What are your open season dates?
Winter Activities – March 1st to April 30th
- Aurora Northern Lights
- Ice Fishing
- Ice Hockey
- X-Country skiing
- Snowmobiling and tobogganing
- Flight Seeing
Summer Activities – June 8th to Sept 30th
- Sport Fishing
- Glamping (Tent Camping) – June 15th to September 15th
- Padding: canoeing, kayaking, peddle boating, paddle boarding, tubing
- Aurora Northern Lights – August 15th to September 30th
- Flight Seeing
What are the pricing terms, cancellation policy and suggested tipping amounts?
Value Added Tax (VAT)
Please add 5% for the federal tax (GST) to the Yellow Dog Lodge fees.
- Our package plans are based on shared occupancy; For single travellers, please add 20% to our packaged plans.
- Children under 5 are free with parental supervision.
- Youth ages 5 to 15 are ½ price.
- Two (2) weeks notice is required when booking the Executive Cabin.
- Yellow Dog Lodge accepts: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Union Pay, Interac, and email banking.
- Foreign prices can fluctuate with exchange rates, all quotes are provided in Canadian Dollars (CAD).
- Air Charter surcharges may be applied based on oversize luggage, fluctuations in aviation fuel market prices and government taxes.
- A 30% deposit is required to confirm your booking.
- Full payment of the fees are due 30 days prior to the client’s arrival date.
- The deposit is refundable if cancelled within 24 hours of booking, after 24 hours, the deposit is non refundable.
- 100% of the fees will be retained if the client cancels within 30 days prior to arrival.
- If emergency cancellations or extenuating circumstances prevail, refunds or credits will be at the sole discretion of Yellow Dog Lodge.
Suggested Gratuities or Tipping
Gratuities are not included on your final invoice. Our policy is “Tipping is whatever you feel is appropriate”. However it is customary to leave a few dollars for our staff.
- Gratuities are $30 per day, per guest for our kitchen and housekeeping staff.
- Gratuities for guided tours are $100 per day for your guide.
- General Rule: Tipping is considered OPTIONAL, however the accepted practice is: the total tip should be 10% of total invoice based on our customer’s experience.
How do I get to Yellow Dog Lodge?
There are no roads to Yellow Dog Lodge!
Our trips to Yellow Dog Lodge begin in Yellowknife. We are a multi activity, off grid wilderness lodge.
In the summer, you have to charter a float plane (or we can for you) to come and visit us. We are located 55 kilometers by air over rough terrain, water and swamps and the only way to visit during the summer is by aircraft. This flight is 20 mins from Yellowknife. We have a prefered air charter that we can book for you.
In the winter and early spring, you have the option to travel the un-groomed trails by snow machine or UTV. Special arrangements can be made with Yellow Dog Lodge to provide snow machine transportation and a guide who knows the route. It takes about 3.5 hours one way on a snowmobile over 80 kilometers of trails. Winter Trail System.
For our international travellers, you will have to clear customs at a major port or airport before traveling to Yellowknife. The most popular Canadian international airports are: Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa. Please check with the commercial airlines for their scheduled flights to Yellowknife.
For the road traveler, it is about 15 hours door to door from Edmonton, Alberta on a paved highway to Yellowknife. Take care when driving as there are not many fuel stops north of High Level, Alberta. Edmonton to Yellowknife.
What are the luggage and weight restrictions on the charter airplane?
The charter aircraft (Bush Planes) are small and cannot carry a great deal of luggage. So we ask that you restrict personal gear to 50 lbs (20 kgs) or less. Size of the luggage should also be reasonable. Do not bring oversize luggage or you may be faced to leave them behind or incur additional air charter fees. Oversize luggage such as one piece fishing rods can get broken, so please select your fishing gear with that in mind. We have a variety of fishing rods and tackle at the lodge if you break or forget to bring your own.
|Type of Bush Plane on Floats or Skis||Maximum Passengers||Maximum Payload||Estimated Cost Per Aircraft (one Way)||Optimal Cost per Passenger (if Aircraft is full)|
|Cessna 185 Skywagon||3||800 lbs or 360 kg passengers and luggage||$525||$175|
|deHavilland Beaver DHC-2||5||1,200 lbs or 545 kg passengers and luggage||$788||$158|
|Cessna 208 Caravan||8||2,200 lbs or 1,000 kg passengers and luggage||$1,379||$172|
|deHavilland Single Otter DHC-3||9||2,400 lbs or 1,100 kg passengers and luggage||$1,500||$167|
|deHavilland Twin Otter DHC-6||18||3,000 lbs or 1,360 kg passengers and luggage||$2,966||$165|
Weather conditions can delay the bush plane departures. Yellow Dog Lodge and our air charter service provider will do our utmost to accommodate our clients, however, due to weather conditions being beyond our control, we are not responsible for additional costs incurred by guests.
What should I bring?
- Vital medications
- Passports (if crossing into and out of Canada)
- A good quality rain suit
- Waterproof footwear
- Quality polarized sunglasses (to see the fish with)
- Puffer vest, turtleneck or chamois shirts
- Windbreaker or medium jacket (for early spring or fall)
- Bug or screen jacket or hat (for early summer season)
- Wool socks
- Waterproof gloves
- Dry bag for the boat in case of inclement weather
- Insect Repellent and Sunblock
- Camera, film, video camera, extra batteries
- Short pants (mid summer season)
- Swim Wear
- Long sleeved shirts
- Long pants
- Fishing Tackle
- Fishing Reels
- Fishing Rods (we have rods at the lodge)
- Old tennis shoes (for wading)
- Neoprene waders (optional)
- Portable fish finders (optional)
It is best to dress in layers, as the sun warms the lake and land it is good to peel off the outer layers. Temperature and wind conditions can vary greatly so “be prepared” and bring good quality warm clothing and protection from the insects and sun.
Do you rent winter clothing?
Yellow Dog Lodge does not offer winter clothing for rent.
My BackYard Tours in Yellowknife has a great rental selection of winter Parkas, Snow Pants, Boots, Mitts and Hats. They will deliver to the charter airports or your Yellowknife Hotel. You may find their website here.
Yellow Dog Lodge offers a limited selection of clothing for sale like T shirts, ball caps, vests and jackets. It is best to dress in layers; as the sun warms the lakes and land, it is good to peel off the outer layers.
Temperature and wind conditions can vary greatly so “be prepared” and bring good quality warm clothing and protection from the elements.
What is the weather like?
The Northwest Territories has a relatively dry, cold climate, with long winters and warm summers drenched in sunlight. Temperatures can range from highs of +30 °C (85 °F) in summer to –40 °C (-40 °F) in winter.
South of the Arctic Circle, during the Summer months, the sun rises early in the morning and sets late at night with 20 hours of daylight. On June 20, north of the Arctic Circle, the sun does not set below the horizon in Summer.
This is truly the Land of the Midnight Sun.
|Key Day||Sunrise Time||Sunset Time||Total Daylight (hours)||Comments|
|20-Mar||7:32:00 AM||7:48:00 PM||12:16||Vernal Equinox|
|15-Apr||6:04:00 AM||9:07:00 PM||15:03||YDL Winter Aurora Viewing Ends|
|20-Jun||3:30:00 AM||11:45:00 PM||20:15||Summer Solstice|
|15-Jul||4:11:00 AM||11:12:00 PM||19:01||Mid Summer|
|15-Aug||5:39:00 AM||9:41:00 PM||16:02||YDL Fall Aurora Viewing Begins|
|22-Sep||7:23:00 AM||7:29:00 PM||12:06||Autumnal Equinox|
|21-Dec||10:11:00 AM||2:57:00 PM||4:46||Winter Solstice|
|Month||Average High °C||Average Low °C||Monthly Average °C|
What are the bugs like?
On the water – for the most part the bugs leave you alone.
During June and the first part of July, the mosquito’s are at their height. The mosquito’s thin out after July 15.
Black flies are not too bad, but they can be annoying. Black fly season is later in the year from later August to mid September. Sunrise and sunset and after or before a rain are the most active times.
Fortunately if you’re on the water, bugs aren’t an issue. On land, during certain times in the summer, they can be formidable, but with appropriate insect repellent or a good bug hat or jacket your trip will be enjoyable.
Horse and deer flies are out during mid summer when the temperature is at it’s warmest and the wind is calm.
Bring good ‘Deep Woods’ bug repellent and a bug jacket or bug hat for those hikes in the woods. We have plenty of bug hats for those evenings you want to take a hike in the backwoods for those fabulous pictures of the Lodge.
What do the fish bite on?
Each angler that visited us seemed to have their own preferences and all seemed to do equally well. The local fishermen regularly use a bait harness for catching lake trout. Using 7 inch frozen cisco seemed to be typical. A variety of large spoons and plugs were also used.
Early season to mid summer the Lake Trout can be caught right off or decks or docks, and are abundant throughout the lakes. Catches of 20 to 30 fish per day per person are common. Lake Trout are sensitive to weather, sunlight and temperature.
Bring your favorite lures with you or we would be happy to supply you with what you need.
When the water temperature warms to 60 °F the trout will go deeper and jigs and buzz bombs are the best lures, however trout will eat a cisco (lake herring) trolled, use a 4 oz or 6 oz slip weight to get the bait down deeper. When the water temperature drops below 58 °F the trout run shallower. Late August and September is when you will get the largest size. You can see hundreds of them in the channel between the 2 lakes. They are hungry and will eat just about anything.
Northern Pike are best fished in the early summer when they are concentrated in the shallows, when you can see them and the weeds have not yet grown to the surface. There is nothing more exciting when you can see a “40 inch torpedo” heading for your lure. Once summer heats up the pike are more dispersed and can be caught in deeper water. Pike fight like heck and when aggressive will actually jump out of the water to strike a lure and tail walk across the surface. We have seen tackle if left unattended go overboard with a pike on the end dragging the rod through the weeds.
Don’t forget the fly-fishing opportunities as Arctic Grayling are readily available in the area, actually right off the dock beside the lodge! These grayling are beautiful and fun to catch. They are very powerful for their size and can be caught on small spinners on and flies. If you are not careful you can hook into a pike feeding on the grayling. Then you are in for a treat, pike on light tackle with no leader!
Walleye are caught in our remote fly out lakes; Barker and Johnston. These lakes are a short 10 min flight from the lodge and are best fished in the early summer (June, July) and late season (September). These fish are easily caught on rubber tail jigs and crankbaits.
Recommended Fishing Rod Combinations and Tackle
- 6′ 6″ or taller medium heavy casting rod and reel with 12-20 lb. test mono line (Northern Pike)
- 6′ or taller medium light – medium spinning rod and reel with 10-17 lb. test mono or low stretch lines like fire wire (Lake Trout)
- 5′ Ultra-light spinning rod and reel with 2-6 lb. test line (Arctic Grayling)
- 9-10 weight fly rod with floating line (Northern Pike)
- 4-6 weight fly rod outfit with floating line (Arctic Grayling)
Northern Pike Steel leaders are a must for pike:
- 9-12″ 30-65 lb. test wire leaders with ball bearing bushing swivels or titanium leaders with cross lock snap swivels
- Crank baits, husky jerks, Bomber Long A
- Len Thompson #2 or Red Devil spoons, green & black froggy, black and white, five of diamonds
- 6″ Slug-O, Pork-O, Johnson Silver Minnow, plastic frogs
- Red Eyes, Rapalas, Spinnerbaits, Spooks
- Bucktails, Flippin Jigs, Trailers
- Mepps / Bluefox spinners, giant killers
- Streamers – Bunny, Popper, Deceivers
Lake Trout Tied directly to line or snap swivel:
- Wolverine spoons, pearl & red, pearl & black
- Lucky Strike lures, red and silver, black and white, 5 diamonds, canoe spoons
- Len Thompson #2 platinum series, silver and nickel blue, black and white, green and black, 5 diamonds
- T60 flatfish silver, silver and blue, black with silver fleck
- Kitimat Lures: blue & silver, fire tiger
- Williams wobblers: silver, gold, gold & silver
- Rapalas: super shads, suspending, blue and pearl, fire tiger, green and silver
- Luhr Jensen rattling J plugs, silver, fire tiger, glow torpedo
- Bait harnesses for 6” ciscos
- Buzz Bombs, 4 oz cod jigs, 1 to 2 oz jigs with white tubes or rubber tail worms
Arctic Grayling & Lake Whitefish Tied directly to line:
- Mepps, Panther Martin or Blue Fox in #00 or #0 (assorted colors)
- Small spoons (assorted colors)
- Dry flies: mosquitos, may flies, midges
- Nymphs: bead heads, muddler minnows
- Clousers; polar bear hair
- Terrestrials: hoppers, crickets
- 1/16th oz jigs with rubber tail
How big are the fish and how many can I catch?
We have an abundance of fish on both Graham and Duncan lakes. Our guests regularly reel in Northern Pike up to 50 inches, Grayling up to 22 inches and Lake Trout in the 35 lbs range.
Northern Pike are best caught in the early summer just after ice out and the spawn has been completed. You will often find them in the shallow bays waiting in ambush for their prey. This is the best time as you can hunt for the big ones and watch the aggressive pike smash the top water lures at every opportunity. Pike are a lot of fun for the fly fisher persons as the pike will generally “stalk” their prey and take a streamer that is fished on top of the water. Later in the year they disburse into deeper or flowing water looking for larger forage such as suckers and grayling. The pike are less concentrated but still can be caught in the shallow bays on sunny days.
We have two rivers and several smaller lakes that we fish for the pike. Spend a day catching these fish and you will be amazed how fast the day goes by. Expect to catch lots and big ones too!
The average weight for a Lake Trout in early summer in the 5 to 7 pound range, with many caught in the 10 lb to 20 lb range. In the fall the lake trout fishing gets even better with the average lake trout caught is about 2 lbs heavier than in the early summer. The current Lodge record is 47 lbs caught in July 2002. In September, you may even catch a glimpse of spawning trout after dark in the channel between the 2 lakes. You will see hundreds of spawning pairs so thick that you could almost walk across their backs. It is fun to take a flashlight or under a full moon watch these fish as they go through there reproduction phase.
Walleye average 3 lbs but catches of up to 10 lbs have been recorded. These are the farthest north walleye found in Canada. The cold lakes and short growing season have limited the walleye growth, but catches of up to 100 fish per person have been recorded. These are easy fish to catch and all you need is a rubber tail jig or minnow tipped hook and you will be assured to catch a satisfactory number of walleye. Pike are generally mixed in with the walleye so be prepared to lose a few pike due to their teeth gnashing the line. Generally we do not use wire leaders for walleye, but if you have to tie on some heavy mono to prevent the pike from taking your bait.
Arctic Grayling is the other popular sport fish in the lake. Often found in the McRae River and the channel at the Lodge, these fish will rise to a fly or pursue a small spinner. Grayling are found on the lakes in rocky areas and are pound for pound the fiercest fighting fish in the lake. Use ultra light spinning gear or fly fishing gear to catch these beautiful sailfish of the North. Early summer is the best time to catch these fish, but you can catch these fish all summer long.
It is not uncommon to for a person experience daily catches of 10 to 20 trout per person. Top that off with another 20 to 30 pike and a 6 grayling you will have a fine day of fishing at Yellow Dog Lodge.
We’re happy to take you for shore lunch, but we encourage catch and release. Let them go and let them grow. You will have even more fun catching them again next year when they are bigger.
Do you sell fishing licenses?
We sell Northwest Territories licenses at the lodge. If you are between the ages of 16 and 65, you must carry an NWT fishing license with you every time you go fishing. Licenses are available at the lodge and from most hardware and sporting goods stores in nearly all communities, from fishing lodges, or from regional offices of the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, Government of the Northwest Territories.
Fishing License Fees vary according to where you live:
- NWT Resident: Season $10
- Canadian Resident: Season $20 *3-day $15
- Non Canadian Resident: Season $40 *3-day $30.
* A 3-day license is valid for 3 consecutive days, commencing on the date stated on the license. GST is added to all fees. The length of license (number of days) and fees are subject to change.
Do you sell bait and tackle?
If you forget your own lures we have a variety of lures, bait, fishing gear, and apparel for sale at the Lodge. We have limited selection in stock but we do carry the most popular lures and bait harnesses used in the lakes. Frozen ciscoes (lake herring) are also available for sale.
So if you run out, or just don’t want to pack any more equipment in, just ask us and we will be glad to help out.
What kind of fish are there in the lakes?
Arctic Grayling – the sailfish of the north! Most beautiful of all northern species.
These fish are elusive in the summer but can be caught with spring and fly fishing gear throughout the fishing season. They are best fished in Spring, just after ice out. Often found running with White Sucker in the streams.
The Arctic Grayling occur primarily in cold waters of mid-sized to large rivers and lakes, returning to rocky streams to breed. The various subspecies are omnivorous, crustaceans, insects, and fish eggs and larvae forming the most important food items; larger individuals feed on adult fish and even small aquatic mammals, such as water voles, while the immature fish feed on zooplankton, including insect larvae.
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 colorful dorsal fins; the fins are also used to brace receptive females during the vibratory release of milt and roe. As these fishes are non guarders, 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 fry grow quickly during their first year or two of life.
Lake Trout – the most abundant sport fish in the lakes. Lake Trout is not a trout but is actually classified as a char – the lodge record weighing in at almost 47 lbs.
The Lake Trout is a slow growing fish; it is also very late to mature. Lakers, as they are commonly called, can be caught trolling, spin fishing or jigging. The fish are easily caught and barb less hooks are the way to go. Many a fisherperson has boated more than 30 fish in a single day. You will have fun catching these fish all day long.
Lake Trout are dependent on cold, oxygen-rich waters. They are pelagic during the period of summer stratification in dimictic lakes. Lakers can be found spawning in the channel between the two lakes in late August to late September.
Northern Pike – the most exciting fish to catch.
Pike 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.
Walleye – sometimes called pickerel.
Walleye are found in both, Johnston and Barker Lakes, a short 10 minute float plane ride from the lodge. Walleye are light sensitive and prefer these tea stained lakes. They can be most readily caught in June and September, but also in less numbers during July and August.
Walleye range from shallow 5 to 10 feet in the Spring, to deeper 10 to 25 foot depths during the Summer when the water warms. Cool cloudy days are the best fishing days.
The Walleye catches range anywhere from 20 fish to over 100 fish per day and average size is from 4 to 5 lbs.
Whitefish – usually caught in September.
The reclusive lake Whitefish prefers to swim in the company of a school of fellow Whitefish in the gloomy, cool water at depths of up to 200 feet and deeper as Summer’s heat climbs, the main reason it requires extra skill to catch one. The Whitefish spawns in Fall and early Winter in shallow rock or sand bottomed lake waters less than 25 feet deep. The young hatch the following Spring, and grow large enough to leave the protective shallows for deeper waters by early summer.
Whitefish generally grow slowly, but this varies by region and food supply. Lake Whitefish can reach a size of more than 10 pounds and an age of over 25 years, although this was more commonplace 50 years ago.
Burbot – generally caught in the Winter, through the ice.
The Burbot is often maligned as being too ugly to be worth an angler’s time, however, hidden by its mottled green camouflage is a valuable food and recreational fish. The Burbot is the only representative of the Cod family in fresh water in North America, and like its saltwater relatives, has mild-tasting white flesh. Burbot are distributed in fresh waters throughout the lakes, and occupy most large clear and rivers and many lakes in the area.
Burbot can be caught through the ice in the winter. Burbot can be caught using standard bait fishing techniques with hand-held rod. A 2/0 or 4/0 single hook baited with a chunk of fresh or frozen fish (Cisco or Whitefish) and a sinker located 18 to 24 inches above the hook is a good setup. Cast the bait out and allow the weight to rest on the bottom.
In a river, the bait will move around near the bottom in the current. When a consistent tug is felt, reel in your catch. Cisco – common bait fish in the lake. They usually run in schools and it is common to see balls of these bait fish on the depth finder. When you see these clouds of bait on your depth finder, get ready for some great lake trout action.
White Sucker – usually found in the stream or on sandy bottom, forage fish for Pike.
Suckers are soft-rayed fishes that possess a toothless, protractile mouth with distinctive thick lips. The White Sucker is a bottom feeding fish and spends most of their time in shallow, warm waters. In bays, estuaries and tributary rivers, both species make their homes in holes and areas around windfalls or other underwater obstructions.
White Suckers lay their eggs among pebble and gravel beds in lake and river shallows during the Spring. Maximum life expectancy for White Suckers appears to be 17 years and usually grow to be 12-20 inches long. As youngsters under 12 inches in length, suckers are eaten by Northern Pike, Walleyes and Burbot.
As bottom feeders, both species dine exclusively on aquatic plants, algae, and small invertebrate animals – especially worms and crustaceans.
White Suckers have been accused of consuming large quantities of eggs from more desirable fish species, but there is no conclusive evidence to support this contention.
Can I see wildlife like bears and wolves?
The wildlife seen at the lodge are unpredictable – stay safe and be aware of your escape routes.
Some wildlife that you may encounter are:
- Black Bears
- Otter, Beavers, Mink, Fishers and Muskrats
- Martens, Ermine, Weasels, Wolverines and Porcupines
- Musk Ox have been spotted nearby
- Caribou (in winter only)
- Raptors: Eagles, Owls, Merlin, Night Hawks
- Loons, Mergansers, Ducks, Geese, Swans
- Other birds: Robins, Yellow Finch, Phoebes
Bears and Wolves can be dangerous, but if you follow some guidelines, you can stay safe:
- Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return
- Hike in a group, and keep children close at hand
- Make your presence known (call out) or sing
- Hike during daylight hours & stay on the trail(s)
- Watch for bear signs: scat, claw marks, diggings, logs or stumps torn apart, etc
- Do not leave food or garbage out in the open
All wildlife should always be considered unpredictable and potentially dangerous.
A black bear will usually detect your presence and flee the area before you notice, unless the bear has been conditioned to people and their foods. If a large predator is visible, but not close, alter your route so that you will move away from its area.
If a black bear approaches, do not run. Remain calm, continue facing the bear and slowly back away. If the bear continues to approach, try to group together and pick up small children. Try to scare the bear away by shouting and acting aggressively. If a black bear attacks, it is suggested to fight back using everything in your power fists, sticks, rocks.
- Air Charter flights are provided by a 3rd party contractor.
- Air Charter flights from Yellowknife to the lodge depart around your schedule.
- Air Charter flights from the lodge to Yellowknife depart approximately 3 hours prior to your scheduled commercial flight.
- All children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
- Youth under 16 years of age – receive 50% off the adult rate. There is no charge for children under 5 years of age.
- Group discounts are available, please ask for details.
- NWT Fishing Licenses are available for purchase at the lodge.
- Souvenirs, bait and fishing lures are also available for purchase.
- Full bar service: soda pop, bottled water, beer, wine, spirits, and munchies are available for purchase.
The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) are spectacular to experience, but as a natural phenomena, we cannot control their appearance. Cloud cover may obscure the view or the Aurora may not be active. Aurora forecasts are like Weather forecasts and may not be 100% reliable.
Weather conditions could delay charter plane departures. Yellow Dog Lodge and our air charter service provider will do our utmost to accommodate our clients, however, due to weather conditions being beyond our control, we are not responsible for additional costs incurred by guests.