Pike Flies

Fly Patterns and Tying Flies for Pike

With pike fishing, fly action and color of the materials is only part of the answer to catching them; pike are not selective feeders, but opportunists. They select the prey they know they can catch. So the real issue is to imitate vulnerable behavior, and fly fishers do have one advantage in this department-the actual materials themselves. Make your first, second, and third choices marabou streamers.

The strategies with the fly rod basically parallel those with spinning and baitcasting. That is, early spring (ice out) means slow fishing in shallow water, followed by more aggressive “horizontal” tactics up and down the water column. The third sort of seasonal period is the vertical (or deep, slow horizontal) fishing characteristic of summer, followed by a brief period of fast shallow fishing on structure near deep water.

The second period (May and early June) offers the most reliable fly fishing of the season. Pike hold in water of 3 to 15 feet where they become quite accessible to the fly rodder. Since feeding pike almost always look out of the shallows toward deeper water, the shallow-water fly fisher does well to fish parallel the weedlines and make the fly appear like a disoriented panfish or baitfish. That can mean adding some weight-usually dumbbell eyes or split shot-so that you get a more pronounced drop to the fly.

Northeast pike spend their summers (July and August) in 8-25 feet of water watching schools of forage fish move along the weedlines. They keep a lookout for the individual that seems to drop out or fall back. Many strikes will come, in fact, as the fly drops.

The ultimate in fly rodding for pike is fishing top-water, the best time for which is often between the spring and summer periods. I’ve always had the best results fishing in strips, first a foot, then a yard, and after a pause, steady back to the boat. The trick is to create a wake, and have the hackle feathers or “feet” tripping back to the boat in the fly’s wake. Sometimes pike like the fly in a steady skim, as if it’s a pork rind skittered across the surface.

As with any fishing, the concern should be in achieving a natural presentation. A reasonably light leader in the 10-pound class makes the best choice, as it helps to achieve the free-falling flutter that appeals to pike.

A 7-weight outfit does the trick, though an 8-weight is probably more in line with what most anglers would want. Pike streamers can be good size, and you also want to be able to set the hook with authority. A bigger rod helps handle the pike close to the boat. It’s there that the battle is engaged.

I use a floating line with a 10-foot leader in shallow water; the longer length enhances fly action. At fifteen feet and deeper, I use a sink-tip and a 5-foot leader. Also, pike can bite through monofilament, so use a bite guard.

List of Pike Flies

Barry’s Pike Fly – Black
from Twin Rivers Anglers – the Tying Bench
Barry’s Pike Fly – Chartreuse
from Twin Rivers Anglers – the Tying Bench
Keys Style Pike Fly
Mark Dysinger
Pike Pin Fry
tier: Henk Verhaar
Pike streamer
from globalflyfisher.com
Rubberized Weed Guard Pike Fly
tier: Henk Verhaar
Single Hook Pike Fly
tier: Henk Verhaar
Tandem Pike Fly
tier: Henk Verhaar
Weed Guard Pike Fly
tier: Henk Verhaar

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