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Thread: flyfishing for Pike...rod, reel, line & leader...advice?

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up flyfishing for Pike...rod, reel, line & leader...advice?

    What advice on gear and technique would you offer to someone who's never fished for Pike in Ak....I hunt in the Minto Flats each Sept. and want to spend a lot more time out there....

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    Default Flyfishin for pike

    Here are some points I garnered here recently at this great site! Some are from my own experience.
    • You want a longer fast action rod to enable casting out of larger/ heavier flies.
    • I would say use a 7 or 8 wiethed line.
    • A steel leader is a must. You can pick some up at most any fly shop.
    • Pike fed more at night. Sleep in and stay up late.
    I just bought two mice in a fly pattern with a heavy fishing line over the hook that diverts algae and other stuff from getting hung up on it. Can't wait to try them out. I imagine that large muddler minnows would work well here too? If you have a spinning rod, double jointed Rapala lures knock 'em dead.

    I was just looking at the Minto Flats! A friend of mine wants to fish off the James Dalton, but I think Pike fishing there sounds much more appealing. Are there drive up spots where you can put in with kayak?

    ~Bryant

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    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    No real drive-up access to Minto Fats, but you could probably launch your Kayak at the village of Minto and catch some fish pretty close.

    I like a 7 wt with floating line, straight braid 30lb leader (or 20 lb Mono and a steel leader) and a white deer hair mouse type fly with about a 4 inch rabbit strip or thick flashabou tail. A big body will float, but if you have a real small body (still with a big flashy tail--mine don't look anything like a real mouse--and a steel leader it'll kinda "porpoise" as you strip a little, then wait a few seconds before stripping again.

    Pike on flies are loads of fun!

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    the fly rodded pike still seem to elude me I've hooked a few in fire lake on bunny leaches with lead eyes that keep the weeds off the hook. I wish I could go to some good pike waters sometime...
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    6" long bunny leach with a weighted nose (cone).

    7WT Lamiglass.

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    Thumbs up flyfishing for pike...

    Am I barking up the wrong tree? Is spinning gear more effective for pike vs fly casting?

  7. #7
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    Default It depends

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Am I barking up the wrong tree? Is spinning gear more effective for pike vs fly casting?

    If you need to cover a lot of water and the conditions are windy and snotty, spinning is the way to go. If you have decent casting conditions and know where the fish are then I love to flyfish, I have routinely seen flyfishing dominate over the usual, spoons, plugs, spinners etc. It's something about the halt at the end of each strip and how the fly usually fluffs out and suspends....hard to find a spoon that will do that.

    The basic set up
    8 wt rod, with fast action
    weight forward floating line
    short leaders 15- 20 pounds test 4-5 foot at the longest
    steel leader or tyable steel leader material (one foot min. to 18 in.
    weighted minnow imitation or bunny leech, (I prefer black with some sparkles....and articulated really helps on the short strikes.

    This all goes back to my musky days in Wisco. Big fish eat big bait. So if you want bigger ones (and little ones will take it too) your flies will need to at least be long (5 to 8 inches) and ideally cut a pretty good profile and push a little water. Going topwater, while exciting, will rarely outproduce subsurface action. But mice work well as well as putting a popperhead in front of any old streamer ya got.

    Vary your retrieve if nothing is snappin, different days often require different approaches, but rarely do pike get lockjaw.

    Baja...Pike feed more at night?.....um, back away from the crack pipe .
    While it is true that dusky periods (morning and evening) will have more active periods for most predators, Pike are NOT night feeders, their morphology is purely a wait and ambush type of predator that utilizes cover, camoflage, daylight and lots of visual in it's feeding behavior. When it comes to pike, I find them to be active throughout daylight periods and barely into the late late evening. I've caught literally thousands of pike (Wisco/Mn/Michigan/Alaska) including lots of night fishing for other species and I have caught 1 pike after sundown.

    I have heard of increased pike and musky activity in highly trafficked urban lakes and rivers (which consequently is where I caught my only 3 a.m. pike) but they are definitely day feeders and I never have found a bad time to go cast for pike.

    ps, Get a jawspreaders and attach it to a large bobber so that it floats....or just get a pressure bandage and lots of bandaids

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Default Minto Flats

    I did a fly-in last year to Minto Flats, It is by far the best fishing I had experienced in a long time. We were basically doing catch and release, we were trying to find a 40" or better, but managed to get a 39", I know there are bigger in there. The thing about the Minto Pikes is that they are thick around their bellies, I believe they feed heavily on ducklings, shrews, muskrats and etc. We even caught one with another pike in its mouth! I wish I had a fly rod, because soon as you threw a plug, when it hit the water, they'd hit it. Fly rod would be a blast, no matter what you'd throw at them. As far as being active...I believe we caught most our fish during the daylight hours, however, baja could be right, because when I was in Michigan, the best time to fish for walleye was at night with a Rapala countdown plug, I think maybe it was that time of the year, don't know....K

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    K, THose are WALLeyes, the irridescent backing to their eyes gathers and concentrates available light and makes them able to see better at night....they are chronically known to be a lowlight feeder, they use their eyesight (which is better than their prey) like cover to hide themselves as they hunt. This is not the case with Pike and we are talking apples and oranges here.

    And the pike with another pike in it's mouth is actually very common. Some management strategies for pike are limiting the take of large individuals (30 inches in most areas) because of this commonplace cannibalism. Especially in low diversity systems like Alaska, where pike often share their waters with few big juicy prey items and are usually stuck with sticklebacks (small) blackfish (small) or an 18 inch version of themselves (big and nutritious). The problem with taking large fish out of a system is that then there is nothing to predate on smaller pike and they soon eat themselves out of house and home and soon you have nothing but tons of stunted hammer handles with a limited food supply. So unless you are trying to save some Mat Su sockeye waters....a picture followed by rescuscitation and release will help ensure that those big boys will be there in the future. I keep them between 24 and 28 inches as they are plenty big to fillet the y bones out but not large enough to be the key player in cropping the shorties.

    Pike definitely are veracious feeders and surely they are smackin ducks, rats and almost anything they can put in their mouths but always have access to their shorter cousins year round and fish make up the lion's share of their diet. As with terrestrial prey for most fish (hoppers with trout, shrews with rainbows, squirrels with muskies) they are targets of opportunity and this is often why these patterns (usually topwaters) are effective. They are different than the multitude of fish that surround them and often elicit savage strikes since when they are in the right mood it really incites the bite as they are a very good meal if they can be taken.

    I don't doubt that pike can be caught in lowlight and even somewhat after dark, but I would definitely not make this part of my strategy. Better fishing will be found during daylight hours, when I lived in WalleyeLand, Pike were what I occupied my mid day hours with between walleye feeding periods (dawn/dusk). I would often fish the same areas in the dark as I would in the light and the make up of my catch shifted clearly between the different light levels.

    Muskies are a different story when it comes to night feeding but then again they are different in a lot of ways despite the fact that they look alike.

    I know this is a lot more information than this thread is probably meant for but Pike are largely misunderstood and just thought I'd shed some light.

    ps, I always like to have both gears with me when I fish. If I want to cover a lot of water, I spin, and a great lure to use to find fish (despite rotten hook up rates) is a buzz bait (topwater usually used for bass) it's an absolute stitch to use.
    Last edited by Catch It; 04-07-2007 at 11:25. Reason: butterfingers...too much coffee

  10. #10
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    I mostly fish gear for pike just because I fish in waters with very few pike that are highly pressured and I find that I need to cover more water quicker than my fly rod allows me to do, however if you are somewhere that the pike are thick (like alexander lake) I think a fly rod is the most fun way to go.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  11. #11
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    I too have caught literally thousands of Pike on a fly over the years and will second everything Catch it has said. Here in Alaska I have found mouse patterns to be deadly for pike but my all time favorite pike pattern is a dalenberg diver! You cast them out then retrieve them in short bursts like a chugger plug. If a fish hits just shy of the fly retrieve it real quick and long and acouple of times then let it sit. 9 times out of 10 by the time you count to 5 the water will explode and the fight is on! The advantage of a dalenberg diver is that it can be fished slowly on the surface and as a streamer just below the surface. I like them in traditional red and white, green and black, blue and white and purple and blue/black. Here in Alaska the green and black doesnt seem as effective as the others.

    I also find it helpful too take both spin casting and fly fishing gear. I use the spin casting gear to locate ares with good numbers of fish then switch off. However monster pike are very territorial and will kill anything else in there area so I always save the best looking log, stump, or weed edge for the fly rod! You can also frequently sight cast too pike especially early in the spring just like you would to bone fish. Just wear a good pair of polarized glasses and watch for the log that's slowly cruising the area.

    Just this Alaskans experience
    Rick P

  12. #12

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    I haven't done a whole lot of pike/musky fishing on the fly, but some of my friends in Wisconsin have a lot of experience chasing big fly rod muskies. They actually use a short segment of very strong (40lb+) fluorocarbon instead of a steel leader. Apparently its abrasion resistance is even better than steel. I ran across that same tip once on another forum about pike in AK, so I assume it's a tried & true technique there too. I'll find out when I move up there in July.
    Jason
    http://www.troutnut.com -- Fly fishing photos & insect hatch encyclopedia.
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