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Back in the November 1989 issue of The Angling Report (see page 5), I reported on a new fly fishing opportunity in the Yukon Territory that I had discovered while visiting the newly opened Inconnu Lodge (*). It was built next to remote McEvoy Lake amidst an assortment of rivers and lakes about 180 miles northeast of Whitehorse. At the time, the fly-out fishing opportunities in the vicinity of the lodge were just being explored, and while the potential was there for fishing of all types, the operation was still in search of its identity.

The good news now, at least from a fly fisherman’s viewpoint, is that owner Warren LaFave’s plush facility is indeed catering to the long rod set, especially from mid-August through early September. On staff now is Chuck Eubanks – former owner of the Costa Rica-based Madison River Tackle Company – and lodge representative Roy Clark. Both are affable companions and competent anglers who are very familiar with the eight lakes and seven river systems accessed by air on a daily basis from the lodge.

I recently bumped into Clark at a fishing show, and he told me about the new places he’s found during the last couple of years. One of these is the Tillie River, which loads up with beautifully colored pre-spawn lake trout in the three to eight-pound class and which are easy to reach with flies in water only six to 10 feet deep. Clark said he and Eubanks caught 40 lake trout in the Tillie one afternoon using a sculpin pattern fly that Eubanks developed at the lodge.

Clark also says he and Eubanks have located two stretches on the Whitefish River (which connects the three Whitefish Lakes) where anglers can catch plenty of gullible dolly varden up to seven pounds on patterns such as red and white Lefty’s Deceivers. The Whitefish is also loaded with ever-cooperative grayling up to 20 inches. In fact, grayling are found in most of the rivers and streams in the area. There are also a few locations where hefty northern pike are available to fly fishermen. And, finally, sheefish (inconnu) are also on the list, although they are not as cooperative as the others.

Clark and Eubanks use a DHC-2 Beaver and helicopter based at the lodge for their daily fly-outs. Clark says they are using the helicopter more and more to reach places where the fish have never before seen a hook and line. They have boats stashed on some lakes and navigable portions of most rivers, so hiking is kept to a minimum. A strict catch-and-release policy guarantees good fishing every time.

As for fishing tackle, Eubanks recommends an eight-weight rod for the heavy stuff and a two or four-weight for grayling. You’ll need a dry line as well as a sink-tip and an assortment of nymphs such as stone flies and large Hare’s Ears. A variety of dry flies work well on grayling, of course, and last fall Eubanks witnessed lake trout feeding on top during a hatch. He thinks he can figure out how to catch them on dries, too. Regardless, the lodge can furnish rods and reels when needed and the self-contained tackle shop has all the necessary flies on hand.

The facilities, I can say from experience, are excellent and the great food is prepared by a professional chef. After a hard day of fishing anglers can relax in a hot tub overlooking McEvoy Lake. What makes the Yukon special to me, in addition to the excellent fishing, is the solitude, spectacular scenery and the ever present wildlife seen on the way to and from fishing spots. There’s no concentration of grizzly bears to be concerned with, as there is in some parts of Alaska, but there are moose, caribou, Canada geese and other critters to watch nearly every day.

The fall weather, while chilly at night, can be downright pleasant during the day. It does get nasty in the Yukon, of course, but I’ve been to Inconnu twice and I’ve yet to miss a day of fishing because of the weather. As for crowds, there are none, as the only anglers you’ll see during a day are those you flew in with. That alone is worth a lot. Of course, there are no rainbow trout or salmon, but sometimes it pays to broaden one’s horizons and try something different.

This year a five-day trip from Whitehorse runs $2,595 (US) including daily fly-outs, guide service, overnight stays in outpost cabin camps should you want to rough it in the bush for a night or two, and transportation to and from the lodge in a DC-3, as McEvoy Lake is accessible only by air. Flights to Whitehorse can be arranged through Canadian Airlines (*). Other activities that can be arranged include side trips to historic places, heli-hiking, photography and whitewater kayaking and canoeing. For more information on booking a trip, contact Roy Clark (*) or Chuck Eubanks (*). – John R. Higley.

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