Algoma Pike Fly Fishing Opportunities
Today many anglers have discovered the thrill and excitement of catching northern pike on a fly rod. Seeing a large pike slam a top water fly pattern or having a streamer fly crushed beneath the waves by a ferocious pike, it is all part of the many reasons why Algoma is an excellent choice for fly fishing. With thousands of lakes and rivers to choose from, this region of Northern Ontario is blessed with a wide variety of fishing opportunities. Read on to discover the best seasons, fly fishing rigs, fly patterns and locations throughout Algoma where you can find northern pike action!
Best Seasons For Northern Pike in Algoma
Northern pike can be caught from spring (check local regulations for the actual opening date) through the summer and right into the late fall. Obviously, the pike will transition to different structure and water depths depending upon the season. In spring, the pike are usually found shallow, not far from where they spawned at ice-out. This is a time when you can sight fish very large female pike. As the water warms into June, the pike will move deeper and generally are found in 8 to 15 feet of water. During the summer months into September, the pike can be found from 5 to 25 feet of water. Early morning or late day, northern pike will often come into the shallows, especially around weed beds, to hunt. In the fall, they will still come into the weed beds but can also be found on wind-swept shorelines, fallen timber and any location where prey can be found. All these locations are fishable by fly fishers which is another reason why pike are an ideal species to hunt in Algoma.
Equipment, Flylines & Leader Rigging
For northern pike, our best recommendation is to bring either an 8- or 9-weight fly rod, usually with a fast-action. Rods in this size are best for both casting large flies or fighting in big northern pike quickly. In Algoma, no matter what part of the season you fish for northern pike, you generally do not need a wide variety of fly lines. Essentially, you need two lines: a floating line and a sinking line. A Weight Forward floating fly line with a short head is ideal for casting all sizes of flies. Today many manufacturers have outstanding pike/musky-designed fly lines that are perfect for getting the job done. The last item to consider is the leader and tippet setup to use. Whether with a floating line or sinking fly line, it is generally best to use shorter leaders. I like to use 4 to 6 feet of heavy mono (40- to 50-pound test) that is stiff and easily facilitates turning over large flies in the wind. Tied to your leader you want to attach 4 to 8 inches of 30-pound bite wire. You can attach this to the leader with a simple loop-to-loop connection. I’ve never lost a pike due to breaking off or cutting the wire leader with this setup.
From small to large, pike flies come in a wide range of sizes. Experience has taught us that in the early season, smaller flies work best wherein during the summer and fall, it takes larger flies to motivate pike into vicious strikes. Essentially you need two types of flies to successfully fish for northern pike: streamers and topwater flies. Click here to watch a great video that details the top five streamers we recommend for pike in Algoma Country.
For topwater flies, it is hard to beat the Weedmans Slider to explosive takes. This simple fly is easy to cast and produces in colours such as black, orange and chartreuse. Click here to see the heart-stopping takes this fly produces in this video.
Locations (Drive-to & Fly-in)
There is a wide variety of locations to angle for northern pike with a fly rod and vary depending on your budget and the wilderness experience you wish to enjoy. There are numerous drive-to locations in Algoma that can offer fly fishers the opportunity to fish for northern pike and other species such as smallmouth bass and walleye. You can bring your own boat or some locations offer boats to rent. Here are some excellent locations for this type of fishing:
Birch Lake Resort
This great DIY resort has clean and comfortable cabins available and their small little lake is loaded with pike from 2-12 pounds in size, offering anglers a great chance to “warm up” their casting & hook setting skills. In that area, there are numerous other local lakes that possess public access and good fishing. If you want to learn more about local opportunities, Birch Lake Resort can connect you with a local guide who can show you some excellent fishing locations based on the time of year.
Located just north of Elliot Lake, Laurentian Lodge has several lakes in their area that offer quality pike fishing. You can rent a cabin or just a room at this fantastic lodge which is an easy drive from the Trans-Canada highway.
If you want a total wilderness experience it is hard to beat a fly-in lodge that offers different meal and accommodation plans plus great pike fishing. Here are some good options to consider:
Mar Mac Lodge
Located on Esnagi Lake which is renowned for its walleye fishery, the pike on this system can grow to epic proportions. Besides eating walleye, the pike grows large thanks to the whitefish population. Ken Johnston and his family can set you up with an all-inclusive plan or just housekeeping at one of their wonderful cabins.
Esnagami Wilderness Lodge
A short 12-minute flight from Nakina, this lodge has it all for fly fishers. The main lake is massive and features numerous bays with populations of big pike on the prowl. As an added bonus, they also have brook trout fishing in June and early July.
Wilderness North literally has something for everyone. From DIY fly-in outpost camps to full-service air access American Plan Lodges, they fit most budgets and adventure needs. Accessed by float plane from either Thunder Bay, Armstrong or Nakina, the Wilderness North experience will bring anglers back year after year. Big pike abound at all Wilderness North locations which is great for both conventional anglers as well as fly anglers. Miminiska Lodge and Makokibatan Lodge both have brook trout opportunities as well as great pike fishing.
Fly-in Remote Outposts
For groups of anglers who really want to experience do-it-yourself fishing, it is hard to beat a week spent at an outpost. Essentially, outposts are cottages located on lakes that have great access to fishing. You bring your own food, sleeping bags and fishing gear…the boats, cooking utensils, etc…are all already there!
Located a short distance from Hearst, this air service has a number of great fly-in outposts which has excellent fishing for northern pike and walleye as well.
With their airbase located just outside of White River near the Trans-Canada Highway, they offer numerous remote outposts with access to great northern pike fishing. They even have one location where there is also brook trout.
Catching northern pike on a fly is so much fun which is why more and more anglers are giving it a try…even conventional tackle anglers! Algoma Country offers numerous types of opportunities to cast for big pike throughout the year. From drive-to locations to fly-in experiences, they have trips to match every budget! To learn more, we recommend you visit the Ontario's Algoma Country website