6-20-04 - First Northern Pike ON THE FLY!
Waters Fished: Sugar Lake
Fish Caught: 2.5
Outing Date: 6-20-04
Air Temp: 70's
Water Temp: didn't bother
Water Level: up
Water Color: clear and slightly stained, easily 7-8 feet visibility
Fish Species: Bluegill, Rock Bass, Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass
Pattern Fished: Flying bunnies
Pattern Color: black & olive; tan and white
Fishing Quality: I'm happy
How about this; let's start off with the most recent
DNR survey of Sugar Lake! This is all I knew going into the
trip...I was relatively jazzed. Some folks on the WFF message board
Fly Fishing) had given me last minute tips for Pike fishin'
and I was ALL SET to do this. I had heard about Pike Fishing with
a Fly Rod, heck we tried to chase Musky a few weeks back. Time to
stop TRYING and start DOING.
I got up LATE and right away got on the water...first
fish to come in was a Rock Bass. While waiting around I got some
great picks of the orgy that was the bluegills at the end of the
pier. Man there were nests everywhere.
Renee is up and about and it's time to take a ride
in the Paddleboat. Grandma will ring the bill when breakfast is
ready. Well we get out and there's just a slight breeze....maybe
a couple feet from shore the silty/sandy bottom gives way to weed
growth. THIS IS IT, this is what I was told to look for.
I spend a lot of time flogging the water with a
black & olive flying bunny. Nothing is happening. Well, I did
see a couple smaller bluegills give chase, but that was about it.
Even if we weren't catching anything we were still having a good
time enjoying the morning on the lake.
So then it happened...these guys in a boat pull
up, make ONE cast and hit a northern the length of my arm. What
is it with fishermen showing off right in front of me this weekend?!?!!?!
I noted that it looked like a silver spoon on the end of his line;
mental note..change flies....
After a quick change to a lighter color (Tan with
White Tail) we got back to fishin. The wind wasn't heading from
any particular direction, so for the most part we simply drifted
about and fished. Every couple casts I'd had Renee the line, showed
her how to hold the rod and how to strip in. Well, we're getting
blown out kinda far, so I decide it's time to back us up a bit closer
to shore. I hand the rod to Renee.
"OH MY GOD THERE'S SOMETHING ON THE END OF
THIS!" shouts Renee as the line goes tight in her hands and
starts cutting to the left. SWEET this is sooooo cool. I'm trying
to explain to hold on but I really hadn't explained at all what
she should do when a fish hit...heck I hadn't been that optimistic.
I noticed a lot of slack in her lap...I started to reel in but the
reel jammed up on the line...great.
And this all happens in like 2 seconds...Renee
looks at me, says "I have no clue what to do" and hands
me the rod. Since the reel is still jammed up with line I strip
retrieve. All too quickly the fight is done and there we are with
the first Northern Pike on the Fly. 1/2 hers, 1/2 mine, ALL smiles.
I wasn't about to be the only one who DIDN'T catch
a northern that morning, so we paddled in closer to shore where
Grandma had noted that "folks tend to fish a lot over there".
As we got there I could see why...the bottom here was much steeper...weeds
were in much closer to shore. NICE....maybe here I'd get lucky.
Well of course, I too did end up getting lucky.
My line went tight and I set the hook....no problem bringing in
my DINKER SNAKE HAMMERHANDLE whatever you want to call it...a cute
little Pike that'd look nice in a 20 gallon aquarium LOL! But it
was my first northern on the fly, and that was what I set out to
do. Mission Accomplished!
And shortly thereafter the breakfast bell rang.
We turned around (not an easy thing to do in a Paddleboat) and headed
for Grandma's. As we approached, I was watching the bottom looking
at the weeds, structure, whatever we might see along the way.
"STOP" I shouted! "I'm gonna catch
"What Bass?" Renee queried?
"Just give me a couple casts..." as I
started hauling line. As we had passed a submerged log I had noticed
a bass moving for cover. I figured I had a good shot if we hadn't
The first cast resulted in nothing. I think Renee
was kinda thinking "um, it's breakfast Matt, time to stop fishing"...but
I laid out my second cast right where it should've been...I was
confident. As the fly sank, a form moved upwards, a white circle
appeared behind my fly, and then disappeared and my fly was now
gone too.....Man I if I didn't SET THAT HOOK!
This was actually a fun fight, even though I was
still totally outmatched using my 9wt. In no time a nice Largemouth
Bass came to hand...Renee snapped a few pics while I was fighting
and landing and well, there you have it. I was very happy to leave
with a respectable fish to show for our 45 MINUTES of effort.
I am so glad Renee convinced me to go. Everyone
I met was simply wonderful. It was a nice wedding, my best wishes
for a long and happy marriage to Brad and Martha, but during that
ceremony I think you ALL know where I really wanted to be ;) Heck,
not to mention there was yet another lake sitting just outside the