Fly Fishing for Northern Pike - Part 2
When the Northern Pike move back into the deeper part of the lake after the spawn, they
will usually be found between 6 and 15 feet of water. They prefer some form of structure
such as drop offs, the edges of weed lines where the water gets deeper than the weeds
will grow and channels between flats or islands. Standing timber in reservoirs and deep
weed beds are ideal places. It isn't the water temperatures effect on the pike as much as
it is the movement of the food they rely on. They follow the bait when it moves out of the
The pike will remain in the deeper water until the lake turns over at the end of the
Summer or the beginning of Fall. The exact time depends greatly on the north-south
location of the lake and the weather patterns at the time. When the water begins to cool,
the pike will again follow the bait and return to the shallows to feed. When the lake turns
over and the cool water sinks to the bottom, the pike will again move out of the shallows.
Their feeding activity will slow down in the lower water temperatures.
During the summer, you will need to use sinking fly lines and sinking tip lines. It's
necessary to get the fly down to the fish, otherwise you will be waisting time. You should
rely on fishfinders to find the structure and underwater weed lines that you cannot see.
Otherwise, you may be spending a lot of time searching for the pike and waste a lot of
energy casting and retrieving your fly in the deep water.
When the water cools and the pike move back into the shallows, they will usually still be
more difficult to find than they are during the pre-spawn period. Sometimes you can spot
them and sometimes you have to blind cast to likely places. Often the feeding activity will
show you where they are. When they chase bait to the surface, it causes quite a
disturbance and gives their position away.
It isn't unusual for Northern Pike to follow your fly for a long distance only to turn away
from it at the last second. This can be frustrating. Never slow down the fly when this is
happening. Most of the time it's best to speed up the retrieve, making it appear to the
pike that it's a baitfish trying to escape.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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