Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Heritage Sites

Welcome to Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Heritage Sites, an online resource dedicated to exploring our history and culture.

Forty Mile: Grayling

Chief Isaac ice-fishing for grayling, ca. 1900.

Chief Isaac ice-fishing for grayling, ca. 1900.

Yukon Archives #3867, MacBride Museum Coll.
Simon McLeod holding a stringer of grayling, 1938.

Simon McLeod holding a stringer of grayling, 1938.

Yukon Archives, Claude and Mary Tidd fonds, #7300

At Fortymile, there were good fat grayling. They’re hard, not soft like some other places. I don’t like soft fish.

Mary McLeod, 1974

The Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) is called srejil in the Hän language. This fish is fairly common in Yukon streams and lakes. While it has been known to grow up to almost 4 kg, the average weight is under 1 kg. The flesh of the grayling is light and mild in flavour. As the grayling spawn in the spring, they would be present in significant numbers at the mouth of the Forty Mile River just at the end of winter. The Hän from the Forty Mile and Dawson area gathered here in spring to catch fresh fish, usually through the ice using a line and hooks.

We used to go up from Eagle to Forty Mile area. At the mouth, we used to go grayling fishing too – in the spring time. Bunch of dog teams go up there…just use a rod – fish at the mouth. Chop a hole right through the ice.
Silas Stevens, 2005