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: (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DBPLXY8) from this direct link to Amazon.com:
See also My Amazon website for my 5-Star, Award-winning novels, Trapped, A 3rd Time to Die, Death's Angel (the 1st of my new Detective Al Warner Series) and Born to Die (the 2nd Al Warner novel) all available in print and as a Kindle, and some are also available as an Audio Book
My guide, John, with my 23 lb. pike on gold Flashabou
Me, with an 18 lb. "Blue Pike" on a pink marabou
I’m returning to Lac La Martre, Northwest Territories, north of Alberta, Canada for 6 days of fly-fishing for monster pike in early August, 2017. This will be my 5th trip to this great pike factory. My first trip, in 2012, was incredible. 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 trophy-sized fish, some of which were estimated to be over 25 pounds. Overall, I caught 263 pike and 10 lake trout.
Each following trip (2013 – 2015) provided similar results, with about 300 pike caught each year. I could have caught many more, but after the first day, I usually take my fly away from anything I see that looks to be under about 8 pounds. I have caught as many as 80 fish in on day, and once I took 8 big fish on 8 casts, all between 12 – 18 pounds.
In 2013, my guide, Morris, and I chased a huge fish in a shallow bay on and off over two days, but she never looked or even turned on a fly. Then suddenly, there she was, eating a R/W marabou streamer right at the gunnel. Her head must have been at least 10” across!! After feeling the barb of my 3/0 Mustad, she took off, racing across the bay on … unbelievably for a pike … a non-stop run of at least 100 yards. Also, non-typically, she never came close to the boat, and the hook pulled after 15 minutes, and several more log runs. Morris thought she may have gone 40 pounds. We were both desolate.
I’ve since lost two other pike at Lac la Martre that certainly exceeded 30 pounds, and in 2015, retook my IGFA record on 8# tippet – 27.5 lbs.
A trip to Lac La Martre (http://nwtfishing.com) begins by float plane from Yellowknife, arriving about Noon. After a quick sandwich lunch and tackle set-up, you begin fishing. The schedule is 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. It’s not unusual to go through periods where you get strikes on nearly every cast. The fish average 28” – 36” with several often running over 40”.
Each day thereafter begins by leaving the dock at 8 am and ends back at the lodge for dinner sometime after 5 pm. The pike are great fighters, with many good runs, even from small, 3 -5# fish, and several jumpers. I had one 43” fish greyhound 4 times across the bay, ripping off 40 yards of line. I’ve never visited Lac la Martre without having at least a shot of a 30 pound plus pike. I’m determined to take one that size this summer. By August, a 45” fish may weigh 30 pounds, but would have been maybe 23 pounds in June. You return to Yellowknife on the last day in time for an afternoon flight back to either Calgary or Edmonton, and your connection to your home town.
These are strong, active fish. Several took me many yards into my backing, and I can honestly say that the Lac La Martre pike are then best fighters I’ve ever encountered. Again, there was no shortage of big fish sightings in most bays in the early season. In August, I will be mainly blind casting over weed beds, using an Intermediate or Sink Tip line, but there will still be plenty of followers hitting close to the boat with an adrenalin surging strike. WOW!
As for flies, you only need my 3 favorite patterns, in various colors: Split wing marabou streamers on 3/0 or 4/0 hooks (white/red; orange/red; yellow/orange; pink; black/red; and chartreuse/red); Flashabou streamers (Gold; silver; perch; and Pearl); and a few deer hair divers (weedless, and r/w, and Chartreuse are my favorites). There are dozens of pike flies out there, many quite exotic looking, but none will catch fish any better than these. The classic bunny tail flies are heavy to cast, and don’t last nearly as long the either the Marabou of Flashabou patterns. Tying recipes are shown in my book.
Lac La Martre is reached by a 50 minute floatplane (Twin Turbo Otter) flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. I would describe the lodge as slightly rustic. The individual plywood walled cabins are reasonably large, with 2 beds and sufficient storage and hanging areas, and all now encompass “in suite” plumbing. The clubhouse and dining room are adequate, with a huge store of videos and movies, and the food is good and plentiful. You will not find a more accommodating staff anywhere else. And they have satellite Wi-Fi 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.
If you’re looking for
a great pike fishing trip, there are many to choose from, but you can’t go
wrong with Lac la Martre. See our “Contacts” page for links and listing of
several other top pike destinations. Like