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Fishing fly in outposts for Northern Pike and Walleye. Fly in Outpost for Trophy Pike.
After catching a monster Northern Pike what do I do?  First off, congratulations on catching one of Manitoba’s most sought-after trophies, the Northern Pike.  Cobham River Lodge has the best Trophy Pike Fishing in Manitoba, Canada, with numerous 50-inch Northern Pike recorded over the years.  This article reviews the best techniques to retrieve your hook, snap a photo of your monster pike and release your trophy northern pike without harm.

So, as you bring your trophy pike to the side of the boat and get ready to hoist it in, do not get too excited and follow these simple steps to safely release your trophy catch.

Do NO harm:

Your priority is to cause as little stress as possible on the fish.  Northern Pike 32 inches and greater are 95% female and will reproduce over 100,000 eggs per season (roughly 8,500 eggs per pound on average).  The trophy pike our guests catch are also the breeding stock for future guests.  Cobham River recommends if the thrill of catching a monster pike is fulfilling and a photo of your catch is not desired, the trophy pike should never leave the water or be netted.  Play the fish as little as possible, bring her along side the boat and with a needle nose pliers remove the barbless hook and watch her swim off.

The play of light and shadow in this evocative image of a Pike
For those that cannot resist posting your trophy catch on social media (98% of our guests fall into this bracket) there are two techniques for getting that prefect photo and returning the trophy pike back to the waters unharmed.

First, control the head.  Where the head goes, the body follows.  As the northern pike is out of the water, the northern pike will use the entire weight of their body to thrash around and try to get back into the water.  To avoid this, you will need to control the head of the northern pike.  The northern pike head is where most of their power comes from and will be used to move their bodies while in the boat.

Second, to control the northern pike head, we recommend the gill-plate grab technique.  This allows you to control the Northern Pike head and, in turn, the rest of the pike’s motion and provide a stable holding position for your photo without harming the fish.

Start by curling your fingers, making a U-shape, and sliding your fingers under the gill plate of the trophy pike.  As your fingers touch the inside of the gill plate, extend the thumb parallel forward along the northern pike head.  As you squeeze your fingers and thumb together, you will have a firm grip to remove the barbless hook and raise the trophy pike while supporting the mid-section with your other hand and smiling for the camera in the perfect pose.  Take a quick measurement and time to return to fight another day.

Before returning your trophy pike to the water, quickly examine the gills and remove any blood or weeds. Replacing your trophy northern pike with material caught in its gill leads to a higher death rate than a simple review can avoid.

As you set your pike in the water, hold it in front of its tail, upright position, and face upstream.  Now, you are allowing the pike to revive as the water passes through the gills.  In less than a minute, the pike will begin making small moves.  At this point, release the tail, and it should remain upright.  If, after releasing the pike, it turns on its side, position your hand to hold back on the front of its tail and begin to move the pike back and forth gently to allow water to move over the gills.

Once the pike remains upright, it can recover and swim off eventually.

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