Northern Pike are the top predators in warm water systems and are the perfect species to target with a fly rod. They are voracious predators and tend to eat prey relatively large compared to their body size. Even small pike will attempt to eat 9-inch streamers.
Therefore massive streamers are the name of the game when it comes to pike flies. The strikes from pike are violent and it is a true spectacle to witness a trophy pike emerge from the weeds and commit to your fly.
Fishing for pike requires a heavy rod that is capable of throwing streamers from 4-9 inches long to imitate various prey. Pike are known to eat frogs, smaller fish, waterfowl, mice, and even squirrels. They are incredibly opportunistic and will feed on anything that enters their domain. Topwater is also a very effective way to attract pike, stripping poppers that imitate frogs, mice, and ducks produces electric topwater eats.
A stiff rod is needed to throw these heavy flies, so a 7-10wt is an appropriate size for pike fishing. If you plan on throwing the biggest of flies, use a 10wt, but for most applications, an 8-9 weight will be the best all-around rod.
Pike also have sharp teeth that easily cut nylon or fluorocarbon, so plan on using a wire tippet to keep the fish on the line. Have a variety of sizes and styles of flies to target the prey they are keying in on at the moment.
Pike are not extremely picky fish, but fly selection matters depending on water clarity, structure, and depth. You don’t want to be stuck with lead-eyed flies when you are fishing for pike in three feet of water filled with weeds.
During the spring months, pike are up shallow and smaller, more natural patterns are used to catch fish. Whereas the fall months require huge streamer patterns with bright colorations. This depends on the region, but it is a general rule.
Here are Yellow Dog’s top pike flies to bring on your next excursion.
Top 15 Pike Flies
1. Clouser Minnow
One of the most versatile flies to exist, the Clouser Minnow gets the job done for any species that predates on baitfish. This is a must-have for pike as it sinks fast and imitates schooling fish.
#4-2/0: Red/White, Blue/White, White, Silver Shiner, Sculpin, Olive/White, Gold Shiner, Foxee Red, Chartreuse/yellow, Chartreuse/White, Black
2. Wiggle Lemmings
While throwing large topwater mammal patterns is not the most efficient way to catch fish, it sure can be the most exciting method. When a river wolf crushes this articulated rat pattern it is a surefire way to get the adrenaline pumping.
3. Barry’s Pike Fly
Large with heavy contrast and bright colors, Barry’s Pike Fly is an important fly to have on hand when fishing for meat-eaters. Fish fly in deeper water with an erratic quick retrieve to imitate wounded prey.
#3/0: Black, Chartreuse, Red/White, Red/yellow
4. Gen-X Bunny
This Bunny pattern was designed by the expert on pike flies, Barry Reynolds, and has been a staple fly to catch toothy critters since its creation.
#3/0: Black, Fire Tiger, Red/White, Red/Yellow
The Banger is another topwater fly that is sure to attract ambitious fish. The Banger moves a lot of water as it is stripped across the surface and can entice large pike to eat with a large profile.
#2/0, 4/0: Chartreuse, Silver
6. Northwoods Ninja
The Northwoods Ninja is a 10-inch articulated beast of a fly. But contrary to its size it is relatively light. It is an ideal pattern to use in shallower water that calls for buoyant streamers to avoid the weeds.
The Reducer is a fantastic fly for predatory fish of many species. Pike, in particular, love the bright colors and flash that go along with the pattern.
#3/0, 1/0: Firetiger
8. EP Pike Fly
Enrico Puglisi’s Pike Fly is a solid pattern choice that imitates the body and movement of baitfish extremely well. The Pike Fly doubles as a saltwater pattern as well, so it is equipped with an extremely strong hook to hold the biggest of fish.
#4/0: Yellow Perch, White Perch, Black/Purple, Black/Orange, Chartreuse/Polar
9. Umpqua Baitfish
The Baitfish is a self-explanatory pattern, it imitates the prey fish of pike and muskie, and it produces extremely well as it captures the size and profile of small fish. Pike are sure to love the look of this pattern as the angler retrieves it.
#2/0, 0/2: Yellow/White, Red/White, Peacock, Olive/White, Blurple, Glass Minnow, Ghost Green, Croaker, Chartreuse/White, Bunker
Chocklett’s Gamechanger has great movement as it moves through the water. This is due to the extra articulation in the fly and resembles pike candy as it is erratically retrieved. This pattern comes in a myriad of colors, so it is ideal for imitating a variety of baitfish, depending on the location.
#2/0,1/0: White, Black, Blue/Purple, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Chartreuse
11. Pike Snake
The Pike Snake fly pattern is a versatile fly for various water conditions. It features enough weight to get down deep with a sinking line but can also be used in shallower depths if needed. It comes in a variety of color options that will suit any scenario.
#3/0: Black, Chartreuse, Orange/Yellow, Red/White
12. Umpqua Pike Fly
The Umpqua Pike Fly is naturally buoyant with a deer hair head, creating disturbances in the water that ring the dinner bell for hungry pike. This fly dives as it is stripped in by the angler and remains close to the surface to imitate a frog or wounded baitfish.
#3/0: Frog, Red/White
13. Rainy’s Deer Hair Jumbo Diver
The Jumbo Diver is a great attractor for trophy pike due to its erratic movement as it is stripped through the water. The splashing and popping action gives the appearance of a wounded fish or amphibian.
#1/0: Black, White/Chartreuse, Red/White
14. Jared’s Outlaw
The Outlaw is tied specifically for freshwater monsters like pike and musically. The fly has a large profile but is relatively easy to throw for its size. This streamer catches fish wherever pike live.
#3/0: Orange/Black, Purple, Olive/Yellow
15. Pole Dancer
The Pole Dancer is a popper made for carnivorous fish like Peacock Bass and Tarpon, so it's no wonder that it works for the extremely aggressive pike. As the angler dances it across the water it leaves a noticeable wake that stimulates the appetites of hiding Northerns.
#3/0: Black, Brown/White, Red/White
Yellow Dog offers trips to various locations in pursuit of Northern Pike on the fly, journey to Alaska to target trophy pike in the remote wilderness, Canada in search of pike, grayling, lake trout, and rainbows, or Mongolia to cast for taimen, pike, and lenok.
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