There is nothing like watching a trophy northerns chase your twelve inch fly from out of the bank, open it’s giant mouth and inhale your fly. They can grow up to 50 inches and weight almost 40 pounds and are extremely aggressive fish. I still remember my first pike trip and how it changed my life. I was suddenly tying twelve inch flies, buying new eight weights, and counting down the day until I could go back and chase these epic predators.
Trophy Northern Pike fishing in Canada, is an experience that every angler needs to put on their buck list. From the bush plane in, to the remote lakes and rivers that these giants live at, it’s truly and experience of a lifetime. If you time it right and the water temps are in your favor you can literally sight fish to many trophy pike in one day.
In this article I’ll go over what you need to chase northern pike on the fly. What time of year, the equipment needed, where to go, where to find them, your fly choices, your leader selections, and why many anglers go year after year to chase these prehistoric predators.
Time of year for pike on the fly
Generally when trying to find pike on the fly your best bet is going to be in the early spring, and again in the fall. This is due to the fact the pike spend most of their summer months deep in the lakes and are unreachable to the fly fisherman. Timing can be almost everything when pike fishing.
Pike are considered to be a cold water fish, and they thrive in fifty-five to sixty-five degree water. So during the spring, after the ice has come off the lakes in upper Canada the pike will be on the feed. This is generally in late May and the month of June. The shallow bays of the lake will become active when the water temps are right, and the trophy northerns will be looking to feed, before they start to spawn.
Again in the fall, September through October as water temps are falling you will find Northern Pike in the shallows looking to feed. These are petty much the only times of year you’ll have a legit chance to throw flies at northern pike. Catching them on the right day can be some of the most exciting fishing you will ever have.
Equipment for northern pike
Getting the right gear for your pike fishing is an essential, and you should make sure you have at least an eight weight fast action rod. Having some warm clothes is always a must as well because in the spring and fall in upper Canada the weather can change drastically through out the day.
Having a good floating fly line and also a good sink tip line is also something that I would highly recommend. Some days the fish will be sitting up against the banks. The floating line will be needed to keep your fly in the water but out of the weeds. If their sitting off the drop the sink tip line will help you to get the fly down quickly and into their zone.
I also like having a seven weight rod with me incase the big girls are no where to be found as the smaller pike will be more prevalent, and are more fun to fight on a seven weight. I know some guys that bring a ten weight as well for longer casts and to help bring the trophies in faster.
Where to go to find the beasts
There are more lakes then you can go to in a lifetime in Canada, but your best bet for trophy pike, is probably in northern Ontario. Most of these lakes are very remote and require a bush planes to access. Renting a boat when you arrive is always the best option and at relatively cheap price this is the best way to hunt for trophy pike on the fly.
They have some great lakes in southern Alberta as well, and these lakes are much easier to access. You can fish from the bank in any of these lakes but having a boat will give you a huge advantage and will allow you to cover a vast amount of water.
Fly choices and leaders
Fly choice is always a factor when you decided to go chasing pike I like to bring a very big selection of different flies. Pike will go for anything from a three-inch woolly bugger to twelve inch pink and purple dragon slayers. So having a big selection of flies is always a bonus. Most years tho I find that they end up going for black or darker flies on cloudy days, and your brighter color stuff on sunny days.
Also, if you know that the lake your fishing in has perch or crappie matching their colors is always a good bet. If the water temps are right tho and they are on the feed they will eat just about anything you throw at them so don’t be afraid to switch thing up.
Running a wire leader is essential when fishing for pike. I normally bring ten pound, up to twenty pound wire bite. Pike have so many teeth that one head shake and they will rip right through mono and florou so make sure you don’t forget to bring your wire bite.
Tugs that bring you back every year
Pike fishing has been overlooked for years in the sport of fly fishing, and I’m not sure why, it could be one of the most exciting species you can throw a fly at. They tug very hard once hooked, and the bite could be one of the coolest things I’ve ever witnessed. If you have the time get yourself up to Canada and chase some pike.
As always if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask, thanks for the read and get out their and find yourself a pike.