Skip to main content

COVID Message

The NWT is open to leisure travel. See information on COVID-19 travel guidelines

Whati falls in the Northwest Territories

Whatì

Whatì

This Tłįchǫ Dene community of roughly 500 is set on the eastern shore of the pristine Lac La Martre. The third-largest lake in the Northwest Territories, Lac La Martre is full of monster pike and giant trout, which makes Whatì a renowned trophy fishing destination.

Only a short distance from Yellowknife, this North Slave community features abundant wildlife and gorgeous scenery. Whatì is situated along migration routes for many North American bird species, so each spring and fall the area welcomes thousands of ducks, geese and other migratory birds. 

In addition to the incredible wildlife, another stunning highlight of Whatì are the twin spillways of the Whatı̀ Waterfall. Be sure to bring your rod and reel on the short drive out to the falls; beneath their thundering cascades the churning rapids are a prime fishing spot for grayling. 

The name “Whatì” translates to “Marten Lake” in Tłı̨chǫ Yatıì. It’s the same meaning as the French name, Lac La Martre, that this community was previously known as until 1996. This area has long been a traditional hunting ground of the Tłįchǫ Dene. The North West Company established a trading post here in the late 1700s, though it closed in 1817. A new trading post wasn’t opened for another century.

These days, Whatì is home to the Mezi Community School (originally constructed in 1955), fishing lodges, a B&B and a motel. Visitors looking to experience some world-class fishing and wildlife watching can easily reach Whatì via an all-season road from Behchoko on the Tłįchǫ Highway (Highway 9) which opened in November 2021. 

Whati waterfalls in Whati in the Northwest Territories A float plane Lac La Martre (lake) in Whati in the NWT - photo credit Ed Hardy.JPG Dene drummers Arial view of the community of Whati in the Northwest Territories
A collection of images for Whatì

Get our Free Spectacular Guide

Is the Northwest Territories on your must-see list? Order or download our free Spectacular Guide to plan your trip of a lifetime.