Pike setup for Canada?

#1
I'll be headed up to northern Manitoba with family this summer for a fishing trip focusing mostly on pike. I've never fished for pike before, let alone on fly, but I'm super pumped about it. From pictures I've seen, there are some big ol' pike up there. So, I wanted to ask what anyone with experience in that region might recommend for a setup. 8 weight or 10 weight rod? I picked up a Rio pike/musky 11 wt line for really cheap to try and use on my 10 wt but am concerned it'll be too heavy - I haven't tried it out yet. I also have some rio toothy critter leaders which I believe have wire on the end. And, finally, flies. Thanks for any help!
 
#2
An 8wt will work but a 10wt would be better. Your arm will thank you at the end of the day. You should be able to get away with the 11wt flyline on a 10wt. It’s going to depend on the 10wt. I use large EP style flies, deer head patterns and flies with lead eyes. Google pike flies you will get lots of patterns. Sometimes they want it sitting in front of them and other times a lead eye fly with some jigging motion will entice a strike. Yellow, chartreuse and black will cover colors. If they won’t eat one of those colors they are not there or not interested in feeding. Definitely bring large saltwater poppers. The real fun with pike is topwater. Also, toothy critter leader sucks. Get yourself a package of knot 2 kinky. Make sure to have a long forceps and jaw spreaders with, if not expect a blood bath and it won’t be the pike bleeding.
 
#3
An 8wt will work but a 10wt would be better. Your arm will thank you at the end of the day. You should be able to get away with the 11wt flyline on a 10wt. It’s going to depend on the 10wt. I use large EP style flies, deer head patterns and flies with lead eyes. Google pike flies you will get lots of patterns. Sometimes they want it sitting in front of them and other times a lead eye fly with some jigging motion will entice a strike. Yellow, chartreuse and black will cover colors. If they won’t eat one of those colors they are not there or not interested in feeding. Definitely bring large saltwater poppers. The real fun with pike is topwater. Also, toothy critter leader sucks. Get yourself a package of knot 2 kinky. Make sure to have a long forceps and jaw spreaders with, if not expect a blood bath and it won’t be the pike bleeding.
Thanks for the good info. Are there any other fly lines that you suggest? I may try to pick up one or two more.
 

Speyrod GB

Active Member
#4
I use an 11 wt Wulff triangle taper on my 10 wt. It works great. I also use a furled leader attached to the fly line, 25 Ultragreen (about 12-16 inches) than a wire leader to the fly. It has worked well on tigers.
 

MattB

Active Member
#5
Pike honestly don't fight very hard, but a 20lb dead weight still needs an appropriate rod to lift it up. Rod size is more for throwing the payload.

If I could only have one weight rod for pike, it'd be a 10. Get a floater, intermediate, and S3 line.

If you want to use wire, just make them yourself out of 49 strand .024 beadalon. Single strand titanium works great also. 80# fluoro works great too.

Big pike are temperature sensitive, if its a hot summer then you won't find them shallow. If there was a line you really don't need for summer piking, its the floater.
 
#6
Thanks for the good info. Are there any other fly lines that you suggest? I may try to pick up one or two more.
Make sure to have a type 3 sink in addition to your floating. When you say you're going in summer. Is that June, July or August? That makes a big difference. How far north as that also makes a big difference. Some more info and I should be able to give additional suggestions.
 

WildBrookie

Active Member
#7
Make sure to have a type 3 sink in addition to your floating. When you say you're going in summer. Is that June, July or August? That makes a big difference. How far north as that also makes a big difference. Some more info and I should be able to give additional suggestions.
I'll be up near Sand Lakes Provincial Park at the end of June
 

NDflyfisher

Active Member
#8
I'll be up near Sand Lakes Provincial Park at the end of June
I had to google that. I’ve got a good idea of where stuff is at in Manitoba but not up past Flin Flon. You should get into some good top water action if the weather cooperates. You will be about perfect for it in late June that far up. Large pike hitting poppers puts a salmon fly hatch on a trout stream to shame.
 

Northern

It's all good.
#9
What he just said! Best time for pike that far north - they should still be in shallow bays.
If you're throwing poppers, don't set on a strike unless you feel the fish or see it eat; they'll sometimes wallop it to stun it, then come back to grab it. And I'm sure you've heard to figure eight the fly next to the boat before pulling it out of the water. Not usually boat shy.
Not leader shy either, so if you're not offended by the idea, tie a snap swivel onto your wire leader so you don't have to keep retying wire to switch flies! If you bought the Rio TC pre-made leaders, they might already have one. (I agree TC wire sucks to tie)
 

Bjorn

Active Member
#10
And speaking of flies there are some nasty ones there at that time of year, wear a long sleeved shirt and the black flies love to get under your belt and gnaw away if you are unprepared. The bugs up there only have a 6-8 week window so it can be like a boarding house at dinner time!
 
#11
11wt line should be fine on your 10wt rod, remember no one is going to break any casting records with a pike fly! I took the wrong reel one day last fall, was easy to do cos I have 3 Hardy Ultralite 7000dd's with different pike lines, had to use a Vision Big Daddy 11-12wt on a Meridian 10wt & that was OK, but not as good as the Rio Scandinavian pike line in 10wt! Guideline makes in my opinion the best pike lines, but only in 8,9 & 10wt, float, intermediate & sink but don't have a welded loop! Vision Big Daddy lines are good too, any density & size, Big Mama in only 9wt! Make your own leaders, only need 5' of 0,50 mono or fluorocarbon & 1' of wire, can even use those ready made bite tippets spin people use! Good colour fly combos are pink&pearl, green&gold, my new favorite black with a bit of blue or purple or gold! Hope you have fun & remember that they have teeth!
 
#12
I fish a bit north west of there most years. Bring layers and your best rain gear.

As mentioned above; 10 weight is good, try some big foam poppers, throw tight to the lilly pads. Twitch and hang on. I like large blue over white Deceivers, 6"-8" black leeches, red/white, Green/ white, anything that looks like a baby perch or whitefish works.

Fish weed beds, reefs, rocky points early. Later fish off shore between islands and where bait fish have to pass for late season.

Short leaders are best, 4-5 ft incl. a wire bite tippet. Use heavy stiff mono to turn over big flies.

Depending on black flies/ mosquitoes you might want to bring a head net, DEET repellent is a must. On bad black fly days you might want light gloves.
 
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#13
I guided for pike in northern Sask, and have fished all over northern MB and NWT for big pike. All of the aforementioned information is gold. Don't forget dahlberg divers. I would recommend some of the knotable wire (like tyger) for leaders, or you can buy the cheap nylon coated multistrand wire and bring a lighter to twist and melt for each time you switch out. If you are not sure how to do this, i'm sure there are youtube videos explaining it. Especially for poppers, a lighter wire for leaders is useful, 15lb or at most 20 to prevent the fly from sinking, but the fish wont be leader shy and for sinking flies you can get away with whatever length and strength wire you like.

Your 10 wt will be great for casting large flies, but overkill for most of the fish. Some of the pike that you are fishing over will certainly be in the 20lb in june, and will be worthy adversaries for your 10wt. That said, Most will be ten pounds or less. If you can manage to bring a 7 or an 8 wt for tossing smaller flies, your arm will thank you. While some like to throw absolutely enormous flies for pike, 5-6 inch streamers are plenty large, and will land more softly, spooking fewer of the fish.
While pike have the reputation for being voracious, and it is certainly deserved, often they are not. Its very common to see some of the largest fish sunning themselves in very shallow water after a big meal, and they wont be as aggressive. A 5 inch bunny leech in black or yellow, laid softly within a few feet of them and slowly stripped is much more effective than ripping an enormous 10 inch long musky fly past their heads in those circumstances. For that kind of fishing, an 8 wt would be preferable but it is absolutely not necessary, and if you are on a budget, I would prioritize other items, like good material for making wire leaders, jaw spreaders, long pliers, bug spray, and simms sun gloves ( with the stripping finger) over setting up the other fly rod. That said, if you can swing an extra fly line, it's always good to have two setups in the boat (one surface, one subsurface)- it would be worth your while.

If you have a 5 or 6 weight with a sinking line, consider bringing it for walleye, with some clousers and conehead buggers, because let's be honest, those things are delicious.

As said before, your timing in june is excellent for big northerns, be sure to bring AT LEAST one pair of good polarized sunglasses because many of my largest fish while guiding were sight fished to during that time of year. Try to focus your efforts of dark bottom bays, bays with a northern shoreline and good southern exposure, bays with creeks flowing into them from smaller dark ponds, and river mouths. By end of june you may start to see some early weed growth, and pike will certainly be gravitating to that as well. It will depend largely on the timing of the ice out, but in the case of a late ice out, focus on the bays described, otherwise look for any weed growth.

Will you be on big sand lake or some of the smaller lakes along the s seal river circuit?
 
#14
11wt line should be fine on your 10wt rod, remember no one is going to break any casting records with a pike fly! I took the wrong reel one day last fall, was easy to do cos I have 3 Hardy Ultralite 7000dd's with different pike lines, had to use a Vision Big Daddy 11-12wt on a Meridian 10wt & that was OK, but not as good as the Rio Scandinavian pike line in 10wt! Guideline makes in my opinion the best pike lines, but only in 8,9 & 10wt, float, intermediate & sink but don't have a welded loop! Vision Big Daddy lines are good too, any density & size, Big Mama in only 9wt! Make your own leaders, only need 5' of 0,50 mono or fluorocarbon & 1' of wire, can even use those ready made bite tippets spin people use! Good colour fly combos are pink&pearl, green&gold, my new favorite black with a bit of blue or purple or gold! Hope you have fun & remember that they have teeth!
sounds like you have it pretty dialed in (!!!) but more geared to scandinavian style pike than canadian style. where do you fish?
Also, what do you like about the guideline pike lines? i have never used one, but sounds like you've tried them all... :)
 
#15
sounds like you have it pretty dialed in (!!!) but more geared to scandinavian style pike than canadian style. where do you fish?
Also, what do you like about the guideline pike lines? i have never used one, but sounds like you've tried them all... :)
I live in Turku & fish our archipelago South West Finland in the Baltic sea, lot of people don't realize pike also live in the salt! I fish from a float tube all the time, easy to sneak in to the hot spots stealthily & love the danger element of chining a big one onto my lap! The pike lines from Guideline don't have a birds nesting problem of the running line casting from my striping apron & they are not round, more of a rounded triangle with 3 ridges & don't hold water which is nice when you think i'll only be out there a short time & don't need neoprene gloves when it's cold! Itching to get out for spawners but everything is still iced over, we only have to good times, early spring as soon as the ice is gone & the fall, summer time they hide deep in cool water!
 

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