Pike On The Fly

The weather was too good to sit at home … not with fishing in the air! I took a short drive southwest from our property and found a small DNR lake with a short portage … and along with my 3 weight rod, dropped my float tube into the dark water and shoved off.

Three casts later I felt a pop and slowly brought to hand a nice pike …. maybe 25 inches in total. Clearly that was the sign I needed and switched to a bite proof leader and tied on a yellow reverse tied bucktail fly … and off I went.

The lap around the lake took about 90 minutes and the pike were cooperating as I was able to catch and bring to hand a few nice fish. I love fishing these small lakes and can’t get enough of them … which is good as we have over 800 named lakes in Burnett County.

When you watch the video (at about the 4 minute mark), I noted that I had caught three pretty odd looking pike, while I didn’t know the answer and was relatively sure that pike and walleye wouldn’t hybridize … I emailed the resident expert, Craig Roberts. Craig’s official title is … Fisheries Biologist – Washburn and Burnett Co./Bureau of Fisheries Management. And frankly a pretty darn nice guy to answer my questions both quickly and efficiently! Craig confirmed that my fish were indeed pike and not a walleye or any other strange creature. “So I think there are several factors contributing to the colors you observed. First, the dark water is likely contributing to the golden color. Tannic water will give fish that dark tannic/golden color.” … says Craig. Very interesting for sure, the color of the water, and up here it is often due to the tannins that flow from the surrounding forest, make or contribute to the color of the fish. Who’d a thunk it?

Secondly, Craig went on to tell me that pike will exhibit a few pattern variations where they don’t display ovals! Wow, the second lesson learned …. below is a photo that Craig provided that clearly shows four different patterns of markings … and yep, they’re all pike!

Pike in four phases
“Last, the bumps and black spots is actually a parasite that we see on fish in many of our lakes called black spot disease. These are common in small pike.” … Craig once again educated me! So …. you ask, what is black spot disease? Well, rather than try and tell you …. here is a link that will solve the mystery. Please give it a read as it is short and extremely interesting.

I also interviewed Craig Roberts about his job, his background and learned a bit more about smallmouth bass in Wisconsin. To read that interview, click here.

So, what kind of crazy is that? Who knew …. maybe you did, but I certainly didn’t and frankly, I love to eat fish, but not the ones with crunchy black spots!

Anyway ….. I hope you enjoyed this short teaching moment and if you have anything to add to the topic, please go below and drop a note in the comment section …. and remember, Bon appétit!

I hope you enjoy this short video along with a little peek at my first smallmouth of the year in a bonus section. You might also note that I have a new boat … I have purchased an Outcast boat much like my Voyager and that was also the first day with it out on the water (more to come later).

Remember you can leave a comment below or you can reach me at flyfishingwithjeff@gmail.com as well. You can also follow me on Twitter @flyfishingjeffc. Thanks for checking in with me today and have a great day. Gal 6:9


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