The reasons for fly fishing pike are numerous;
savage strikes that border on malicious, incredible runs of intense
speed, and less fly fishing pressure. Although in many places this last one is changing. The word is out on these wonderful creatures, as the global fly fisher seeks more opportunities to ply their passion.
Pike, widespread throughout Northern North America and Europe, often confused or classified with Muskie, they are much more likely to hit a fly than a Muskie. They do however, require some planning and preparation.
The rod you use should be no lighter than an eight weight and you probably will be happier with a nine or ten weight. You will be casting large flies, and at times fighting wind, which can be your friend in lakes as it ripples the surface. Not to mention you need some heft in your hands for that fight that will be coming.
Targeting pike requires a couple of approaches at least, depending on their depth. Pike
love to sun themselves, and while not usually actively feeding, after
they warm up their metabolism speeds us and here comes the
ferociousness. They start cruising shallows for baitfish. Look for weeds, it all starts there. Weeds hide nymphs, which attract baitfish, which attract pike. For shallows a floating line with an exaggerated weight forward design so you can launch those flies is best. There are several pike taper lines on the market, bass taper also work well.
As water gets too warm, pike tend to move to 10’
to 20’ deep, still in the littoral zone, perhaps in gently sloping areas
before a drop off, so they can escape to deeper waters if the mood
strikes them. A sinking tip line will work best here, with an intermittent strip retrieve. Once
summer hits you may have to go full sink as pike head to the deep, if
you know of deep water channels that is where to spend your time.
For the rest of your set up, load your large arbor spool with backing. After the fly line 6’ to 8’ of heavy mono 20#-30# test, then 26# American Wire
. Those teeth
will gnash anything else, and frankly after each fish check the wire.
Releasing these bad boys requires gloves, forceps, and laying them on their back. Using your off hand grip them inside the gill plate, while avoiding the gills. Use the forceps to remove the hook. While on their back they can be quite docile. Do yourself a favor and smash the barbs before first cast.