Flyfishing for pike in cold water during spring takes real discipline. It can be a slow business. Pike, like many apex predators, can go “off the chew” for long hours. When they are off, they really are off.
Then, suddenly, nature flicks a switch, the barometer rises or the river starts to fall and clear, and they are very much on.
When that happens, it’s easy to let the excitement get to you. You speed up your retrieve and forget those crucial pauses that so often induce a solid take. Don’t do that. Slow down, instead. Pike are lazy. They look for victims in trouble. Victims that are incapacitated. Victims that can’t get away.
The problem with fishing flies ultra-slow is that pike get a chance to really examine your offering. No matter how much time and attention to detail you put into your fly, guess what? It’s just a bunch of fluff and feathers. They reject it. You’ll need something that looks alive, even when it’s barely moving.