Small Stream Trout fishing in Michigan

Archive for the tag “Northern Pike”

Northern Pikeless

Luther at Dog Lake

Nightmares of Esox Lucius have haunted me since our failed excursion to Dog Lake Flooding a year ago. Oh we made it to the lake Ok which was an adventure in itself, but the missing esox still weighs heavy since I had sold my buddies on the sort of monsters you only see on Canada fishing youtubes. Were they in there but refusing all manner of spinnerbaits and lures? Not likely is all I can figure. Maybe a freeze out of the shallow lake destroyed the population. It couldn’t have been fished out since you almost have to parachute in. Three men in three kayaks working the shores could not convince a pike to attack in three hours. Three, three, three, does that ring sinister?

So we failed miserably and as the organizer I was grateful they did not leave me in that remote god forsaken bog. But the experience left me with an itch unrelated to the oak and ivy which has been germinating for well nigh a year.

Feral, as you recall, did not make fall trout camp. Did he secretly go Pike fishing on his own while Natch and I cast the raging rivers of the 45th parallel north? I suspect yes because my built in lie detector, call it a sixth sense, has been beeping in my brain like a Geiger counter whenever the topic of fall trout camp is on the table. Feral’s a sly one and admits to nothing. But in my minds eye, call it a seventh sense, he is sliding his kayak into the blue green waters of Lake county every day and reporting nothing.

I blame Feral for catching, filleting, and cooking my first fresh esox dinner. From lake to skillet it was the best fish dinner in my long fish dinner life. Secret recipe? Hardly. He powdered the fillets with a little flour and dropped them into some sizzling fake butter.  I stand here now in the shadow of great fishermen and say it was the lightest and tastiest fish to ever hit my stomach.

So maybe it was evil intent all along. Hooking me like a junkie with a single meal. Then begging off trout fishing to go after Pike on the sly. All I can say is – It is not over. Maybe there is still time to resurrect all wrongs and meet up for a last camp, this time dedicated to catching the elusive monster Esox Lucius.

Esox Lucius, photo courtesy Jake Lucas Archive

Esox Lucius, photo courtesy Jake Lucas Archive

Pike Fishing

I have a theory that learning any art form helps you improve and mature in other art forms – and this applies to fishing too. If you love trout fishing and want to become more productive, it makes sense to try for Pike. Stop scratching your head!

My mentor, Jake Lucas, was a pioneer at small stream spinning for trout, but his fishing interests were by no means limited to that. He fished lakes and streams all year for most every species in Michigan, with side trips to other states and Canada. He ice fished, he fly-fished, he bait-fished, he threw lures of every size and make. He made lures. He tied his own flies and developed original patterns. He shot Carp with a bow and arrow. And when he wasn’t fishing he was hunting – and he was very successful at that too.

Feral Tweed, my main fishing cohort, bought a kayak last fall with the idea of catching a monster pike. He lives in Lake County and is surrounded by lakes. As an accomplished trout fisherman he knows when to head to a trout stream and prefers to wait for the right conditions. So why not try something new? To be successful he knows he must innovate and that includes learning where to find the big ones, figuring out what lures work where, learning how to land a Pike in a kayak, learning how to fillet a Pike (they are boney) and finally, how to convince me to drag my bass boat up to Lake County so he doesn’t have to land a monster Pike in a kayak.

I understand Feral’s appreciation of Pike. It goes back to our childhood and hanging out with Jake Lucas (our Grandpa) in his basement. Jake wasn’t a taxidermist, but he had a couple Pike heads mounted to boards. It was the skeletal remains of the heads mostly with the mouths wide open and razor teeth showing. It was just the stuff to capture a little boy’s imagination. One of those head mounts belongs to the Pike pictured with this story – a nineteen pounder.

I don’t know if Feral plans to mount the head of his future monster Pike to a board, but I hope he does. And I hope I’m invited to a Pike fillet dinner. His enthusiasm for Pike is contagious – I may drag my boat up there unannounced.

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