How to Catch Northern Pike by the Season

The sound of oars on the water filled the silence on Captain Steve Pogozensky’s Stealthcraft Power Drifter, also known as Pogo. It was one of those pauses in conversation that comes with fishing from a drift boat, a bit of silence that allowed me to hear the oars as we approached another spot. Steve paddled in the middle while my friend Scott Tyrrell and I cast to northern pike with big flies and swimbaits on the bank structure.

I removed the line and got ready to cast, the sound of the paddle was now accompanied by the hiss of my 10 fly lines whizzing the air erratically. I cast the fly close to the bank and brought it back to the boat. Take it easy. Bearing. Steve almost whispered. It was a good composition – what Steve would call a reward for me. We expected this result, even though there were a hundred other castings that day that failed.

I’ll drown the fly. Kick the water, Steve told me. I lowered the bar and took it off. You could see the fly at a depth of 30 cm. After I undressed, the fly stopped, circled and turned on its side. Just like in the movies, the monster made his dramatic entrance: The fish that gives children nightmares swallowed a fly. I made the strap as tight as I could, and my rod bent under the weight of the pike. I said I was in, and that the fish would be wrapped up halfway through the trip.

It was a shocking, brutal and precise shot. The fly simply disappeared into the mouth of the enraged predator.

Pike season

  • Cold water: The pike find calmer waters.
  • Hot water: Pike is looking for power or depth.

The place to fish for pike depends more on the water temperature than the season. Pogo broke my year by determining where the fish should be. Monitoring follows two basic rules: In cold water, fish look for slower areas, and as the water warms, they look for the current or depth.


In the winter, the pike move to the slower parts of the river. You can catch them, but their metabolism slows down. Change the view by going slower, and always use an eight. Sometimes you have to sell your offer to a rotten fish. Winter is a good time for big fish, but not necessarily for numbers.


In the spring, pike go into pre-spawn mode and wade as the water temperature approaches 40 degrees. Laying is difficult because they are mobile, so cover the water to find fish by focusing on the emerging weeds.

Finding pike during the year depends on the water temperature.


After spawning, a period of intense activity begins. Pike stay in shallow water and follow the search for food. The optimal metabolic temperature is about 66 degrees, and they feed aggressively once the water reaches that temperature. In early spring, reduce the number of flies offered to mimic the smaller profile of young lures.


Water above 75 degrees reaches an avoidance level for pike, as they are a cold-water fish. Hot water makes them tense. An ethical fisherman should fish during the cooler parts of the summer day – dawn and dusk. Handle predators with care and quickly return them to the water. Give them life by keeping them in the flow – they will tell you when they are ready.


In late August, the nights are cooler and the water temperatures lower. Rations are plentiful because their instincts tell them that a cold period of inactivity is coming. Fall is one of the best times of year to fish for pike, and it’s a great time to find some real trophy fish.

Pike fishing

The more time you spend fishing for a species, the more data you gather that you can apply in future situations. Since the guides live on the water, it makes sense to listen to them. I did it with Steve and learned the technique, where to find the fish and the equipment needed to catch them.

Stephen Pogo Pogodzienski specializes in fly fishing for pike in Connecticut.

pike flies

Pike flies are tied in three parts: The tail is the foundation; the hackle feathers add length, profile and movement; and the flare adds to the appeal. These three parts, which repeat the shaft of the hook, form the head of the fly.

are bound in three parts: The bucktail forms the base, the hackle feathers provide length, profile and movement and the flash adds to the attraction.

The movement of these large flies in the water, kicking and sliding, was mesmerizing. I made slow, long strips and watched the fly’s head push the water around its wide profile. Then I paused to give the pike a push as the fly floated and wiggled to the side to show the next fish its full, massive profile. Finally, I tore the fly apart and brought it to the other side.


Fly fishing for pike requires weighted rods, from class 8 to 12, as heavy rods and large flies are not easy to cast.


The beginner will have a sore arm after fishing. Have the personnel stoop, load and fire at the target.

After casting, work the fly and drive it. Keep the rod tip pointed at your fly. Keep as straight a line as possible between your rod and the fly, as a weak line makes it harder to hook.


Striping is an essential part of pike fishing. When you lift the rod after striking, the fly moves away from the fish.

When fly fishing in freshwater, it is usually normal to lift the rod tip to set the hook when a take is made. This is exactly the opposite of what you should do when fishing for pike. Instead, keep the rod tip pointed at the fly and quickly pull a strip through the rings until you can’t take it anymore.

Pogo recommended that I join during one of the men’s breaks, during a break from work to regroup, hydrate and rest. He said to me: Throw a streamer into the turf. Throw it in the weeds. Put a fly on it, feel the contact with the grass and remove it. I did and after a few pitches, I developed a mantra that helped me. Unzipping my pants, I repeat the words to myself: Take off your clothes. Price. It prepares me, and when the time comes to act, I feel mentally prepared.

Pike Connecticut

Pogo leads into northwestern Connecticut for pike and smallmouth bass. There is a learning curve to getting to know each new species. As Pogo told me, there’s no substitute for time on the water, but booking a guide can ease that curve.

Pogo began fly fishing in 2009, a natural progression after chasing steelhead with conventional gear. He developed a passion for fly fishing and hired a guide to teach him on the Housatonic River, where he is from. He learned to catch nymphs and trout with streamers, and eventually stumbled upon smallmouths. He started fishing for pike and eventually smelt.

Pogo sails the pike waters of New England.

When he caught his first pike on the fly, it was all over for Steve. He was suddenly not interested in trout, even the big ones. He saw a pike wake up on a Dahlberg culvert ten feet away and landed the fish shaky, immediately hooked.

Steve dedicated himself to looking for birds of prey, and the journey that began in Connecticut took him to the North Woods and Mid-South. Steve believes that Boen, with whom he has fished several times, has had an influence on him. I am also indebted to Steve for teaching me how to fish for pike.

When I came to Western Connecticut under Pogo to fish for pike, I wanted two things: Shoot for pike and learn from one of New England’s best predatory fishing guides. I had shots, and finally counted one. With a huge pike in the net, the silence on the boat was replaced by shouts of joy.

I started fly fishing for pike by accident more than 10 years ago, when I was fishing for bass in a small, slow-flowing tributary of Lake Connecticut with stag horn beetles. I went downstream and worked a large deer hair mouse in a gentle arc from the middle of the river to the bank and back to me. As he swam, he left a trail on the surface, his rabbit tail waving and flapping.

Always carry pliers to remove hooks from the mouth of pike.

The first pike appeared like a ghost behind the fly. At first I couldn’t believe it was a fish. Suddenly there he was, a dark green silhouette of a chase, a haunting vision. As I emptied the mouse, I could feel the hunger in the movements of the pike following me. I moved the fly, its tail dancing, and the pike moved beneath it, patiently hunting. But then, with a stroke of my pectoral fins, I felt him go wild. Despite the fact that he was holding back, there was an almost imperceptible urgency in his movements as he delivered the blows. Finally, she exploded forward and took the fly. My bass player didn’t stand a chance. The fish didn’t stay on the hook, but I stayed on the hook.

I quickly learned that catching pike with a fly is difficult, even for a good caster. Heavy fly line and casting pike flies require good technique, stamina and effort. In my early pike classes, I compiled a list of back-to-back attributes that attested to effort and perseverance, if not technique. Every pitch where I drew a line and hit my point, I considered a success.

I asked Pogo how he could tell the difference between the spots, i.e. how he could distinguish spot A from spot B. I told him that we were sailing past fallen trees and river bends that looked fishy to me. Why didn’t he drop an anchor on her? He said: Time on the water. No time change on the water. I made a mental note: Keep working.

Steve uses two boats: a Stealthcraft Power Drifter jet boat as his main boat and a raft to reach shallower waters. The jet boat makes it easy to get around. It can quickly propel the current upstream, putting Steve over his sweet spot, and then it drifts back to his sweet spot. Pogo can read the temperature of the water and, thanks to electronics, can recognize the composition of the soil; he knows his water well.

I have always taken pride in identifying fish species, finding out where they live and catching them. Much of this happiness is due to the good will and camaraderie among the fishermen. Pogo gave me a chance to jump a pike in preparation for my trip to Wisconsin Muskie.

Wisconsin Pike and Mask

A friend of mine suggested I contact Brad Bohen of Hayward, Wisconsin. Brad has led the sport of fly fishing for many years, developing and spreading the sport and creating flies that have been widely copied. We talked and I decided to book him for a trip.

What seemed impossible finally happened as I watched a 42-inch muskie rise and leap from the Wisconsin River, its entire body kicking and flailing like a horse. I was finally in Wisconsin and got bitten. That was my peak moment, catching predators at their peak. I’ve never seen anything like the face I saw there, in water up to my waist, with my ten weights bent into a cap. I’ve never felt so alive with a rod in my hand.

Pike and muskie fishing is a more pristine experience than any other freshwater species in the Northeast can offer.

Boen spent his childhood exploring the St. Marys River. Cross. He fished for anything that swam, but eventually limited himself to musky fishing with the fly. One of the goals is to capture muskellunge in every state where they occur.

Flycatchers across the country have used Bohen’s design and tactics. While many fly designers work with large retailers, I prefer to source my flies from independent fly tappers like Bohen. I have rewarded some of Boen’s flies, especially his Buford.

All pike and muskie flies come on a platform with a flowing tail tied behind the head, which makes an excellent lure. The buford’s head is a sparse dorsal tail that propels the water and pushes the fly from left to right, where it almost comes to a stop like a slippery bait, Mark Burns of the Urban Fly Company told me recently.

If you have the right amount of line, you can control that line and move it from side to side, then stop and start again, Burns explained to me. The coiled head acts as a buoy that pulls the fly up after it has disengaged from the intermediate line.

Fishing for pike and muskie brings you closer to a pristine experience than any other freshwater species in the United States. As Boen said in one of our conversations: You are your fly. It’s a miniature version of you. You keep it busy and give it a soul. Barriers, you are the bait. Therein lies such an element of fear.

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Article : How to catch Connecticut River northern pike.

frequently asked questions

At what time of year is Pike most active?


How to catch pike in summer

Can you fish all year round?

Many anglers fish from October until the traditional river season ends on the 15th. Walk on the pike. Some are waiting for the first frost of autumn. Many other anglers fish for pike all year round. … Those with a long memory and a sense of tradition can stop fishing altogether at the end of the season.

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