However there are times the pickerel will go after one fly more than another so I like to have a variety of flies but my favourites are streamers and topwater flies.
The great thing about chain pickerel flies is that I don’t really tie specifically for chain pickerel. I use the same flies I’ve been tying for Atlantic salmon, for more than 30 years.
The list of flies these toothy critters will chase are endless so really it’s just a matter of choosing the flies you like tying the most and just tie a handful of each as they can tear them up pretty fast with those teeth.
When I lived in Ontario if was northern pike, here it’s chain pickerel and muskie that will pound your flies but I also enjoy using those same flies on trout, Atlantic salmon and smallmouth bass.
Early Season Pickerel And The Mickey Finn
I always carry a few Mickey Finn flies in the spring because the pickerel love chasing this fly and it’s so easy to tie them.
Plus the Mickey Finn attracts most of the other fish I go after. It so cool when you’re fishing chain pickerel and a big ole smallmouth bass smacks your bait.
When I tie Mickey Finn flies I usually tie them in a size 8 or a bit bigger.
I have never found a red or a yellow tailed deer here in New Brunswick so we have to have our whitetail deer tails dyed from brown and white to yellow and red. Every Christmas I snag a bit of tinsel off the tree for tying flies, but don’t tell Jenny.
It’s always nice to see someone tie a fly and then go out and use it to catch a chain pickerel and is exactly what Joe Cermele does in this fly tying video.
He is fishing this early spring and he is using a trailer hook. He also suggests tying in a weed guard if one is planning to use during the summer and I do most of my fishing during the summer and fall so I will definitely add weed guard. It’s a whole lot more fun to fish with the weed guard.
The Every So Humble Black or Brown Leech
About 30 years ago I tried black woolly bugger with a red butt. It easy to tie and only took a couple of minutes. I fish it with a leech in mind so I try to make it pulse through the water with short retrieves to bring the fly up in the water and then gently let it drop again.
It took me a few minutes to get the retrieve the way I wanted it and they started smacking it hard.
I tried to find the same fly on Youtube but couldn’t find the exact one as I was looking for a black or brown leech with a red butt. However I found lots of leeches with marabou tails. I haven’t tried fish one of those so I would just follow the plan but instead of a marabou tail I would replace it with red yarn as a butt section and not as a tail.
I may just tie a few woolly buggers with the marabou tail and see how they do for me.
Note: If you use wire to give some weight to your flies be sure to use lead free wire.
I think I might tie a few woolly buggers with red marabou feathers as a tail section and see if that’s more attracting to fish than just the red yard butt. Might take a little less action on the fly and catch more finicky fish.
Poppers Can Drive Fish Mad
I’ve never tied a popper myself but have used a few from others and I have just as much fun with a popper fly as I do with the varieties of poppers I use with my spinning gear. The key is to just be patient allowing the popper to sit until the ripples disappear before twitching or popping it again.