Karl, Jake and I got out on Pactola yesterday to throw some flies around for pike. We had a pretty good idea going into it that the water would be a little on the cold side, but we wanted to get out and toss some 8 weights around and maybe find a few pike in the process. I’d been working on my guide boxes for the summer, but Karl and Jake came with a fresh arsenal of dozens of new patterns they’d been tying up. When we put in, the lake was crystal clear and the water was smooth. We rowed the boat around a bit, but didn’t see any fish laid up in the shallows, which wasn’t surprising considering that the water may have been 41-42 degrees at best.
Karl and Jake fished while I ran the oars, and Jake hooked a small pike on the second cast. Not a bad start. Shortly after that first fish, the wind started blowing pretty good, and the air got a defined chill to it. We caught most of our fish in mid-depth water – 8-12 feet deep primarily. Definite edges seemed to be the key. If we found a nice, green pile of weeds or a ledge of rocks that adjacently dropped into a bit deeper water, we found pike. The most active fish seemed to be the smaller variety, but as the water warms the big fish that Pactola has become known for will push into inches of water and create amazing sight fishing opportunities. We had the best success yesterday on black, red and white, and white, but it seemed to be more important to get the fly down to the fish with a light sinking tip line. RIO Outbound Shorts are still the line of choice for chucking 8-10″ long flies. We caught fish on fast retrieves as well as slow ones, but you had to be in the lower half of the water column to get strikes and follows. In the end we ended up landing five pike, which is a pretty successful outing, especially this early in the year!
We still have availability for our Black Hills Pike Fishing school, which is going to be right around the prime dates to get into big pike. Here’s a link with more information – Black Hills Pike Fishing School. The class in on April 19th at 6:00 pm. We’ve decided to open it up to people that want to attend just the class as well, and the cost will be $50. The guided trip/class option is still available as well, with the pricing in the link above. Call the shop at 605-341-2450 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to get signed up!