There is definitively no better time to fish for Pike than spring. Here in the north country that means right now. The guides at the Hungry Trout have been takin full advantage of this and all of our Pike trips so far have been very successful.
Pike spawn when water temperatures start to reach the mid 40 degree range and this forces them to start moving into their spawning grounds. This means tributaries, bays, sloughs or channel edges for most bodies of water. Wherever Pike can be found, these areas start to produce Pike in high numbers in the spring. Pike in the north country frequently spawn under the ice, so when we can get to them they are usually in post spawn. They are recovering from a vigorous spawning cycle and looking to put on some weight.
Pike push further and further back into these areas the closer they get to the spawn and they become a lot more concentrated and easier to find. Here in the Adirondacks we tend to fish weedlines, small creeks and the edges of drop-offs. Most people fish these areas year round for Pike but many don’t know that these spots aren’t always where you need to be in the summer and fall, but for now you are probably in the right place.
Often in the north country spring means trout fishing as most rivers and lakes start getting into prime trout fishing conditions. Frequently this means that Pike are overlooked but in areas such as mine, the trout fishing has often not hit the optimal conditions. While you still may catch some trout, the pike fishing is probably on fire.
Generally you want to fish you flies slower in the spring, many bait anglers will set bait under a float either moved slowly or sat still at this time of year. Fly fisherman don’t have this option so I like to fish flies that have some neutral buoyancy as slowly as I can. A Drunk and Disorderly has been my go to fly lately and I try to fish larger flies than I am normally comfortable with. Try to find the warmest sections of the body of water that have the optimal habitat we have spoken about. Soft bottom shallow areas with good weeds near drop offs often fish best early in the season.
I find that smaller pike tend to be found together and most active during the warmest parts of the day in the shallows. Bigger fish seem to hang out just a little bit deeper near these areas and move into the same areas the smaller fish are found in much later than their smaller counterparts. Fish around drop offs anywhere you find smaller fish to hopefully find a big girl. Pike love green submerged vegetation so if you can find some weedbeds or bullrush fields that have wintered well than you are probably in great shape.