Cinda’s Alaskan Pike Adventure

Written by: Cinda Howard, Fly-Fishing Manager of Orvis Scottsdale

Pike Fishing in Alaska

The author’s astounding 50-inch pike was the fish of the trip.

photo courtesy Cinda Howard

When most people think of fly fishing, they picture someone standing in a remote river or stream casting a dry fly to trout lazily sipping bugs off the surface. The low-down dirty truth is that you can cast to just about any fish in almost any piece of water. Fly fishing can take whatever shape you want it to, and that is what excites me about this sport.

As an Orvis Fishing Manager, I get the opportunity to fish in some great locations. I recently spent a week in Alaska fly fishing for northern pike. Most people associate Alaska with spectacular trout and salmon fishing, but it also offers some of the best pike fishing in the world. I spent a week with some of my customers in a very remote location with Midnight Sun Trophy Pike Adventures on a houseboat in the middle of nowhere (“nowhere” being somewhere out past a small village called Aniak that is accessible only by float plane). The houseboat sits in a slough off a tributary of the Yukon River, and we ran the river in custom built skiffs to get to different lakes and sloughs that are loaded with trophy pike.

Pike Fishing in Alaska

The Midnight Sun offers comfortable accommodations right in the middle of all the action.

photo by Cinda Howard

This was a five-day fishing trip, and we arrived about 2:00 in the afternoon and were fishing by 3:00. With the long days in Alaska, you can fish until 9:00 in the evening and still have plenty of light. On the first day, everyone landed fish, including some over 40 inches. It was a great start to what would turn out to be a very up-and-down, topsy-turvy week. Days two through four were tough, and we fished hard, possibly the hardest I have ever fished. You cover a lot of water throwing flies at the bank, at logs, and at other structure trying to entice a fish that truly wants to do harm to your fly. These fish are aggressive and give you a rush like nothing I have ever experienced. You know that every take could be a fish of monster size. Unfortunately, the weather turned cold and rainy, and the river temperature dropped 10 degrees, which made the fish go to the bottom and decide not to eat. We would have an occasional taker, but no one caught more than two fish a day.

This continued until day five, when we left the houseboat on what was our last day of fishing. Everyone was in a somber mood, as they knew this was the last opportunity, at least on this trip, to catch big pike. The guides were sweating it and had been up all night trying to come up with a plan to turn a tough week into a spectacular week. As things turned out, it didn’t matter because it seemed like every fish in the river decided to come up and eat. On that day, I was fishing with another lady named Gari. She caught the first fish, which was just massive: it turned out to be a 48-inch pike. Our party caught many other fish over 40 inches, but Gari’s turned out to be the biggest of the morning.

Pike Fishing in Alaska

Gari’s 48-inch fish kicked off an unbelievable day of pike fishing.

photo by Cinda Howard

We met up with the other anglers for lunch and decided not to tell them about Gari’s big fish because we didn’t want them to feel bad. That afternoon turned out to be epic. I ended up landing the big fish of the trip—a 50-incher. I made a cast to the bank, stripped a few times, and saw this huge mouth open up and inhale the fly. It was an unbelievable sight, and our guide, Scott, was freaking out! Though they land fish everyday that are over 40 inches, catching a 50-inch pike is rare. Fewer than twenty have been caught, and it turns out that I am the only woman on that list of lucky anglers.

We continued to catch pike all day, and once we met up with the rest of the group, we learned that more than 60 fish over 40 inches had been landed. Now the owners of Midnight Sun Trophy Pike Adventures would tell us to play that number down, so people don’t get too big of expectations, but when you have a day like that it needs to be shared.

For more information about me and the trips that we host out of the Orvis store in Scottsdale, Arizona, you can visit our website.

2 thoughts on “Cinda’s Alaskan Pike Adventure”

  1. Just seen how they (the guides from the midnight sun) treat other fisherman who where making a film in a zone used by the red necks guides that where agressives and telling them (the film guys) to get out of “their backyard”, OR ELSE… Buch of freaking nut jobs. Shame on you.

    ORVIS should NOT endorse this kind of behavior, and this kind of enterprise…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *