The fish was quickly scooped up in the net and I could breathe easy. Little did we know that less than 30 minutes later we would be experiencing nearly the exact same series of events with a fish that stretched the the tape to the exact same length, in a matter of 30 minutes we had two 42' pike hit the net and safely returned to the water for someone else to enjoy.
This series of events that occurred are a clear example of the quality pike fishing that we have here in Colorado. I can't even begin to count the times that people have mentioned to me that we don't have the quality pike fishing that Northern states have to offer or some of the Midwest states. While I would agree, we don't have the number of fisheries as most of those places, I will put the quality of Colorado Pike up against just about anywhere, especially in the lower 48.With all that said here is short breakdown of what you need to do to chase these high country gators in the fall.
Shore or Boat
Being a fishing guide here in Colorado, I will say that chasing these fish from a boat gives you a major advantage when chasing these fish in the fall, while they are catch-able from the shore for a brief amount of time, once the water temperature gets below 55 degrees, the majority of these fish slide out to deeper water to feed on deep weed lines. A boat gives you some versatility to slide out deeper if you have to.
As the water temperature cools, these fish kick their feeding into high gear in preparation for the ice up. For the first part of the cool down I focus on throwing big baits for these fish, Focusing on baits that are 6'' or bigger. Swimbaits and Jerkbaits are basically all I will throw, mixing in the occasional soft plastic. Suspending Jerks and Swimbaits are the best producers as they offer the ability for long pauses that keep them in the strike zone. Savage Gear's Line-Thru Trout in the the slow sink model is a must, along with the Savage Hard 4Play Liplure.
My Jerkbaits are going to be the Savage Gear Manic Prey, Rapala Husky Jerk Size 14, and the Smithwick Perfect 10 Rogue, all of these baits have a slightly different action but all offer the benefit of neutral buoyancy for long pauses.
I start out working them at a very quick erratic pace with short pauses early in October and gradually slow down as the water temps cool, pausing the baits for 10-15 seconds is often necessary to trigger bites. I will also begin to downsize these baits to 4-6'' as well.
The last part of my presentation which is critical is my leader. Most people I know that are chasing pike are using some kind of wire leader. I haven't used a wire leader for sometime due to the fact that my catch rate decreases significantly. I have using fluorocarbon leaders with great success, most of the time I will use 20 pound P-line Fluorocarbon, but will drop down to 15 pound if I am getting follows without strikes. I use about 3 feet of material and attach it with a double uni knot with a 60 pound snap on the end. I get much better action out of the bait when I use a snap versus tying directly to the eye of the lure.
This is a bullet proof approach for chasing trophy pike in the fall here in Colorado. So get out there and give it a try and you won't be disappointed.This fall is going to be epic!
Will Dykstra is a Colorado Native who has a relentless obsession for Muskies and Northern Pike. This obsession has led to him becoming a senior predator guide for Tightline Outdoors. Over the years Will has fished many bodies of water pursuing toothy critters. This pursuit has allowed him to take tactics learned while fishing northern Minnesota and Canada and applying them to lakes and rivers in Colorado. The majority of fishing that Will does in Colorado is spent chasing Tiger Muskies, Northern Pike, Smallmouth , Largemouth, Lake Trout, and all other species of Trout. Will is currently the President of the Colorado Chapter of Muskies Inc. Will is sponsored by Blade Runner Tackle, Red October Baits, Tuf-Line,P Line, EGO nets,and Muskie Bumper.
anglerwannabe, CO 9/30/2015 11:19:58 AM
this is seriously useful info. Thank you Will
Ajax5240, CO 9/30/2015 11:54:56 AM
Great blog Will! Thanks for sharing, you certainly boat more Pike than anyone else I know!! One of these days I need to get a trip booked with you!
LastKast2010, CO 9/30/2015 2:02:04 PM
good info Will.... and some seriously nice pike there....
Will Dykstra (Muskiemaniac), CO 10/1/2015 9:49:41 PM
Thanks Guys, a great morning no doubt, Had an opportunity at a similar experience today. The bite is on for sure.
pikeNcolorado, CO 10/4/2015 9:25:43 AM
Great read and info. Tis is the season!!!
fom, CO 10/4/2015 11:33:16 AM
Great read Will , thanks for sharing.
spicyhombre, CO 10/4/2015 8:34:42 PM
Great info! Have you tried the line- thru pike? Any good?
esoxrocks, CO 10/5/2015 7:52:10 PM
I see the pictures of the nice Northerns caught here in CO and have to admit I don't often target them. We grew up doing everything we could to avoid hooking a Northern while fishing Musky... so it's interesting to see the enthusiasm folks have for the species here. That said, no one I know wouldn't love to hook into a fish like the specimens you have pictured. Might just have to dig out the heavy equipment after all.
Arikaree, CO 10/8/2015 7:09:07 AM
Great post on some of the basics by a guy that knows how to catch big pike. Money well spent to book a trip with Will and learn from a master on how to catch trophy pike. Thanks Will for a great read and a couple nice pics!
opencage, CO 10/11/2015 9:07:33 AM
Great blog and great info. Thanks Will! Keep 'em coming.
JOHN_COSprings, CO 10/14/2015 1:14:14 PM
Great blog and info, thanks for sharing !