There is little arguing that northern pike are in fact the apex predator in many of Ontario’s waters. They are in most every system, from the boarder lakes shared with the US straight north to the high Arctic! They get gigantic, and feed on most anything that enters the water. Be they birds, small mammals, reptiles, or even other northern pike, nothing is safe in pikey water.
No matter the size of the fish, they have an integral instinct to attack. Each one being as violent as the one before. Seemingly afraid of nothing, northern pike will even smash your flies right at the edge of the boat, resulting in the utmost in addictive angler adrenaline rushes. They fight, often inducing long runs, and will test the finest of tackle systems. That’s what makes northern pike so unbelievably fantastic to target—especially on fly. It’s all about the violence!
Bunny leeches are a staple in our fly boxes for sure! Three-inch flies to 7- and 8-inch offerings: make sure you have a variety of these pike flies on hand. Stripping them erratically, the bunny strips undulate and snake along in the water column. The erratic strip with longer pauses are often enough to entice a hit. The white body and red head emulate an injured baitfish, and this is a killer fly on bright sunny days!
Depending on how deep you want to fish this fly, consider having a variety of sizes of the deceiver and consider different weights. You will get a faster sink rate with larger hooks; however, if you really want to get it down fast, consider sinking lines and weighted flies, or simply weight on the fly if you want a slower fall rate. The perch pattern is killer for northern pike, as perch make up such an integral part of the fish’s diet. Synthetic material make larger flies easier to cast than natural materials, which is a great benefit for fly anglers hucking large flies all day.
There is no doubt that pike and the colour chartreuse have a hate-on for each other! Pike LOVE to destroy anything in that colour, be it conventional fishing or fly fishing. Bob Clouser’s development of the Clouser minnow is a staple pattern for every fly box or any angler fishing in fresh water or salt. They simply work. That pattern combined with the color chartreuse is deadly on northern pike. Size does matter as well with respect to Clouser minnows, and we prefer larger flies for big pike. A bonus of the Clouser minnow is its single hook is often very easy to remove from the toothy jaws of a pike.
Murdich minnows with their big head, big eye, and taper body are a magnet for northern pike. The eyes attract as well as reflect light, which may be why big northern pike attack this fly so voraciously. This fly in black and orange is fantastic for pike on darker or cloudy days. The silhouette often brings fish up from the deep to eat.
Coming in for our number one streamer to have in your fly box for northern pike in Ontario has to be the perch pattern murdich. This naturally colouring mimics a real perch and as indicated above, the eye could very well be the ticket that makes this fly so fantastic. The mix of dark and light make it an ideal fly pattern to fish in most light conditions and that, coupled with its head-heavy shape, proves a target for big fish. Make sure your knots are tied, and your bite wire is intact, because you’re in for a ride with this fly and the big northern pike it attracts!
There is little doubt who rules the water in most systems in Ontario. Toothy, aggressive, and incredibly fly-friendly, northern pike truly are the big dogs on campus. If you have yet to tangle with these water wolves, make sure you have these flies in your box and get ready to have some fun fishing northern pike in Ontario.