Breadcrumbs

Fish for Northern Pike on the Green River

There are state record pike in the Green River system in eastern Utah, but few people fish for them. They provide a unique and exciting fishing opportunity.

In the spring the pike congregate near stream mouths, as they prepare to spawn. The mouth of Ashley Creek, near Jensen, is a popular spot to fish for them. Rainbow and Island parks, in Dinosaur National Monument, also attract some attention. The Yampa River mouth and the Yampa itself, also in the monument, offer considerable opportunity for pike fishing. Fishing within the park is subject to normal state regulation, and much of the Monument, including the Yampa, is in Colorado.

Pike are active through the spring. Fishing is often good in April, and perhaps better in May and June, as the fish spawn. They are always aggressive, sometimes attacking fish half their body length. They've been known to hit lures over and over until they are hooked. Rapalas are effective, but perhaps the most popular lure is the red-and-white Dardevle. Big lures are appropriate. Some hard-core fly fishers use double bunnies, which look somewhat like a Dardevle.

Pike feed during daylight hours — night fishing is usually not productive. Mid-morning is perhaps the peak time. Look for them on the edge of backwaters, near weeds or logs, hiding as they wait in ambush for forage fish.

Steel leader is recommended, but some people think it scares the fish and so they use a heavy (20-30 pound) monofilament. The pike's sharp teeth can quickly cut through regular leader. The teeth can also tear up your fingers, so handle them carefully if you are lucky enough to catch one.

Biologists sampling the river as they study the native endangered fish species often turn up pike. Most are small, just a couple pounds, but state record fish are seen on a regular basis. They are almost always returned to the river unharmed.