If you love explosive runs and arm jolting strikes, tossing flies to pike should be on your fly fishing bucket list. In many waters northern pike are the apex predators, knowing for sulking in shadows waiting to ambush baitfish and small mammals.
The Northern Pike are voracious predator that can consume some of the biggest prey out there compared to this body size. A small “hammer handle” pike can even try and consume a 9-inch streamer.
Let’s feed your appetite and setup your fly rod with the right flies with proven track records for fooling these toothy creatures.
The 4 Best Pike Flies
1. Clouser Minnow Fly – Best Overall
The Clouser minnow is an exceptional pike fly pattern that I have successfully used in saltwater and freshwater games. It is one of the most common fly patterns in my arsenal, especially when going after the big game. Being Bob Clouser’s brainchild, this fly is a unique streamer whose popularity has grown among fly anglers since 1978, when locals used it for fishing bass in River Susquehanna. (source)
Designed to resemble several minnows, the Clouser minnow fly has a fast sinking rate and can help you catch pikes at any given time of the year. And to entice the pikes, it has a bucktail construction with lead dumbbell eyes and flash that helps it produce an enticing jiggling action.
Lefty Kreh, one of the world’s best fly anglers, considers it a crucial and effective dry fly for the big game. Not only did Lefty and Bob hold this clouser minnow in high regard, but they quickly discovered that it is a multi-species fly. They believe you can use it to attract more than 87 game fish species. (source) You can do more than attract pikes; you can even use this multi-species fly to catch bass.
The Clouser minnow can easily adapt to saltwater, still, and moving new environments; plus, the fact that it is available in a wide array of colors is a bonus. Therefore, you can get an option matching the streamers fed by pike in the waters.
- Favorite Color: white, green, and orange
What I Love About the Clouser Minnow
- Available in a wide range of colors
- Fast sinking rate
- Effective in a wide range of water environments
If pike haunting your dreams, let me help. I’ve got a collection of articles about setting up, flies, gear…
- Wonder how big pike get? or where to find trophy pike – read 👉 The Biggest Pike Ever Caught and Where to Find Them
- How to catch, that’s what we need to know right? 👉 How to Catch Pike on a Fly
- I take a deep dive into flies for pike with 👉 My Favorite Flies for Pike and How to Setup Your Fly Rod
- Tossing big heavy wind resistant flies is tough. Learn about what fly rod is best with 👉 What Size Fly Rod for Pike
2. Crayfish Fly – Best for Lazy Pike
Crayfish patterns are one of those over looked patterns that are highly affective and found in most waters around North America. Bass fishers use this pattern, but it’s often overlooked for pike and trout. I know for a fact they work in my local rivers.
After all, the crayfish start molting in summer, making it the best time to try the dead drift crayfish fly. And any dry fly resembling the crayfish like the dead drift can work perfectly in summer.
Dead drifting is the best technique for fishing crayfish on or near the bottom of a lake or slower section of a river when targeting Northern Pike. Use enough leader to let the crayfish sink to the bottom, then provide action with small strips.
- Favorite Color: Rust, Olive and Brown
- Size: 08
- Great for: Pike, trout and bass
What I Love About Crayfish
- Heavy for sinking fast
- If you tie flies, this one is super easy.
- Easy to fish, with great action
- You can use it for fishing in the lower water column
3. Beadhead Bunny Leech Streamer – Fast Sinking Rate
Generally, pike loves swimming on the lower water columns and hiding beneath the under-water foliage; therefore, you need a reliable dry fly that can quickly sink to the lower water column while attracting these fishes. And one of the most effective dry flies loved by experienced dry anglers, especially when it comes to dead drifting, is the muddy buddy bunny streamer collection.
Their unique design and color attract many huge fishes, including large trout, steelhead, salmon, and bass. This package comes with a set of four flies designed on hook size 4; plus, it’s available in two colors: olive and black. The good thing about their choice of colors is that they resemble some of the most common prey fishes.
Streamers are also quite effective when fishing in lakes and still water and using a pause-and-strip technique to imitate the up-and-down swimming motion that can easily attract massive games. It is a highly versatile fly pattern that you can use with great effects when fishing float tubes, kayaks, and boats. (source)
- Favorite Colors: Black, Flashy Brown and Olive
- Preferred Hook sizes: 8, 6, and 2
- Weighted: yes, get this fly in both weighted (beads) and un-weighted
- Size: 4
What I Love About the Bunny Leech
- Lots of action to entice a defensive strike
- Versatile and easy to tie
- You can use it to attract a wide fish including trout, steelhead, salmon, and bass
4. Get An Assortment of Top Water Deer Hair Flies
If you want to experience top water action, consider getting a collection of poppers and divers. You may have heard of Wild Water, located in Ontario, NY they’ve been assembling fly rod combos (link to a YouTube Video I did) at truly unbelievable prices. Which provides a great option for beginners to get into the fly fishing game.
Wild Water offers a box of 6 deer hair flies that cover what I’d suggest for anyone tossing flies to pike and bass. The included box has:
- Deer hair mouse in size 2
- Red and Black Popper in size 2
- Black Rabbit Tail Diver in size 1/0
- Camo Frog in size 2
- Yellow and Green Diver in size 2
- Chartreuse Rabbit Strip Diver in size 1/0A
- Assortment selected by Wild Water
- Proven patterns for both Pike and Bass
- Handy fly box (big flies are difficult to carry without mashing)
What I Love About the Wild Water Assortment
- A great collection of effective top water flies
- Colors that pike love
- Convenient included fly box
- Durable (honestly after a pike strikes most flies they’re toast)
Where to get this assortment? Wild Water sells these flies directly, check out this shortcut link 👉 Wild Water Fly Fishing Pike and Bass Top Water Assortment.
Things to Consider When Buying the Best Pike Fly
Most fly anglers relish the idea of a massive catch like their trophy pike eating their dry fly. But with the numerous options available, picking the right choice for your next fishing trip can be challenging. So here are a few factors that can help you find the best choice for your pikes:
The Sinking Rate of Pike Flies
All giant fish species, including pikes, tend to occupy the lower part of the rivers and lakes; therefore, you need a dry fly with a fast sinking rate. A fly designed to sink at a high-speed rate can help with dead drifting.
What Makes an Exceptional Pike Fly?
Generally, simplicity is the key-particularly with a pike fly-you doesn’t need to invest a lot of expense or time to lure a few fishes. But have you ever seen the teeth of a mature pike? Therefore, you need a robust and straightforward pattern that’s also effective. Therefore here is what makes a great fly:
Action is one key thing you must consider, especially when looking for an excellent fly for pikes. After all, pikes are hunters and can only be attracted by some unique quick movements. Therefore you should ensure that you use an attractive mobile tying material that can help attract the pike. A great example is the fly fishing place muddy buddy bunny streamer flies with a fast sinking rate.
Another key factor is getting a fly that resembles something that the pike is consuming at the moment. Anything that resembles minnows like Clouser minnow flies and streamers can work wonders. Even a crayfish pattern can come in handy, especially in a lake with many crayfish.
Remember, they tend to consume different insects depending on the season.
Generally, there are some attractors that fly anglers can use to attract the pike, and one of them is using bright-colored flies. Remember, if you can’t see it, you can’t make it move when drifting at the base of the river. For attraction purposes, most flies come with contrasting colors; compared to a solid color, contrasting colors a more visible underwater.
One More Cast
Several dry flies in the market can help you attract a massive catch like a pike, but being predators, they tend to be quite picky. Therefore, when looking for a pike, you should consider the type of food they consume, attraction, and sinking rate, among others. Remember, a bright-colored dry fly can quickly get the pike’s attention, and with proper movements, you can get its attention.
From our research, we have concluded that Clouser minnow flies are the best overall pike flies. They resemble several minnows and have a fast sinking rate. Plus, the lead dumbbell eyes help produce an exceptional jiggling action when sinking.
Are you looking for some great How To Fly Fish Articles? Checkout this list:
- How to Fly Fish for Bass with Poppers with 👈 Easy to catch and fun to fight, fly fishing for bass is amazing!
- How to Fly Fish for Bluegills 👈 These amazing fish are all over the USA. I like to call them the “Gateway Drug to Fly Fishing”
- How to Fly Fish for Brook Trout 👈 Find the cleanest, coldest, most beautiful streams and I’ll bet Brookes are present.
- How to Nymph Fish 👈 Step by Step details for setting up, presenting and catching trout with nymphs.
- How to Fly Fish for Salmon 👈 Image hooking into a +25 pound King Salmon in a river and your Fly Rod breaks! Seriously this happened to me on my first trip.
Hi David Humphries Owner of Guide Recommended. I love everything to do with fly fishing. Casting, Tying, YouTube, writing about it and even teaching. I’ve got a FREE video workshop teaching how to dry fly fish at this link How 2 Fly Fish
- A big thanks to Wild Water Fly Fishing for use of photos. Photo Credit Heidi Dodd’s Wild Water Fly Fishing. Check out Wild Water Fly Fishing’s offerings at this LINK
- Amazon contributor, Clouser Minnow Flies, https://www.amazon.com/Clouser-Minnow-Assortment-Saltwater-Striped/dp/B08LSH2PD3/ref=sr_1_7?crid=1H9MKHGZ0WD1K&keywords=Clouser+Minnow&qid=1656394703&sprefix=clouser+minnow+fly%2Caps%2C426&sr=8-7/ Accessed June 26, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Clouser Deep Minnow, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clouser_Deep_Minnow/ Accessed June 26, 2022
- Umpqua staff, dead drift, https://www.umpqua.com/dead-drift/ Accessed June 26, 2022
- Amazon contributor, The Muddy Bunny Streamer Fly, https://www.amazon.com/Fly-Fishing-Place-Streamer-Collection/dp/B017C8QN12/ref=sr_1_7?crid=1YN7WSBVCH30Y&keywords=pike+fishing+fly&qid=1656401646&sprefix=pike+fishing+fly%2Caps%2C413&sr=8-7/ Accessed June 26, 2022
- Amazon contributor, Wild Water Fly Fishing 6-Top Water Deer Hair Fly Assortment, https://www.amazon.com/Water-Assortment-Large-Section-Clear/dp/B00EBWQCY6/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1YN7WSBVCH30Y&keywords=pike+fishing+fly&qid=1656401646&sprefix=pike+fishing+fly%2Caps%2C413&sr=8-5/ Accessed June 26, 2022