Pickerel on the Fly!

NJChileHead

Explorer
Dec 22, 2011
726
466
My boys and I have fished since they were very small, but they were really bitten by the fishing bug back in 2019! I never fly fished before, however, and they showed interest, so we learned to fly fish and tie flies together last year (starting with those basic Orvis kits). We never fly fished for trout (yet), and until a few weeks ago we were perfectly content fly fishing in streams for panfish and rock, smallmouth and largemouth bass.

I decided to introduce a new challenge for the kids-let's try to target pickerel on the fly rods. We've caught some nice pickerel on spinning rods in the past, but haven't specifically targeted them with the fly rods.

We tied up some clouser minnows and wooly buggers a few weeks ago, and went out and hit a few spots in the Pine Barrens. Below is a picture of the flies. Theirs come out nicer than mine!

20201120_215026.jpg


Success! What a blast pickerel are on a 5wt rod. These aren't lunkers by any stretch (some of them were the smallest picks we've ever caught) but what a fun day. I didn't get too many pictures because we were busy casting and catching, but 7 pickerel in all for the day.

20201121_131349.jpg
20201121_133209.jpg
20201121_134021_HDR.jpg


Side note: I have been told that trout are very sensitive fish, so this was a great gateway experience for the boys. They were taught how to be very careful with them. The fish were out of the water for a minimum amount of time, did not touch the ground (we put the net on a towel when we put it down) and all of them were released unharmed. I taught the boys about the slime layer and how it protects the fish. I think it's good practice for them to get used to this for when we finally go forward with fly fishing for trout.

Thanks for looking!
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,631
2,389
Pestletown, N.J.
Excellent ! Way to go for teaching the kids about the slime layer. It's disturbing how many people reach for a grimy, rough towel to handle a fish.

A good friend of mine in our sportsmen's club is a fly fishing instructor and our club hosts Trout Unlimited fly tying seminars. (In happier times.) I will let you know when we start hosting seminars again. They are always eager to help beginners and they provide all of the equipment and materials.
 

NJChileHead

Explorer
Dec 22, 2011
726
466
Excellent ! Way to go for teaching the kids about the slime layer. It's disturbing how many people reach for a grimy, rough towel to handle a fish.

A good friend of mine in our sportsmen's club is a fly fishing instructor and our club hosts Trout Unlimited fly tying seminars. (In happier times.) I will let you know when we start hosting seminars again. They are always eager to help beginners and they provide all of the equipment and materials.

That sounds great, thank you!
 

SpineyPiney

Scout
Jan 15, 2013
51
50
I love catching anything on a fly rod. Always feels more natural or simplistic and a more satisfying fight, if that makes sense. I once caught a pickerel not much bigger than my middle finger on a muddler minnow at Lake Oswego. Salmon and bass flies work great for them too. Also, pickerel are pretty territorial. If you find a spot with a big fish in it, you could probably go back and catch that fish over and over again if you give it enough time between trips. Lake Oswego had a one about 25” or so that I caught several times over a few years in almost the same exact spot. Had a couple undercuts in the bank on a tidal portion of the Mullica that I caught the same fish a couple times over a long period too.
 
Top