Fly-fishing for northern pike: Pro tips from Outdoor Canada

Northern magic

Expert advice for tacking pike on the fly

It’s hard to believe fly purists once looked down on northern pike as unworthy of pursuit, because catching a pike, especially a big one, on a fly rod is a true thrill. It’s very effective, too—a fly suspends, shimmers and seductively undulates in a way that positively unhinges pike unlike any other lure. Even better, the gear for targeting spring and early-summer pike is straightforward. All you need is a moderately priced 8-weight fly outfit with a weight-forward floating line, and a handful of four- to six-inch streamer flies.

The daunting part of fly fishing for northerns stems from factors that traditional fly anglers don’t usually worry about. Here’s how to meet each of those challenges:

  • Making or buying a wire leader
  • Knots for wire and heavy mono
  • Casting a big, wind-resistant fly
  • Fighting a powerful, heavy fish on fly rod

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