I was hooked on chain pickerel on the fly after catching my very first pickerel, which was all of 6 or 7 inches. I was fly fishing brook trout in a section of bush that was flooded. As I pulled the fly from the water a tiny pickerel flew out of the water and nailed it mid-air. How aggressive.
Since that time I have caught hundreds of chain pickerel some even bigger than my first one and mostly from my trusty float tube which is so much fun.
I do have a few baits that are my favourite for chain pickerel but in all my years of fishing I have to say the pickerel is the most opportunistic and will attack most anything you throw at them. Today I’d like to share a few flies that I like above all other flies.
The thing is all the flies I like the most seem to work great for trout, Atlantic salmon, smallmouth bass and chain pickerel.
For Spring I Always Have A Mickey Finn Fly
The Mickey Finn fly is easy and quick to tie and works in a variety of sizes. This fly is great for any of the species I fish and I’m hoping to get a few rainbows and brown trout this year using a Mickey Finn.
Even though it can be tied in any size I tend to keep them between size 8 and 12. If I were fishing bigger fish, like stripers or muskie I would maybe go a size bigger.
You can’t see the body of the fly in the image above but I have silver tinsel covering the hook to reflect some light. I also use yellow and red deer tail, dyed of course as we only have white tail here.
Joe Cermele has a cool video where he not only ties a nice minnow style fly but he takes it out and catches some chain pickerel using it. This is a fly I’d like to tie and give a try this spring for some hungry pickerel.
I like the idea of using a stinger or trailer hook in the spring when there’s less weeds to deal with. For later I would use ones without the trailer hook plus I would add a weed guard to it so the I can fish longer without cleaning it off.
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.