or pike.

    Tips for fishing in stocked lakes

    Small lures and flies are best

    Trout, char and kokanee mostly feed on small insects, crustaceans and the occasional small fish. Fly fishing is particularly effective in catching rainbow trout because they feed on adult insects on the water's surface. Arctic char can occasionally be caught on streamers and dry flies.

    Light line is best

    Trout, char and kokanee have excellent eyesight and may shy away from your hook if you’re using heavy line. Light line is best, with 6 lb test monofilament a good choice.

    Structure in a lake

    Rock piles, drop-offs, sunken trees and weed beds offer fish places to hide. These are also good feeding areas for fish, with lots of insects, crustaceans and small fish. Try fishing in these areas first.

    Target deep water

    You may find fish close to the surface or in mid-water, but most fish spend their time near the bottom of the lake. In the summer shallow water warms and fish look for deeper, cooler water. Try letting your lure sink down close to the bottom and retrieve it slowly enough that it stays deep.

    Rigs for fishing in stocked lakes

    There are many ways to fish in Yukon’s stocked lakes. These tried and true methods are easy to set up and they work.

    Use bait in deep water

    Trout and char, especially larger fish, often cruise along the bottom looking for food. A good spot to find them is at the deep end of steep drop-offs near shore. An easy way to fish for them is to tie on a small hook, size 4 to 8. Pinch a split shot sinker or two to your line 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 inches) above it.

    If you’re using PowerBait, roll a pea-sized piece into a ball, then put it on your hook. You can also try this with a mini marshmallow! Cast your line out into deeper water, let it sink, then reel in until your line is tight. The sinkers will sit on bottom and the PowerBait or marshmallow will float up where fish can find it. Prop your rod up with a forked stick and wait for a bite.

    Fishing with a bobber

    Trout and kokanee can search for food near the surface. Fish in places near sunken trees or where insects and small fish hide. Use a bobber to keep your bait up where fish can spot it. Tie on a small hook and pinch a split shot sinker or two 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 inches) above it on your line. Then clip a bobber to your line above this. You can slide the bobber along your line to change how far below the surface your bait sits.

    Try putting your bobber 1 metre (40 inches) above your bait, then moving deeper if you don’t have any luck. A good bait for this type of fishing is a piece of cooked shrimp a bit bigger than a pencil eraser. You can also fish with flies this way. Use a sinking bead-head fly instead of bait. Cast your line near sunken trees, rocks or weeds and let the bait or fly sink. Give the line a twitch every so often to make your hook move – it just might trigger a bite!

    Fishing with a spoon or spinner

    Sometimes trout, char and kokanee prefer to chase a moving target. Small spoons and spinners are ideal lures for active fishing. Cast out to deeper water, or next to sunken trees, rocks or weeds and let your lure sink until it’s close to bottom. Reel in just quickly enough to make the spoon or spinner blade spin. Try giving it a little jerk, or pause occasionally. Fish following your spinner might strike when it changes speed.

    Spoons and spinners come in many different colours and patterns. If one doesn't work, try another one. These lures rotate as you reel them in so they can twist your line and make it tangle over time. Tie a small barrel swivel into your line 30 to 60 cm (12– 24 inches) above your lure to prevent this.

    Flashy spoons are considered most effective for arctic char. Ice fishing anglers use spoons and jogs to catch arctic char.

    Watch our video about fishing in stocked lakes

    Watch our YouTube video to learn more about fishing methods for stocked lakes.

  4. ​Stocked fish species

    Arctic char

    • Stocked in Yukon lakes for 20+ years.
    • Can live up to 15 years. They grow slowly after they reach 10 years of age.

    Kokanee salmon

    • These land locked sockeye salmon are identical to their sea-run cousins except for their smaller size. They are about 20 to 40 cm (8 to 16 inches) in length. Both species have bright red flesh.
    • Popular with anglers for their delicious taste.
    • Feed on small aquatic invertebrates and crustaceans. They can be caught using brightly-coloured wet flies or lures fished at or near the bottom.
    • Large schools of Kokanee feed in the shallows of stocked lakes in early June.

    Rainbow trout

    • Stocked in Yukon lakes for 60+ years.
    • Popular with anglers due to its beautiful appearance, vigorous strikes, aggressive fight and great taste.
    • Normal life span is 4 to 6 years but they can live up to 11 years.
    • Rainbows stocked in small potholes seldom reproduce.
  5. ​Your role in fisheries management

    Give your feedback

    Your feedback and comments about fish stocks helps fisheries managers work to make sure Yukon fish stocks are sustainable. Let us know if:

    • you have information on the status of particular lakes or rivers; or
    • You've noticed the fishing is better or worse than it used to be.

    Email fisheries@gov.yk.ca or phone 867-667-5721 or toll free in Yukon: 1-800-661-0408, ext. 5721.

    Get informed

    Have you wondered how the fish in your favourite lake are doing? Or if the fish species you want to catch should be fished lightly or only occasionally? The Government of Yukon report, Status of Yukon Fisheries 2010, provides a comprehensive look at fisheries management issues, threats to fisheries, the value of fishing in Yukon and the health of fish stocks across the territory.

    Managing stocked lakes

    One of the main goals of Yukon's Stocked Lakes Program is to provide positive angling experiences. In 2011 we conducted a survey to learn more about how people use Yukon's stocked lakes. This data and ongoing feedback from anglers helps us manage and improve this program.

    Read the survey report. You can also view the annual stocking records 2006-2016 for each of Yukon's stocked lakes. If you have comments or questions about fishing in stocked lakes, email fisheries@gov.yk.ca or phone: 867-667-5721 or toll free in Yukon: 1-800-661-0408, ext. 5721.