One of my goals on this trip was to get that first pike on the fly rod. On trips to the Boundary Waters and Quetico, I've done okay with spinning gear but this was the first time trying for them with a fly rod. After asking around a bit, I determined that we could pursue these fish during our stay on the Taylor. Apparently Taylor Reservoir is a good place to try for these toothy fish.
On our second day at the Taylor, we fished the "Hog Trough" in the morning and then moved up to the lake later in the day. Catching nice trout in the morning and then trying something new in the afternoon is not a bad way to spend a day. Terry Gunn from Lees Ferry Anglers had given me a few suggestions on where to try and what to expect so we headed over to the area he recommended. Slowly driving along the shore, I finally spotted a large fish cruising the shallows and quickly jumped out and rigged up. The fish had long since vanished by the time I was actually ready to throw in but we began searching the water anyway. I remembered the times I fished for them up in Canada and knew that a lot of patience and covering water was in order. However after covering the water for awhile without so much as a strike, we decided to try a different spot closer to the area I had been told about.
When we got there, I immediately realized that it was prime pike habitat. Weedy flats stretched well out from shore with a few slightly deeper channels. These fish love weeds and will lie in a good ambush spot until a meal passes by. We started covering the water again when I suddenly saw a huge swirl up against the far bank. I quickly stripped another 20 feet of line out and a good double haul delivered my fly right to the target. The fly slapped down on the water and I began stripping the line furiously but there was nothing. I cast again and this time something slammed the fly almost before it touched the water. It sounds so dramatic, but really I was a bit puzzled. From catching these guys in the past, I figured there had to be more to it. When I started reeling line, I started wondering if a stocker trout had attacked my fly. It just did not feel like much on the 7 weight. As I got it closer, I realized that instead, I had caught one of the little guys...a pike, but definitely not the trophy I had hoped for. Still, it was my first pike on the fly so my buddy Trevor kindly snapped a couple of pictures for me.
Convinced that there were indeed pike around, we began fishing with a renewed purpose. Slowly wading farther out, I was minding my own business when something absolutely erupted in the water a few feet away. I nearly walked on water for a second or two while things calmed down but then I started thinking. Pike are notorious for following a bait forever before committing. After this happened a couple more times, I was sure. Pike were following almost although to the rod tip and then just lurking a few feet away, waiting to see what developed. When I moved they would spook (or was it me that would spook?). I had enough big fish roll nearby to know that there are definitely some very large pike in Taylor Reservoir. Unfortunately neither I nor my buddy ever hooked into one. Thankfully, there is always next time. I'll be sure to have a better selection of flies, and hopefully they'll want to play when I return!