Northern Pike Fly In Fishing
Hearne Lake Lodge
Northern Pike Esox Lucius
In Canada the Northern Pike is often called a Jackfish. It can have different color variations from lake to lake or sometimes even in the same lake there will be variations in color.
Residing at our fly in only Hearne Lake Lodge year round allows us to open earlier then other lodges at this latitude, catching the pike spawn from beginning to end.
The large northern pike females begin to spawn as soon as the winter ice starts to break up in early June. They will migrate from the deeper lake and head into shallows bays, not all bays though, just the ones cut off by a reef or point from the cold lake water. These bays warm quickly with the long northern daylight hours. A female northern pike can lay thousands of eggs which will attach themselves to underwater vegetation and bottom, until they hatch in about two weeks, depending upon the water temperature. Of course the further north you get, the later the spawn. It is not uncommon to catch 44-48 inch fish which weigh from 18-32 lbs. Bigger fish are caught, but not often. In the far north it takes a long time to grow a big fish, sometimes up to thirty years of growth will be required to reach real trophy pike size.
Northern Pike have quite a wide variance of weight depending on the time of year it is caught. You can catch a 48 inch pike in early spring, just after it has spawned and is tired and beat up and it will weigh 18 pounds. The same fish caught in late summer or early fall could weigh in at 25-28 pounds after it has fed all summer, and is in prime shape and ready to face our 8 month winter.
Unlike the more southern waters of Canada that cool down at dark, above the 60th parallel with our long hot summer days the shallow water temperature rises quickly and remains at a temperature too hot for bait or fish. The large females will migrate out of the spawning shallows and spread throughout the main lake holding on or near structure and shore. During this time the catch numbers of large females will drop. You can still release hundreds of pike but the big girls get a lot harder to find during July and August. The largest fish eat larger prey, not wanting to waste calories chasing minnows and such. The Northern Pike is born to kill and anything on or in the water is fair game, including sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and cousins! They will take baby ducks, loons, muskrats, mice, whitefish, grayling, burbot, lake trout, and any other fish species found in the lake and river. You will catch a 10 pound pike with an 6 pound pike protruding from its mouth or while retrieving a 36 inch fish, have a 48 inch pike grab it by the side. Sometimes not letting go to the point of netting. I think large pike and the lake trout's favorite food is the burbot. We find many a fish with a burbot tail protruding from its mouth. A burbot is a bottom feeder sometimes called a freshwater ling or ling cod.