Travel Tip: Pike… The Final Frontier


By Kirk Deeter

Why… oh why, do so many of us fly fishers consider pike an “afterthought?”  Why do we demand that pike are killed on those pristine Colorado (and other state) “trout” waters, throughout the Rocky Mountain region?

Pike are no less an “invasive species” than those rainbows, browns, and brookies are, after all.  Indeed, they have a name for the predation of one strong species over a weaker one… it’s called “Natural Selection.”

There is absolutely nothing that rivals (at least in the freshwater realm) a savage take of the fly by a northern pike.  And for that, so much as I love the wild runs of rainbows and salmon caught by drifting beads… for the life of me, I don’t know why more fly anglers don’t intentionally chase the ferocity of pike on the fly… in Alaska… in Canada… and in the northern “Lower 48.”

We’d all do better to turn more of our fly angler customers onto northern pike.

If there’s one place to turn yourself, or your customers, on to northern pike, it’s northern Saskatchewan, in Canada (  Specifically Lake Athabasca… and more specifically Blackmur’s Athabasca Lodges (

I just returned from a trip there… close to 200 pike caught… and more than 10, over 40 inches long, all on the fly.

You need to check this out… and you need to send clients there… but only the ones who can cast 40 feet with a gaudy streamer… and want to have their world rocked by a sheer freshwater predator.



  1. I was up there working for 4 weeks until just last week. I managed to go out for pike a couple times and landed one at 40″. I was able to watch one smallish pike strike in shallow/clear water; it came from about 8-10 feet away like a lightning bolt. Catching pike are great times, and they definitely deserve some respect!

  2. Pike have been called freshwater Barracuda, a saltwater specie that is generally dismissed as a fly rod target as well. But Carp have been compared to Bonefish, which is one of the prized Caribbean Grand Slam. Go figure.

  3. Shhhhhh! Just kidding. We throw fluff for pike all the time here in Montana. My personal preference though is topwater in the summer. Nothing like the incredibly fast explosive strikes or watching a subsurface wake coming from 15-20 feet away on a collision course for a big foam bug! These are crazy fish and it’s addicting as hell!

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