When you are going northern fly fishing with your fly fishing rod, which pike fishing flies and pike tackle is not that important. Personally, I prefer to fish with a fiver-sixer rod but before you begin it is important to use a trace. I usually attach a common wire trace of a half-rod length with 0.4 mm line. There is also a pure kevlar trace on 5 meter reels which is smooth and fine. You will find kevlar steel a bit stiffer because it has a thin wire inside, both of different thicknesses. 90% of the time the pike takes the fly gently and usually gets hooked in the lip.
It is then up to you to “steer” the fish so it does not swallow the line further inside the mouth. The flies can vary from smaller streamers to large tube flies. A variant is to use a floating fly and fish with sinking line. It is preferable to use a boat, but keep in mind some lakes have boat restrictions so it is a good idea to first check local restrictions for the lake.
As long as the water is free of ice, one can fly fish for pike any time of the year, finding pike in hiding places such as weeds, trees and other vegetation. An advantage to having a boat is that one can put down their anchor on the outside of the pike’s hiding place and throw their line in the weeds. On a side note, I have experienced that the pike prefer my lugworm imitation which is an all-around fly which can not only be used to catch pike, but also salmon, sea trout, mackerel, perch, cod, trout and many others – but back to the fishery. You of course have to take the season in consideration. If it is early spring, the pike are in deeper water so it is no use throwing against weeds. Instead, put on one or two sinkers and fish in 10 or more feet of water.
Later, when the water temperature rises to 10-14 degrees Celsius you can begin fishing in the shallows and in the edge of the weeds. From here, throw the northern fly in to the weed-edge and jerk it with some longer and shorter pauses. The pike will either take it with a splash or they will be very discrete. It is here that the hooking is very important. If you were unlucky and did not get the fly hooked in the lip, it can be hard to get it attached anywhere in the fish’s mouth. Considering you have rather bendable tackle for northern pike fishing you have to put some power in to get it hooked. After this is done it is important to have the pike in deeper water, or else it will go straight to the bottom and get stuck, which can be very frustrating if it is a big pike. Because the pike is a great fighter, it is insanely fun to get it on a pike fly, even if it is only 2.2lbs (4.4kg) since the small pike are actually livelier than the larger ones. You will certainly have some struggles in the fight since the pike has great strength and energy.
When the pike is tired and it comes easily to the boat side or water’s edge, it can still explode in anger when it sees you. Suddenly and from out of nowhere it may give you the biggest fight you have experienced. When the fish is visible in the water, it is very important to see how the pike fly is attached so you know how you should steer the fish. Remember to bring a big telescopic landing net to help get the fish out of the water. If you have completely exhausted the fish it is crucial to hold it under water and “pump” it back and forth until it begins to swim by itself. This is important or else it may sink to the bottom and die of oxygen shortage. (Don’t forget to watch your fingers in any pike fishing ).
Follow these guidelines when you are out doing northern fly fishing and your chances are good to land some nice pike.