I must admit, northern pike have not always been a popular species to fish for, let alone to travel a long distance for!
With its up-reaching flat top mountains, vast and precious boreal forest and lakes, and landscape that looks to be a cover of National Geographic magazine, many people are now planning trips from far and wide to enjoy what Ontario has to offer for the pike fly angler, novice to pro.
Canadian northern pike fishing almost always offers a good time, with high impact action, lines peeling, drags screaming, and adrenaline-pumping fun! It’s a much welcome change to the snobby, ego-crushing trout, which denies the dedicated fly angler of a simple take.
There are certain places in the world that pike are revered: those places are Europe, Canada and Alaska.
Pike of almost any size are a great time on the fly rod! They are full of zest and spunk, and demand to be free from the moment they engulf the fly. The water wolf may not be everyone’s center of admiration, but it 100% has mine. The pike's reputation has gone through a huge change, once determined a nuisance, now a treasured sport fish on the fly. The northern pike is very deserving of the angler's respect, not disdain. For it’s a fish that in every sense is big game.
They are explosive and downright violent fighters on the fly, my all-time favorite way to fly fish for pike is to sight fish for them in shallow waters. Using top water poppers – it’s intensely fun seeing the take and when a pike attacks a popper, the water combusts with a big splash as the long, green “wolf” wreaks havoc on the fly! This is typically the moment most anglers forget to strip set and they trout set instead.
Hunting the big one. I write this article in the hopes of inspiring pike on the fly enthusiasts as well as first-timers! I have been fly fishing around the world for pike since I was a teen, and of course in Ontario. I openly admit and I have an obsession for big pike. I am smitten with the mean, green, fighting machine and I don’t mind giving tips and advice for fishing my home waters of Ontario. I also strongly encourage catch and release. Big pike that are on most anglers' bucket lists and in my photos are old fish – some up to approximately 30 years. I adore this species of fish and I want to share it with my readers, but I also want to express the importance of protecting our fisheries.
The #1 golden rule when fishing for any fish is what? Respect the fish! Keep them wet till the camera is ready, de-barb those hooks, don’t fight them to exhaustion, and release asap. Catch and release! Please!
I repeat: ultimately the goal is to strip, set, land, quick pic, and release!
Location is key when hunting big pike, and there are literally thousands upon thousands of lakes to choose from. You can’t go wrong with almost all the destinations. You have to choose what you’re comfortable with. Drive to or fly in, it’s really a personal preference. It’s all about the experience that goes along with fishing. Do you want to experience a fly-in-only lodge? I personally love them, and have taken hundreds of rides to fly-in lodges, truly an awesome experience!
If you want to do a drive to location – you will find equally as many lodges and excellent fishing to experience!
Ok, here we go (finally)!