By Rick Lawrence
If there is one thing I love about fishing it's hooking into a really big fish. I’m not talking about a 4 of 5 pound Smallie or even a 7 or 8 pound Largemouth. I’m talking about hooking into a 25 to 30 pound Pike! There are not many other fish in the N.W. that have the power and brute force a big Pike does. Many people think that Pike are non-stop eating machines and are easy to catch. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Pike can be very picky at times and much harder to catch then Bass at all times. My best Pike day came a few years ago while fish up in Canada; I landed 32 Pike in one day. Here in the U.S. my best day was 17 pike. In bass fishing I’ve had many 80 to 100 fish days, so if you think Pike are an easy target think again. But In my opinion no other fish beside the Muskie rivals the Pike for power and speed. Here are a few of my favorite Pike waters.
Long Lake; Long is a reservoir on the Spokane River and has held Pike in it for as Long as I can remember. I fished in back in the late 90’s and it had some good fish even back then. I’ve had some great days on long lake and landed some very big fish. I think my PB from long would be in the 22 pound range. I’ve had 17 fish days there as well so it can produce big fish and numbers as well. The main Place to fish is near Nine mile. You can Launch your boat at the little Spokane River launch as long as the lake is near full pool and come down stream about a mile into the Nine mile area. There are also other spots to fish farther downstream as well, in the Sunset bay and the weed flat on the point just to the west of there. As well as a couple weed flats in-between those two spots.
Chain lakes; The Chain Lakes in Idaho on the East side of Lake CDA has long been a popular spot for Pike Fishing. The Chain consists of 10 main lakes a few smaller ones. Most of which can be accessed from the CDA River via a channel. The First Lake in the Chain is Anderson, which I have to admit I don’t know much about as I think I have only been in it one time. Second is Thompson Lake which I know is a great Bass lake and has a few good Pike as well. Third on the chain is Blue Lake. Blue has a great weedline on the south end that produces a lot of Pike although they are on the smaller side. Next in line is Black Lake which is another lake I don’t fish much as it lies half in the reservation which requires a special license for it so I just don’t take the chance, although the few times I have fished it I did catch Pike. The next lake up the river is Swan Lake and it is one of my favorite Pike lakes in the Chain. It holds some real monsters and is where I got my PB from the Chain at 24 pounds. Just across from it is Cave lake. This is another lake I have not fished much. It tends to be very shallow and most of the times I have been there it was too shallow to fish. I have heard that some guys love this lake and have got some monster Pike out of it though. Just to the East of Cave and connected to it is Medicine lake. It is another one of my Favorite lakes in the chain as I have gotten a few 40” plus fish here as well. Next is Killarney, which is without a doubt the best Pike/Bass lake in the Chain. I have got many nice fish from this lake. Be it Pike, Largemouth, or Smallmouth it produces quality fish. The next lake in the chain is Bullrun, which is not known to many fishermen. It is one of the few lakes you cannot access from the river. It does however have some monster pike in it, and produced my second biggest out of the chain at 23 pounds. There is a very primitive boat launch, but trust me use at your own risk. The last main lake in the Chain is Rose Lake which is also not accessible by boat from the river but has a nice boat launch in it. Rose has Pike in it but it’s more of a Bass lake as far as I have seen.
Noxon reservoir; This is prime Pike waters and I have done well every time I have fished it. It has many areas that produce good fish. Most of the bays that are near Trout creek have good numbers of fish as well as the area known as Talc Bend. I have not had a chance to fish this body of water as much as I would like to, but it’s on my list to fish this year a lot more/ My PB from Noxon so far is 14 pounds but they get much bigger there.
Lake CDA; This is a lake that holds some MONSTER Pike. Although my PB there is rather small at only about 12 pounds, there have been many fish over 30 pounds caught there. And in the last few weeks the gill netting that is still going on killed 2 monster fish. One was a reported 43 pound toad which would have broken the state record by 3 pounds; the other was a reported 47 pounds which would have been a New North American record by about a pound. That’s a record that has stood for some 50 plus years. These are the fish in the photos except the last one is my PB from last year at 25 lbs. It was an absolutely beautiful fish, so fat and so healthy. It is so sad that F&G are killing all of our trophy fish.
The last area I want to talk about is just outside the N.W. in the Flathead Valley. The Flathead Delta on the North side of Flathead Lake is an awesome place to Pike fish. There are many, many, sloughs along this part of the river that hold some monster Pike. Church slough and Fennon slough are 2 of the biggest and most popular, but there are countless places to fish along this stretch of the river. One down side to this spot is limited camping areas near any of the boat launches on the river and it’s a bit too far for a day trip. There are a few somewhat pricey campgrounds about 15 to 20 miles from the boat ramps. But one good thing about this area is there are no gill nets in the water.
Currently here in the N.W. the Pike fishing has taken a major hit from all the gill netting that is going on. Many places in both Washington and Idaho that used to have world class Pike fishing now have few if any Pike. The Pend Oreille River in Washington and Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho have been the hardest hit. This is a sad state for sure as most people are unaware of the truth about Pike and how they are managed. Pike are not an invasive species. What they are is a non-native fish just like 85% of the fish we catch here in the N.W. They pose no real threat to other fish populations other then Perch which makes up the bulk of their diet. Currently the only place in Washington that has Pike in any kind of number is Long Lake N. W. of Spokane. Idaho still had a few smaller lakes with fair Pike numbers, like Hayden and Fernan that are not on the list. So there are still a lot of options to catch some monster pike here in the inland N.W. for those that want to battle a true freshwater brute.