There is little arguing that the northern pike is the most dominant fish to swim in the freshwater systems of Northern Ontario. They are relentless hunters which will often lay in wait for their prey to casually swim by and be devoured. They are meat-eaters and often will take fish that are extremely large offerings. When we target northern pike in the fly fishing world, we do our best to imitate these big offerings by throwing big flies for big pike. We asked a few of the hosts from The New Fly Fisher what their go-to fly is for these perfect predators.
Burbot streamer – 6 to 8 inches. Many Northern Ontario lakes play home to mudfish, burbot, lingcod, and a variety of other near bottom-dwelling fish. These flies imitate these pike prey. We often catch northerns with burbot tails sticking out of their throats. For me, the larger the fly the better.
Any perch pattern that is at least 6 inches long. I like patterns that are made with synthetics as they don’t hold water, and are much easier to cast. Use with a sinking tip line. The next is a little harder to cast, the red and white bunny leach of at least 6 inches. Pike love red and white.
I’m a self-proclaimed topwater nut! If I can catch northern pike on topwater, I’m going to do it – and do it all day long! There is nothing like the crushing violence of seeing a pike, no matter the size, murdering a fly! My first go-to fly is a Weedman’s Slider in black or chartreuse. These flies can be fished solely as a topwater or as its name suggest, as a just under the surface slider. Still very visible to the angler and 100% fun!
Another great topwater pattern that is my go-to is called a Thunder Chicken. It is a very large fly that moves a tonne of water. The water movement will call fish in from afar as they are very curious by nature. I also replace the treble hook with a j hook to minimize any damage to the fish. Deadly pattern and a great deal of fun to throw and retrieve.
So there you have it. The top five flies for northern pike from our hosts at The New Fly Fisher. If you haven’t had the opportunity to target northern pike in Northern Ontario, you’re really missing out on a tonne of fun. They are aggressive, mean, big and toothy. Just a blast to catch and release on the fly!