Hunt for a Jumbo Manitoba Pike

by | Jun 28, 2019 | Ganglers North Seal River Lodge

fly-fishing-for-walleyeWhen you lose two days of fishing at an incredible place thanks to weather, you find yourself trying to cram more in on the days you do get.  Shaun Lawson and I only get three of our five days up here at Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge in Manitoba but we made the best of the first two days by fishing longer than normal.  Then today we took it a step further.  Before our fly-out we slipped over to the walleye hole right out in front of the lodge.

 

Jeff-Currier-walleyeWhen I teach my warmwater fly fishing classes during show season I’m often asked if you can catch walleye on the fly.  My answer is always – “of course!”  Walleye feast on baitfish and leeches and I don’t know about you, but my streamer boxes are full of such patterns.  The key is to get your fly down to them which during the day this is around 16 feet and in the evening expect them in the shallows.  I picked up several to start the day and their wild looks never fail to impress me.

 

fly-in-fishingAt 9 AM it was all aboard on the Havilland Beaver.  In my eyes this is the greatest airplane of all time.  You can trust it in the toughest of flying conditions and for me, the Beaver always means a great day of fishing is in the making.

 

Manitoba-lakesToday we flew 36 miles south and landed on Neekik Lake to hunt for our 40” plus northern pike.  We had Ronnie with us again and he was quick to tell us that two years ago he caught a 46” pike here.  Not only were Shaun and I excited but so was Ronnie.

 

Gangler's-LodgeThe plane pulled us up exactly where the Gangler’s boat was stashed and we unloaded the plane and loaded up the boat.  I was going to keep only one rod at my fingertips, that being my pike rod, but Ronnie suggested we hit a walleye hole for a half hour and catch six of freshwaters tastiest fish for our shore lunch.  “Not a problem”, we nodded and there are so many in this lake we had six in ten minutes!

 

pike-on-flyLots of walleyes in turn usually means big pike.  Pike feast on walleyes and more than once I’ve had a pike rip a walleye off my line while I was landing one.  I packed away my walleye rig and broke out my 9-weight with the same big orange fly (by the way tied by my friend Brad Bohen) I’ve used all three days.  Then I went to work pounding my fly to the edge of the weed beds.

 

pike-fliesThings started slow.  Very slow.  A half hour in Ronnie, who doesn’t say much, chirped up to let us know that there’s not many pike here but they’re big.  This is the kind of fishing I prefer and its a good thing I keep my focus no matter what because only a few minutes after, I hooked into the first nice pike.

 

jeff-currier-pikeHe was no 40” but a substantial pike anywhere in the lower 48.  Shaun cranked off a few shots and I released him.  Then I proceeded to catch about five more this size.  It was really epic fishing and somehow we just knew, our real beast was going to happen.

 

northern-pikeWe changed places a few times.  When we first started on Neekik I thought we were looking at the entire lake.  But Ronnie took us around a corner and man – this lake is huge.  We ventured into a mile long narrow bay – all the way to the back and there they were – more nice pike all sunning.  It was a chunky pike every cast and I kicked back and watched Shaun enjoy a few.

 

shaun-lawson-yellow-dogShaun and I are holding most the pike from the boat.  But I’ll give you a tip – always bring your waders in the boat when you fish for pike.  That is if you want to get photos then release the pike.  You don’t need to wear them but have them.  Big pike are amazingly difficult to handle and hold for photos.  They often slip and twist away from you and smash into the bottom of the boat.  It happened to us a few times even with the small pike and obviously its not good for them.  I have the boot foot Simms and they are always handy.

 

Ganglers-LodgeAfter pummeling the warm shallow bays but not exceeding a pike beyond 38” it was time for our walleye shore lunch.  It was also time to figure out what our best plan of attack would be to get that one huge pike with only a few hours left.  Ronnie suggest after we finished that we go fling the big pike fly where we caught the walleyes.  Ronnie and I were on the same page.

 

Manitoba-pikeInstead of dropping pike flies down deep where the walleyes were now, we fished the rocky shallows nearby.  It seemed sensible to me that a monster pike might be sunning and waiting for the walleyes to come shallow later tonight, but at the same time, jump on a great big hunk of orange feathers if the opportunity presented itself.

 

Jeff-Currier-big-fish

We were correct and soon came one of the most exciting takes you can imagine.  My fly had just arrived to the side of the boat after a long cast.  As always, before lifting it from the water, I scanned behind my fly looking for a follower.  Sure enough, below my fly was the elusive shadow of the predator.  I started a sweep for the first part of the famous figure 8.  Wham!  “On!  And it’s a big one boys!”, I shouted with excitement.

 

pike-fishingThis was the one.  The difference between this one and the 38 inchers we’d been enjoying was significant.  And off he went to the races.  This pike ran line off my reel and bullied me around with authority.  Then the long fish ended up sulking in the walleye hole deep down.  I had to hoist him back with every bit of backbone my Winston Air would give me.  Finally he was close enough for Ronnie to nail him with the net.

 

jeff-currier-pike

When I saw the size of him I put my rod down and went for my waders.  This is the exact precious pike you want to handle with utmost care and send him back unharmed.  As I slipped on my waders Shaun gathered his camera gear and while holding the pike in the net in the water, Ronnie eased us to this pretty spot for photos.

 

fly-patterns-for-pike

This is damn nice pike!  He sort of reminds me of the big muskie I caught last October.  That musky was 46”.  This guy was shy of that but a 40 plus inch beast nonetheless.  Using the water to support the pike, I waited for Shaun to be ready.  Then I raised the enormous pike for photos.  In less than a minute we were done and I enjoyed as this awesome creature returned to the wild waters of Northern Manitoba where there’s a very good chance he wont ever meet another human again.

 

walleye-fliesWe caught several more fantastic pike messing around in the walleye area.  Then came the walleyes.  Its like clockwork, at around 7 PM the walleyes were eating my pike fly in 5-feet or water.  The pike seemed gone and we relished in some fun walleye fishing for the last hour.

 

We were retrieved by the plane shortly after 8 PM.  Another phenomenal day in the books.  Fishing here from Gangler’s Lodge is nothing less than spectacular.

 

Manitoba-fishingIts always sad when you reel in after the last cast at the end of a trip.  I hate it, especially this week because three days simply wasn’t enough.  But that’s life and I’ll just have to come back soon.  I love fly fishing for pike, walleye, lake trout and hopefully next time we’ll mess with the Arctic grayling.

 

Ganglers-LodgeThat closes the book on this great trip to Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge in Manitoba.  I’m certain that for many of you readers this is a place you need to cast a fly.  No doubt Yellow Dog will be taking on this destination so feel free to contact them and go directly to Shaun.  And always feel free to contact me about anything.

 

Time for the long journey home. . . .

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

0 Comments

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!

Archives

Sponsors