Pike, also referred to as the Northern Pike, are Holarctic in distribution, meaning you can find them in both the Northern Hemisphere’s freshwater and brackish water. Pike is a one of the most common prized game fish on the planet. As such, it’s no surprise why most fly fishers love looking for these toothy creatures.
I have dreamed of catching a giant Northern Pike that would go down in history. Plus, battling a massive record-breaking fish would be the thrill of a lifetime.
The world record northern pike currently weighs in at just over 55 lbs. Catching a pike that large is be definition being at the right place, at the right time doing everything right.
The Biggest Pike in the World (According To IGFA)
The world record Pike recorded according to the IGFA was caught in 1986 in Grefeern Lake, Germany. Lothar Luis caught the all-tackle world record pike, and it weighed about 55 pounds 1 ounce. Lothar has held the record for over 30 years, and it looks like he won’t be giving up his position anytime soon. (source)
Lothar fought the record pike for about 40 minutes. He beat the previous record of about 46 pounds that Peter Dubue held.
Guide Tip: Dustan Harley runs Ripple Guide Service. He targets monster pike in the southern Lake Michigan basin. He wouldn’t let me say where the pike pictures can from (his secret spots) If you love pike like I do, feel 100% confident that Ripple Guide Service can help you snap a picture of you holding a trophy.
A Little Bit About Pike
Pike are aggressive creatures, particularly when it comes to feeding. The need for space can also trigger aggressive behavior; in fact, adult pike steal food from young pike. When food is scarce, pike turn to cannibalism, especially when the prey to predator ratio is 1:2. Cannibalism is quite common in cool summers when young pike experience slow growth. (1)
These creatures have strong homing behaviors, and they are known to inhabit certain regions naturally. Pike group near vegetation in summer than in the winter, and on sunny days, they stay near shallow shores.
Plus, they can attain a maximum length of about 150cm. Still, they tend to be smaller in North America than in Eurasia. Pike is smaller in the inland parts than in the coastal regions of Eurasia. (1)
Scientists use several methods to determine the age of fishes. Still, the most common one is examining their scales and measuring their length. In North America, the most common way for determining the age of fish is by reviewing the annuli/rings on their scales. This method is effective and loved by most professionals because it’s non-lethal. (source)
|Age of Pike||Length of Pike||Weight of Pike|
|1 Year||23.4cm / 9.2 in||1 (0.14kg / 0.31lbs)|
|2 Years||36.1cm / 14.2in||2 (0.39kg / 0.85lbs)|
|3 Years||43.7cm / 17.3in||3 (0.49kg / 1.09lbs)|
|4 Years||52.8cm / 20.8in||4 (0.85kg / 1.87lbs)|
|5 Years||58.7cm /23.1in||5 (1.15kg / 2.53lbs)|
|6 Years||65.8cm / 25.9in||6 (1.71kg / 3.76lbs)|
|7 Years||72.9cm / 28.7in||7 (2.34kg / 5.15lbs)|
Lake Greffern is a small lake situated in Greffern village in Baden-Wurttemberg with a population of over 1940. Greffern is near Belm Alten Steinwerk, and its home to some of the biggest pike on the planet.
Lothar caught the all-tackle world record fish in 1986 while fishing on the shores of Lake Greffern. (source)
The lake is at an altitude of about 410ft. and the best fishing spot for anyone looking for an exotic European fishing spot away from the busy city life. But make sure you carry the right gear and a 10wt fly rod that can help you reel in some massive pike.
Innoko River, Alaska
Alaska is known for its vast wilderness, massive mountains, and big salmons that have attracted fly anglers from all over the globe. Unfortunately, Alaska is the most overlooked state when it comes to the pursuit of giant pike.
After all, when it comes to trophy northern pike is, Alaska, particularly the Innoko River, has no equal. The 500miles tributary of River Yukon is a haven for fly anglers looking for the biggest pike ever.
Innoko River flows from Kuskokwim Mountains towards Holy Cross, which merges with a more significant river. A considerable percentage of the river resides in Koyukuk-Yukon Census Area, where it flows through Innoko National Wildlife Refuge. (source)
The fishing season in Alaska starts in April and ends in October, with the peak beginning in June when pike are spawning. But make sure you carry your ten-weight fly rod for this trip if you plan on catching the biggest pike.
As aforementioned, Alaska is a haven for prized pike anglers; therefore, it’s no surprise the Yukon River finds a featured spot in our list. Yukon River is home to some of the biggest pike available, so you’re guaranteed a great fight every time a pike bites your fly.
This river originates from British Columbia before flowing into Yukon Territory, Canada. The lower section of the 1,980 miles long river stretches through Alaska before emptying into the Bering Sea.
Besides being home to the world’s longest salmon, Yukon is home to one of the line class world records. Bill Tenney caught a 34lb pike in 1991 on Yukon River. So, you can start fly fishing for pike in Yukon, Alaska, from as early as April, but the peak season is in June. Remember, you should always pack your 10-wt fly rod when visiting Yukon. (source)
Holitna River, Alaska
Created by the confluence of River Kogrukluk and Shotgun Creek east of Mountain Kuskokwim, Holitna River flows towards Sleetmute, where it meets with a vast river. Pike fishing on this river is a sleeper of a gem; however, when most folks think of pike fishing, they think of Canada.
But the truth of the matter is that Alaska is the home of giant pike. River Holitna has an overabundance of pike.
The best time to catch pike in the Holitna River is from late spring to early summer when they are hungry. After all, they have just come from winter, and the river is warming their metabolism, forcing them to eat.
Plus, the river expands in summer, which means little to no currents and more pike swimming around. (source) The best fly rod for pike fishing is the ten wt fly rod, and you should match it with a reliable reel and sinking line.
Big Pike in The News
In 2022, Jack Turner, a 35-year-old angler in Attleborough, Norfolk, caught a monster pike that weighed about 33lb, 13oz while fishing with his cousin. This catch was 13lbs short of the largest pike ever caught in the United Kingdom, and several news websites captured this moment.
You can read more about the news at Eastern Daily Press; here is the link: https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/attleborough-man-catches-giant-pike-in-norfolk-river-8629550.
If you plan on catching the biggest pike near your home town, then you should visit your home state’s Natural resources department site. If your home is not near a river or lake, you can look for the pike situated in the local lakes or ponds. After all, pike have been introduced in several landlocked water bodies all over the United States.
But if pike thrive in your waters, then you need to do more research and contact more fly anglers who love chasing pike. Remember, timing is the key to catching the biggest pike ever.
When chasing a world record pike, you should always have the right fly rod weight and line for the task at hand. Most fly rod weights between 8 and 10-wt can help you tackle these giant, powerful creatures.
So, before you pick the right rod and line, you should know where the pike love feeding and when is the right time to cast your line.
An 7 to 10-wt. fly rod like the Sage Sonic will work perfect. Sage has an awesome reputation and warranty so you won’t have to worry about breaking a tip when on of these monsters tugs your arm off. Here’s a short cut link to Amazon to read more -> Sage Sonic Fly Rod
I’d match the Sage Sonic with a Sage Spectrum Fly Reel. These reels have proven to be bullet proof for me. Machined aluminum, sealed drag and a big drag knob to make quick adjustments. Read more at Amazon with this short cut link -> Sage Spectrum Fly Reel.
Fly line, I’ve had conflicted feelings about fly line over the years. Originally I thought, it’s all the same whether it cost $15 or $80. Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that casting a nice line can make a huge difference. My pick SA Amplitude, get a floating weight forward that matches the weight of your fly rod and you’ll be set for years. Amazon sells it – SA Amplitude Fly Line Grand Slam
Streamer fishing is how I like to target pike. A floating fly line matched to a 7 to 10 weight fly rod works best for the big streamers you’ll be tossing.
A strong nylon tapered leader like a 7 1/2 foot 1X or 2X. I tie on 12 inches of wire tippet like the Rio Flex-Wire (Amazon link to check it out). What I like about the Rio Flex-Wire is that you can actually tie knots with it.
I cast this rig into weed lines and stripe out using erratic speeds and pauses. I’ll try to cast the same strip and pause sequence for 3-4 times and then switch the strip speed and frequency. Example: 3 short quick strips, then a single pause, a short strip, pause and then repeat.
Unfortunately, huge pike love swimming down 10 feet or more, as that’s where the bigger bait fish will be. When conditions point toward deeper water, use a sinking fly line instead of the floating described above.
Most pike live under green vegetation and only move when spawning or looking for food. Therefore, knowing their primary food source can help you track the pike. Some of my favorite flies include:
Clouser minnow is one of the most effective and famous streamers in the market that can help with pike fishing. This streamer features feathers, tinsel, flashabou, and a simple deer-hair tie. Here is why this streamer is effective:
- It can easily drift to the of the lake or river
- It’s made using brighter materials
- It’s available in a wide range of colors (source)
Barry’s Baitfish are exceptional streamers with classic pike colors. The long tail articulates in the water to drive pike crazy. This fly works best with an erratic, slow strip with a pause and 2 or 3 rod bumps. So, you should give this fly a couple strips and rod bumps and wait for the strike. Why I love this fly:
- It triggers the defensive strike that pike are known for.
- Available in several color combinations
- It’s easy to tie (source)
Mojo Minnow Perch Fly
It is one of the coolest flies in the market that does wonders for pike fishing. Here are a few reasons why I love this fly:
- It has exceptional movements in the water that can easily attract a pike
- The colors have flash and match an available food that pike love – perch.
- It’s available in a wide range of sizes (source)
Get Out and Cast a Fly to Pike
Pike fishing is not easy, especially when using the wrong gear or without research. But the thought of catching the biggest prized pike keeps every fly angler coming back to search for this remarkable creature.
So instead of giving up, you should do more research, get the right gear and continue fishing. You will become addicted to pike fishing in no time.
- Wikipedia contributor, Northern pike, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_pike/ Accessed February 19, 2022
- IGFA contributor, Northern Pike, https://igfa.org/igfa-world-records-search/?search_type=CommonNameSummary&search_term_1=Pike%2C+northern/ Accessed February 19, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Age Determination in Fish, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_determination_in_fish#Analysis_of_ages/ Accessed February 19, 2022
- Angle fire staff, Fishing Grefeern, West Germany, https://www.angelfire.com/home/lake/earth/grefeern.html/ Accessed February 19, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Innoko River, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innoko_River/ Accessed February 19, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Yukon River, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yukon_River/ Accessed February 19, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Holitna River, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holitna_River/ Accessed February 19, 2022
- Umpqua contributor, Clouser minnow, https://www.umpqua.com/clouser-minnow/ Accessed February 19, 2022
- Umpqua contributor, Northwood ninja, https://www.umpqua.com/northwoods-ninja/Accessed February 19, 2022
- Umpqua contributor, Umpqua pike fly, https://www.umpqua.com/umpqua-pike-fly/Accessed February 08, 2022