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Northern Ontario Fly-in Pike Fishing at Pym Island

Colin caught this huge northern pike at the Pym Island Outpost with Hearst Air Service. • Credit: Colin McKeown
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Northern Ontario Fly-in Pike Fishing at Pym Island

Fly-in for remote fishing at this outpost with Hearst Air Service



I love catching big pike on a fly. The takes are often explosive and arm-jarring. When they are on the surface, then it really gets exciting. But not every place that has pike fishing offers the opportunity to catch big fish on the surface. There is one place where this is the norm -- Pym Island Outpost Camp.

This small and comfortable outpost camp is run through Hearst Air Service. It is located on the massive Attawapiskat River watershed that flows into James Bay. You fly in with Hearst Air Service via floatplane.

The river is wide and generally shallow with 4 - 8 feet depths. It has all the normal large river features you would expect. Points, drop-offs, large weed beds and pools. The river is famous for spin fishers for the quantity of large walleye that can be had. The schools of walleye are huge -- which is why there are so many big northern pike.

When you catch a 36-inch pike here it is very thick and heavy -- thanks to a steady diet of young walleye. For a fly fisher, this is nirvana. The pike are in shallows; I caught most of my pike in 6 feet of water or less. Best of all, they are in the shallows for the whole season -- perfect for fly fishers using floating lines.

Don’t bring a fly rod below a nine weight. The fish here are very strong from fighting the currents. They are also big, average fish are in the 35 - 40 inch range with lots of big fish in the 45 inches plus-size caught every week. The ideal setup is a 10-weight fast-action fly rod married to a good quality reel with a strong drag system. I had several fish take me into my backing, so a quality reel is a necessity.

Surface action -- this is the absolute best part about the fishing at Pym Island. The pike here are very very focused on surface food. In fact, I only used a streamer for one fish and once I discovered they would take surface flies, that is all I used. The strikes are incredibly exciting. The pike will come to clear out of the water to jump on a big popper or similar pattern. The best colour? Black. Favourite fly? The “Swing Hips” was invented by Brad Bohen. This fly, when retrieved in a slow rhythmic stance will bring on huge strikes. I cannot recommend this lodge more if you love big pike or walleye.

For a fly fisher, this is the best of the best.

Visit Hearst Air's Fly-in Outposts for more information on Fly-in fishing trips in Northern Ontario.

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