The Elusive Northern Pike of Algoma

Why Catching Pike on a Fly is Addicting

Updated: By Mark Melnyk

Every single guide you fish with will have the same advice while fishing for Northern pike, “make sure you fish it right back to the boat and don’t ever take your eyes off the fly!” Every single guide that says this is 100% correct. Fishing for pike on the fly is one of the most adrenaline-inducing, knee-knocking, nervous-making activities you can do on the water. Why? Because pike will attack, when you least expect it, closer to you than you’d ever imagine and with the anger and violence of a caged tiger. No matter their size. And that is exactly why fishing for northern pike on the fly in Algoma Country is so addicting!


Northern pike live in most waters in Algoma Country be they rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. They are generally the apex predator feeding on anything they can fit in their mouths. However, being cool water fish, they will travel in the water column to find their optimal temperature range for comfort and anglers should pay attention to the time of year and how it relates to targeting active fish.

Spring Fishing For Pike


Springtime is arguably the best time to target big fish in cool water. Just after ice-out, northern pike will be related to deeper drops adjacent to their spawning bays often coming up on the flat to recover feed post-spawn. This is an optimal time to sight fish big pike cruising the shallow flats. The fish will be on the look for baitfish in shallow darker bottomed bays, the bays that warm up in quickly in the spring sun, generally sprout vegetation first, (increased oxygen) and attract prey for pike. They will hang around these areas until they need to search for food, or the water gets too warm for their individual comfort.

Summer Fishing For Pike


As the water warms, the fish will move to deeper water or a source of cooler water such as an inflow to a lake for example. Fly anglers should consider adding an intermediate sinking line or a full sink line to get your flies deeper into the fish or increase your fly sink rate. The warmer the surface temperature the more likely the fish will search out their optimal temperature range (18-21 Degrees C or mid 60’s Fahrenheit).  In summer months, water column versatility is key to big pike success.

Fall Fishing For Pike


In the fall time, as the weather starts to turn cool, and water temperatures start to drop, pike come back up shallow in search of big offerings getting themselves ready for winter. They feed voraciously leading up to the winter season. Fall is a wonderful time to target active aggressive pike. Considering pike are generally a “lie in wait” predator, you can expect to target big fish on ambush points such as points, weed edges, rocky structure, beaver huts etc. Big flies which emulate what pike may eat naturally will be the ticket. Walleye patterns, perch and other baitfish patterns will see success.


Northern pike are all over Algoma Country. Plentiful, aggressive and not overly technical, they are a perfect adversary on the fly for beginners and experts alike.  Just remember, when you’re retrieving your fly, fish it all the way back to the boat as pike will seek, stalk and explode on your fly often right at your feet as you pull the fly out of the water! They can be that aggressive!  It’s clear over and over again as pike aren’t phased by the presence of you or even your boat.  Pike are the perfect predator on fly-in Algoma Country!

About Mark Melnyk

Currently, Mark is the host and producer of The New Fly Show. With a passion of fly fishing, the shows goal is to help both novice and veteran fly fishers everywhere by giving them a top-quality fly fishing series that will make them better anglers.

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