Pike on the Fly – Gangler’s Lodge Manitoba

by | Jun 27, 2019 | pike on the fly | 1 comment

Ganglers-LodgeIf you travel and fly fish but haven’t done the northern pike thing yet you’re missing out.  Yes its great to sneak to the flats in the winter and perhaps out West or to Alaska in the summer.  But honestly, if you haven’t fly fished for pike yet, its time.


Jeff-Currier-northern-pikePike are one of my favorites.  Growing up in Massachusetts I chased the smaller member of the pike family, the chain pickerel.  I loved fishing them so much as a kid that I purposely went to college in Northern Wisconsin so I could upsize to pike.  That was it.  Four years in the Great Northwoods and pike officially became a part of my life.


Jeff-Currier-flyfishingThis is my sixth trip to Canada to fly fish for pike and my first time up here at Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge.  The waters here in Northern Manitoba have produced some of the biggest pike caught the last few years.  That’s why I use my 9-weight Winston Air.  Also, you’re tossing big flies and fishing them either on or at least near the surface so a floating line is needed.  Because the flies are huge you need a line that does most the work for you.  Taper is everything and I think the best line is the new Scientific Anglers Titan Long.


pike-fliesI keep my leader simple.  Keep in mind I want to land these fish not dillydally around and lose them against a sharp rock or in the weeds.  I also want to land them fast so they swim away healthy.  I go with 5-feet of 40lb Fluorocarbon straight off my fly line and then attach 18” of 35lb wire to withstand their sharp teeth.  I’m ready for action!


Ganglers-Lodge-Jeff-CurrierThe weather was ok to fly today so Ken set us up for a short flight on the Twin Otter to Blackfish Lake.  Ronnie was our guide again and he knows this lake like the back of his hand.  He was excited for the day just like we were.


Canada-fishingThe flight was great.  Every time I do a fly-in in Canada I’m blown away by all the lakes and the amazing coniferous forest beneath.  This is wild country up here.  We landed around 9 AM and unloaded our gear.  Each of Ken’s fly in lakes is equipped with a boat and motor waiting for us to arrive.  Imagine, he has 20 fly in lakes that are always ready for action.  Gangler’s is an amazing operation!


northern-pike-fishingWe took off under partly cloudy skies without a flicker of wind.  Its astonishing how such big lakes can be like glass.  Sure, I saw some calm days at Lake Winnipesaukee earlier this month but its never glass because there’s always waves from the heaps of boat traffic.


fly-fish-pikeWhen we stopped at the first spot it looked incredible.  I took the bow while Shaun held the camera.  I was 100% sure I was going to come out of this bay with about ten pike landed and one over 35”.  That’s how perfect this place looked.  But to our disbelief, I caught two tiny ones and that was it.


pikeBig pike like sun and warmed up shallow bays.  With all the weather that’s been lingering this week the bays are cold and the pike are deep.  But most the bays have dark bottoms so we knew all we needed was a couple hours of sun.  And no doubt it was breaking through the clouds.


Jeff-Currier-lake-troutWhile waiting for things to heat up, Ronnie suggested a run at some lake trout.  Honestly, I’d lake trout fish as much as we pike fished this week.  I love the chunky char and know how big they get up here.  We fished them for an hour just before lunch and each caught a few small ones.  The colors on them is stunning!


Ganglers-shore-lunchWe landed a few pike this morning despite the cold conditions and they were the exact right size for our shore lunch.  There’s no way Shaun and I were missing Ronnie’s shore lunch.  We kicked back on a beautiful sandy point where we could fish while Ronnie cooked.  Once again the food was spectacular.


pike on flyAfter lunch, and after the sun had been beating the water a few hours, is when things turned around for our pike fishing.  The very first bay we went into we found a ton of pike.  While most were under 30”, I nailed the first decent one of about 38”.


jeff-currier-pikeBig pike are strong but don’t expect an insane reel screaming run.  With pike its all about the take.  Imagine your fly hits the water and you can see it coming through the water.  From fifteen feet away a wake starts and its making a beeline for your fly.  The pike explodes on you feathers and you’re on.  It’s a tug o war and some thrashing.  Sometimes, especially with the 30 inchers, you get a jump.  But all in all you have a nice fish landed in less than three minutes.  Again, this is ok, its all about the way they eat your fly.  Its thrilling to say the least!


Gangler's-LodgeWe went on to have a great afternoon with the pike.  We didn’t get any to 40” like we’re after but Shaun got plenty of good photos of the fish themselves and some of the wakes to my fly and hook ups.  Weather looks good for tomorrow with continued sunshine.  If it makes things even better than today – tomorrow could be our 40” plus day.  Dinner time!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

1 Comment

  1. Tad Einloth

    Beautiful fish!


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!