Before the Lewes Dam was constructed south of whitehorse, ice on Lake Laberge was always frozen hard long after the Yukon River was clear. Every spring, river passengers and freight waited in Whitehorse, or travelled over the frozen Lake Laberge to wait at Lower Laberge at the northern end. The larger sternwheelers could not travel the Thirty Mile stretch of the Yukon River during the spring low water levels so some of the smaller boats wintered at Hootalinqua and travelled up to Lower Laberge as soon as the ice was gone. Small boats like the Prospector or the Nasutlin, would load the larger boats at Hootalinqua, allowing them to arrive at Dawson City two weeks before Lake Laberge was navigable.

By 1907, nearly all of the steamers on the upper Yukon River belonged to the British Yukon Navigation Company but there were still a few independent boats.

The steamer Quick was purchased in 1905 by Teslin trader who used it to move freight and passengers from Hootalinqua up the Teslin River to Teslin Lake.

The little Quick took most of the freight for the mining community of Livingstone up the Teslin River to the trailhead at Mason's Landing.


Captain Frank Slim (Tsenedhäta) was the first Yukon First Nation captain to receive his pilot's licence. In 1937, he was ticketed for all boats and sternwheelers, to a maximum of 1500 tons, on all the navigable rivers of the northern British Columbia and Yukon, Captain Slim was born at Marsh Lake and was one the last speakers of the Tagish language.When he was not on the boats Frank and his Ta'an Kwach'an wife, Aggie Broeren, lived a traditional life, hunting, fishing, and trapping in the Lake Laberge area