Pike are great creatures for fly fishing that are known to fiercely strike flies both further down into the water column and at the surface. In fact, fly fishing pike is more challenging than traditional fishing, especially if you don’t have the right fly rod. But the fun part of fly fishing for both experts and beginners is the challenge. You have to perfect your casting skills and directly present your fly to the pike with fly fishing.
When it comes to pike fly fishing, most fly anglers prefer a 10wt rod. A 10-weight has enough backbone to cast large wind-resistant flies and streamers. The most common length is 9 feet, but you can opt for a slightly longer fly rod for better line control. Fly rods down to 8 wt. will work so don’t let your fly rod be the reason not to chase these apex predators
Fly fishing for pike is an up and down roller coaster. One moment you’re relaxed, mesmerized by the rhythm of casting and striping in line, in the next moment an explosive strike with a wild run. So, in this article, we’ll talk about the best fly rod sizes for pike fly fishing. We’ll also show you when to fish using specific fly rods.
Pike rarely gets the kind of affection and attention that trout gets from anglers, but this doesn’t mean that one is stronger than the other. The only difference is that trout are more popular than pikes among fly anglers.
Fortunately, pikes are readily available in most of the world’s waters; plus, their strike and initial run are furious and violent. Therefore, Pikes can also give you the same if not more aggression than trout.
Pike can attain a maximum weight of 40 pounds, but catching a pike of over 20 pounds can be rare in most lakes. (source) As aforementioned, they are strong fighters; therefore, you have to be careful when picking the right rod for pike fishing, especially in lakes with huge pike.
Guide Tip: So how big do pike get? Pike get seriously large – like over 50 pounds. Read about record breaking Pike and where to catch them in this article. -> What is the Biggest Pike Ever Caught with Maps to Find Your Record
For example, when fishing trout, you need a weightless dry fly, so a dealer will attach an all-around rod to a reel and send you fishing with your flies, but with pike, it’s different. (source)
When pike fishing, you will be using 3 to 6 inches long flies. (source) Therefore, you can’t use the same fly rod for fishing both pike and trout.
You need the best gear to tackle these creatures, or you may lose them as soon as they bite your fly. It would be best to have a fly rod that could cast a heavy fly while still managing a fierce fight with your catch.
Plus, you don’t know the exact size of the pike you will reel in, so you must have a heavy rod. Therefore, most experts consider an 8-wt rod the minimum size for pike fly fishing. Other anglers prefer using a 10-wt rod for tackling any pike, while others work with the 9-wt rod. (source) Therefore, anything between 8-wt and 10-wt can work perfectly. Still, there are numerous factors you have to consider when picking the right option for your next fishing trip.
1) Why Is An 8wt Rod Ideal for Pike Fishing?
The biggest pike ever caught is a 46-pound specimen caught at the Great Sacandaga Lake in 1940. (source)
The smallest ones weigh between 2 and 6 pounds; unfortunately, you don’t know what to expect; therefore, you need a versatile rod that can help you catch the most fish.
Luckily, the 8-wt fly rod is a versatile option that easily handles small and huge fish.
It can cast poppers, small streamers, and floating lines, and even help you catch fish in shallow waters. And being lighter than the other options for pike fly fishing, you can fish the entire day without worrying about fatigue or working with an unbalanced rod.
It would be best if you never underestimate the aggressiveness and power of small pike. Therefore, you should be ready for anything, which means you need a strong rod to fight a submerged fish and direct it around logs while pulling them out of the water and into your net.
Therefore, if you love bass and pike fishing or even enjoy fishing salmon, you don’t need several rods; instead, you should invest in an 8-wt fly rod. After all, rods are pretty costly. Getting a versatile option like the 8-wt can make life easier and make it possible for you to do more than pike fishing.
Guide Tip: Get the right fly rod and tie on the right fly. Read about the flies I recommend for pike. -> Favorite Flies for Catching Pike
Pike are known to swim in the ocean when it’s brackish enough. Therefore, when fishing in saltwater, you need a 9-wt; after all, you will likely catch a giant pike in the sea. It can do more than fish pike; it can help you catch redfish, ladyfish, small stingrays, snook, juvenile tarpon, and bonefish. (source)
Like the 8-wt, the 9-wt is a versatile option that allows you to fish using small flies in shallow waters. It is also strong enough to let you present giant flies and heavy lines to pike. The fact that it’s lighter than a 10-wt means that you can fish the entire day, plus it’s easier to use. On the other hand, it has more lifting power than the 8-wt rods; therefore, you can cast further and reel in a massive catch without worrying about your rod breaking.
If you’re going for a trophy pike, you’ll be casting 9-inch streamers; then, you need a powerful 10-wt fly rod. A 10-wt fly rod can easily fish in deep water. Naturally, if you’re targeting a giant fish, you need a bigger rod with increased durability, strength, and power. A vast fly rod can also support a massive reel with increased line pickup and more substantial drag.
Remember, big fish equals big gear, and the pike is no exception; therefore, if your goal is a trophy pike, then get a 10-wt fly rod. A 10-wt fly rod can easily cast a heavier fly line. (source)
Even though pike fly fishing in shallow water is quite famous, these fish are known to spend some time in deeper water, which means you need some heavy sinking lines. Unfortunately, casting heavy sinking lines can be challenging on a 9-wt or 8-wt rod. These rods don’t have the capability of launching a heavy sinking line with ease.
Therefore, upgrading to a 10-wt can allow you to manage heavy lines while maximizing the distance efficiently. (5) With a 10-wt, you can easily cast your flies even in windy places; after all, accurately presenting a fly to the pike when it’s windy with an 8-wt and 9-wt is almost impossible. A heavy fly rod can help deliver giant flies and increase casting distance efficiently in a wide range of weather conditions.
Guide Tip: Folks sometimes chuckle when I pull out my fly rod to target pike. Silly – but in this article I describe the setup and answer -> Can You Catch Pike on a Fly Rod?
The best fly rod for pike fishing should have a fast action with medium-heavy or medium power and be between 9 ft. and 10 ft. long. This length will guarantee you an excellent hook set and line control.
Last Cast to Pike
Even though they’re not more prevalent among fly anglers than trout, the pike is aggressive and can give you the fight you’re craving. Since you won’t be casting weightless flies, you can use the same fly rod for fishing pike and trout. Therefore, the best size fly rod for pikes ranges between 8-wt and 10-wt, but your choice will be determined by where you plan on fishing and the size of the pikes you’re hunting down.
Are you looking for some great How To Fly Fish Articles? Checkout this list:
- 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.
- Tom Rosenbauer, Pike, Northern, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=ZLQYBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA206&dq=What+Size+Fly+Rod+For+Pike+Fishing?&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj8xYfMhqn3AhXZu6QKHUiMDj4Q6AF6BAgGEAI#v=onepage&q=What%20Size%20Fly%20Rod%20For%20Pike%20Fishing%3F&f=false/ Accessed April 25, 2022
- Barry Reynolds et al, Pike on the Fly, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=ansEuXcq9tEC&pg=PA118&dq=What+Size+Fly+Rod+For+Pike+Fishing?&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj8xYfMhqn3AhXZu6QKHUiMDj4Q6AF6BAgHEAI#v=onepage&q=What%20Size%20Fly%20Rod%20For%20Pike%20Fishing%3F&f=false/ Accessed April 25, 2022
- Wikipedia contributor, Northern Pike, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_pike#Length_and_weight/ Accessed April 25, 2022
- MG Stough, An Introduction to Angling, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=YVoWBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA32&dq=When+to+use+a+9wt+fly+rod&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjSzKWT9Kv3AhWGzIUKHfPgAwwQ6AF6BAgJEAI#v=onepage&q=When%20to%20use%20a%209wt%20fly%20rod&f=false/ Accessed April 25, 2022
- Pat Ford, Best Fly Fishing Trips Money Can Buy, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=bs63DAAAQBAJ&pg=PT266&dq=best+fly+rod+for+casting+heavy+sinking+lines&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiLp-LKiqz3AhWhyIUKHXyoAuwQ6AF6BAgFEAI#v=onepage&q=best%20fly%20rod%20for%20casting%20heavy%20sinking%20lines&f=false/ Accessed April 25, 2022