Toothy Critters Love Flies
     $16.95 USA    $18.75 Canada 
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    Fly-fishing for pike and musky is burgeoning in popularity for several reasons. Unlike trout fishing, which requires years of experience to reasonable succeed, even neophyte fly-casters can easily master taking Toothy Critters on flies. Also, to the probable amazement of plug casters, flies frequently take bigger and more pike (and even musky) than hardware, fished side-by-side. Now many Canadian camps feature fly-fishing pages on their web sites, but their advice, while well-intentioned, is often flawed, especially regarding tackle recommendations.
    Toothy Critters Love Flies, is the result of the author’s over 20+ years fly-fishing for pike, musky and smallmouth bass, plus other “bonus” species available in the same waters. He spent years developing and refining techniques and flies that work for “toothy critters,” and has a different slant on the subject from many other “experts,” especially about flies. 
    Toothy Critters Love Flies also has chapters about “Bonus Species:” smallmouth bass, walleye, lake trout, Arctic grayling, etc.  There are descriptions and tackle recommendations on how to take these fish, adding variety and excitement to any trip. Plus he includes a chapter on the IGFA and how to seek tippet-class records, for those interested. The book is geared to both new and experienced fly-fishers and could make converts of hardware-tossers, too.

You can order the new, SECOND EDITION (NOW ALSO AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE: ( from this direct link to


See also the website for my new novels, Trapped and A 3rd Time to Die, both available in print and as a Kindle

which can also be purchased at Here's a direct link:

for Trapped

for A 3rd Time to Die:
Report on Lac La Martre, NWT, trophy pike trip

My guide, John, with my 23 lb. pike on gold Flashabou

Me, with an 18 lb. "Blue Pike" on a pink marabou

Next trip scheduled for July 14 - 20, 2013
Contact me at: for details

I’ve just returned from 6 fays of fly-fishing for monster pike at Lac La Martre, Northwest Territories, north of Alberta, Canada. It was an incredible trip, during which I caught 29 pike of 16 pounds or larger, all on flies of course. Nine of those fish were 20 – 23 pounds, and I lost 7 others, some of which were estimated to be over 25 pounds. Overall, I caught 263 pike and 10 lake trout. Here are some of the details.

We flew to Lac La Martre ( by float plane from Yellowknife on June 26, arriving about Noon. After a quick sandwich lunch and tackle set-up, I went fishing. The schedule was for a “full day,” with a shore dinner of pike. As it’s never dark that time of year, we easily fished until 9:30, and I got a real taste of what to expect. A quick summary: I caught 30 fish, including 39” (17#) & 40” (18#), saw 8 others from 40” – 45” and at times, had strikes on nearly every cast. The average fish were 28” – 32” with several in the mid-30’s, and I lost 2 bigger fish that hit close to the boat, coming right at me, so there was little chance of hooking them.

The 2nd day was pretty much a repeat, with my first 6 fish (in 40 minutes) all between 8 -14 lbs., taken on a pink marabou streamer. I had some missed hook-ups, so I cut off my mono weed guards after missing a probably 25# pike. The guards weren’t really necessary at that time of year, and they were clearly interfering with hook-set. I had better success on hook-ups after that. The water in many bays was only about 55 degrees, which made the fish a bit sluggish, and several very large pike just didn’t move for the flies. We saw one that was surely 4 feet, just lying there. She never moved. Overall, I caught 4 between 16 -18#, and 6 about 12-14#, and 41 fish for the day – most 28 -33 inches. Saw 6 or 7 others over 20#. We ended the day in a small bay where the water was warmer, and the fish were hitting well. Great fighters, with many good runs, even from small, 3 -5# fish, and several jumpers.

The next day I got 3 pike between 20 – 22 lbs, and 9 between 14 – 18 lbs. 56 total pike. Missed a big one over 25# when she (again) took coming right at me near the boat. No way to hook her. Again, saw many fish (probably 8 - 10) over 20# throughout the bays. It’s an adrenaline rush to see a big pike on the bottom or cruising (the water on Lac La Martre is crystal clear) near the boat, toss a fly, see her turn, follow, and suck it in. That is usually followed by a big splash and a speedy run. Several fish took me all the way down to my backing, and I can honestly say that the Lac La Martre pike (when caught in 60+ degree water) were then best fighters I’ve ever encountered. Again, there was no shortage of big fish sightings in most bays, and while I caught many good fish blind casting, the real rush is spotting them close to the boat and teasing a strike. I dangled my fly (a gold Flashabou pattern) in front of an 18 pounder at the boat side for probably a minute, and she finally ate it. WOW!

On the 29th, my first fish was a 22# beaut. Took 14 fish in 90 minutes, with 4 others from 16 – 18#. A very big fish (est. OVER 25#) missed the Flashabou twice, then nailed it with a slashing surface strike…and my leader popped…due to either a wind knot or a nick. DAMN! Overall, I got 56 pike (again) + 6 lake trout to 11# on flies. The trout were taken on a special Flashabou fly, caught trolling with a fast sinking line. I would have like to cast to them, but too scattered. That seems best in late August for trout, when they’re in shallow to spawn.

The 30th was a repeat of the other days. My largest in the boat was 21 & 22 lbs., with a total of 46 pike, most between 8 & 16 lbs., and I also took 4 lakers of modest size. Big trout, to 41 lbs., were being caught trolling with conventional tackle, but I couldn’t get my fly deep enough to have a crack at the lunkers.

The next day I got 2 over 20#, an 18 pounder, and 4 between 14 – 16#. Total 46 for the day. Hottest pattern was my gold Flashabou. Even when heavily chewed, it caught fish and gave the best hook-up percentages. Marabou patterns produced well, too. One fish was 45” long but only weighed 21 lbs. Very skinny. Six week later, she’d probably weight 26 lbs.

The last day gave the most excitement, when a 23# pike leaped at the boat, snatching my fly out of the air as I was lifting it from the water. She made a speed run of about 100 feet and jumped clear once and 2 porpoise leaps. Great fight, and a heart-thumper strike. Only (!) 36 fish that day, with 2 over 20#. Again, many larger fish sighted but not always striking.

Overall, for the 6 days, my 9 fish over 20# on flies tied the most by 1 conventional angler and beat everyone else. However, pike of 29, 27, 2 @ 25, and 24 pounds were taken by other anglers. Several lakers over 30 pounds were taken by trollers. A total of 36 pike over 20# were caught that week. Lac La Martre offers some of the best pike fishing (especially sight casting) I’ve ever encountered. The fish are strong fighters…even the small ones…and a day never passed that we didn’t see many huge fish lazing in the shallows.

Lac La Martre is reached by a 50 minute floatplane (Twin Turbo Otter) flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. I would describe the lodge as modestly rustic. The individual plywood walled cabins are reasonably large, with 2 beds and sufficient storage and hanging areas, but there is no “in suite” plumbing. There is a central bath house with sinks, toilets, and 2 roomy showers. It’s less than a minute walk from any cabin. The clubhouse and dining room are adequate, with a huge store of videos and movies, and the food is good and plentiful. And they have satellite connection for computers. Good 16’ boats with casting platforms, powered by 40 HP, 4-stroke engines, and each has marine radio communication and depth-finders. The guides are both Indian and Canadian, and they know this large, 1000 sq. mile lake well.

I plan to return in 2013 for the same dates - July 14-20, a peak week for both quantity and size. Those early season fish will have added some weight by then. I’ll again be “hosting” a fly-fishing week, with lessons on fly-trying the best pike patterns, leader rigging, proper procedures for taking pike on flies, and even casting instruction for those who want it. The price is $3,595 (+5% GST tax) per person, and includes the r.t. floatplane from Yellowknife. 3,
you want to join us. It’s a trip you’ll never regret.


    George Bernstein, ex-president of a small publicly held appliance company, is more recently the retired owner/operator of Outdoor Safaris, one of the earliest fishing and hunting travel services.
    George started fishing at the age of ten, from their summer home at PawPaw Lake, Michigan. A 12” perch fired his enthusiasm for the sport, but with no outdoorsmen in his family, everything was self-taught. By his mid-teens he was already an expert, and took his first bonefish on a flyrod…no mean feat for a kid. A true sportsman, he pursued big fish on light tackle, and was practicing “catch-and-release” by the early 1980s…well before it became popular. He also authored several articles on chasing IGFA World Records on light tackle, providing new insight on fighting techniques that are now common practices.
    Fishing all over the world as research for Outdoor Safaris, he acquired eight fly-rod International Game Fish Association (IGFA) World records, including 2 for pike, 2 for Arctic grayling and 1 for smallmouth bass. He was the official fishing & hunting tour wholesaler for Lan Chile, Aerolineas Argentinas and Pan Am Airlines. Over the past 20+ years he has concentrated mainly on fly-fishing for pike, musky and smallmouth bass, plus the other Bonus Species often available in their waters. He has rubbed shoulders with baseball great and fly-fisherman supreme, Ted Williams, as well as internationally revered anglers like Leon Chandler, Lefty Kreh, and others in the fly-fishing world.
    Now George has organized his life-time of experience into a definitive and easy to read book, Toothy Critter Love Flies, giving you everything you need to know to catch BIG pike (think 20 pounds and up) and musky on fancy feathers. 
    Not a fly-fisherman? The book will show you how easily you can learn to catch this aggressive predators on flies…and how exciting that can be!
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