Sight fishing northern pike—spotting the fish before you cast to them—is one of the most exciting ways to target them.
And June is the best month of the year for sight fishing Quebec waters.
Protected mud-bottomed bays are magnets for pike this time of year because they warm quickly. Giant pike will slide into these areas and hold in waters as shallow as a foot or less.
The key to catching these fish is spotting them before you get too close to spook them and then presenting a bait that will trigger a strike.
In most cases, especially if water temps are rising rapidly during midday, pike are reluctant to chase a bait so avoid lures like spoons. I’ve found baits like bass jigs tipped with a plastic worm are better for these fish.
Cast the jig past the pike and let it sink to the bottom. Then slowly reel the bait until the fish can see it, stop, and start shaking it gently. In most cases, the pike will ease up to the jig and grab it. Other fish may require repeated casts.
A rabbit-fur fly is also deadly this time of year and you don’t have to be a fly angler to fish one. Just tip the fly with a soft plastic for casting weight. Fish the fly slowly, with gentle “strips” to start and stop the bait. Rabbit fur puffs up on the pause and that drives giant pike crazy.
Resist the temptation to blind cast when you enter a bay. Rather, move slowly with the wind, or use your trolling motor or paddle for stealth and cast only when you see a fish you want to catch.
Small fish are always the most aggressive and if you blind cast you will catch them first and that can shut the big girls down.
Remember to use a 12-inch steel leader to avoid bite offs!