Northern Pike Anyone?

           "Northern Pike in Washington State"
                                                       Plus a couple great places near by.


             49 Pike in two days, thats the power of pike, Pend Oreille style.
             Featuring: Doug "Forever Fish >:"":>" Porter, Brett "Cudaman"Olsen and Buddy "Prince of Pike" Hartman.

"Pike on the Pend Oreille"

Enjoy a growing collection of photos and articles
about the small but popular Northern Pike fishery
in Washington.

Summer on the river.

If you have some photos of your catches, send em in

Don't stop fishing just because its winter on the Pend Oreille.

AJ's Dad displays a rare "2008 Rockford Bay Fastback" special edition model with custom turned down tail. Only 5 ever made. A little fish humor for ya.

Here is an article which sums up my opinion on the evolving Northern Pike fishery in the Box Canyon Res. of the Pend Oreille River.

Pike offer excellent sport fishery. Anglers want to work with state to manage pike.
                     Published 12/28/2011,  Newport  Miner

Melodie, owner of YJ guide service.

Anglers have been talking to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) regarding the pike fishery, and unfortunately they do not seem to care what we have to say. Our wish is to work with WDFW to manage the pike fishery and maintain an excellent sports fishery in Pend Oreille.

The interest in this fishery has been growing steadily over the last few years. If managed properly I feel that this growing fishery could be a big benefit to Pend Oreille County and to WDFW.

My husband and I own YJ Guide Service, and we have watched the interest in anglers wanting to fish for northern pike in Box Canyon Reservoir grow. We have received calls from anglers in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and even as far as Australia and all of them have heard about the pike fishing in Box Canyon and want to come give it a try. This interest could potentially bring some much needed income to Pend Oreille County.

The 2004 fish survey report generated from WDFW showed that “the fish community in Box Canyon Reservoir was prey crowded and dominated by overabundant forage species, to include yellow perch, pumpkinseed, sunfish, northern pikeminnow and tench.” The primary predator at that time was the largemouth bass, and these were found to be at low density at the time of this survey.

The fishery managers from WDFW and Kalispel Indian Tribe built a fish hatchery in 1997 to attempt to increase the numbers of largemouth bass through annual supplementation even though the largemouth bass are not considered a native species to this water. The indices of the population structure from the 2004 survey gave no indication that largemouth bass supplementation efforts have to date increased the population within the reservoir. WDFW would like people to believe that pike have eaten their way in the largemouth bass fishery, this is unfounded and untrue.

The truth is that with the increase in prey fish and the decrease of largemouth bass it makes sense to manage northern pike since they are a self-sustaining fish and they in turn will decrease the population of prey fish as well as offer an excellent sport fishery.

WDFW has reported that the numbers of pike were increasing and the size of the fish was decreasing. We have researched this and have recommended to WDFW that if they manage the fishery, with angler help, by putting a catch size limit on the fish and returning the big fish back to the water unharmed. Studies conducted in similar bodies of water show that the big fish help control the small fish, since pike will eat their own kind. According to studies done in Maine, “Pike have been widely distributed to provide a large fish sport fishery and to ‘manage’ populations of smaller fish that are prone to stunting.”

There was a recommendation made in a report that was generated on June 15 on the northern pike in Box Canyon Reservoir by Eastern Washington University, department of Biology and Kalispel Tribe of Indians stating, “Previous work has shown that to produce large northern pike, the harvest of the large fish must be curtailed because the larger pike eat smaller pike thereby allowing predatory pike and their prey to achieve balance. Therefore, one of the best options to check northern pike population growth may be to protect the largest pike in the population. Gill netting does not allow this.”

The 2004 fish survey from WDFW stated, “An increase in predator abundance (northern pike) might improve the predator/prey balance in the reservoir. However, at the time of our 2004 survey there was no apparent change in the overall predator/prey balance of the fish community even though northern pike were sampled. The fact that the fish community proportions have not yet noticeably changed, may be due to the fact that the northern pike numbers are still relatively low.”

It seems that the reports I have referenced show that it would be in the best interest of WDFW to embrace this fishery and manage the fish by setting slot limits on the size and number of fish that are kept.

There have been reports that northern pike have gone over the dams, leaving Box Canyon reservoir. This may be true, but probably is not the normal. With the construction of Box Canyon Dam in 1955, the slower flowing river, warmer water temperatures, and backwater sloughs have provided a habitat that is ideal for northern pike. The prey in Box Canyon is also ideal for northern pike. Therefore, there is no reason for the pike to leave this water. If the pike are going over the dam then it makes more sense to deal with the fish on the other side of the dam and stop them at that time as opposed to spending thousands of dollars trying to eradicate a fish in its ideal habitat.

All surveys that have been conducted on the northern pike state the eradication is not possible, so WDFW should not waste their limited resources on something that is not possible. It would make more sense to work with the anglers to manage the fish that are in Box Canyon now and keep them there.

The Pend Oreille River used to have native bull trout and cutthroat trout populations and these fish are targets of multi-million dollar restoration and enhancement efforts. Even if fish ladders were installed at Box Canyon Dam, the reservoir is not ideal water for these fish. The only way to restore this fishery completely is to take out the dams and get rid of the reservoir. The pike are not eating this money away, people are. It is extremely unfair and ignorant to blame this on the pike.

I have read many articles regarding the pike and the content of these articles seem to be based on another press release from WDFW and is not supportive of the anglers. For some reason there is a vendetta out on the pike and tunnel vision on Box Canyon Reservoir.

Why are the smallmouth bass not looked at as a threat? Why isn’t there concern with the pike that are in Long Lake when this lake is only two dams away from the pike getting into the Columbia River?

I understand that no one wants to see these fish anywhere but where they currently are. Anglers want to work with WDFW and Kalispel Tribe to manage the pike in Box Canyon Reservoir and create an excellent sport fishery for Pend Oreille County. Northern pike are not the evil fish they are made out to be. According to the surveys that have been conducted northern pike can be very useful to Box Canyon Reservoir if managed properly.

I do not want to see Northern Pike reclassified as a prohibited species. This reclassification would only cause more problems with the overabundance of prey fish in Box Canyon Reservoir.

I propose that WDFW and Kalispel Tribe work with anglers to manage the pike fishery in Box Canyon Reservoir and use their limited financial resources to stop the fish that do get over the dam. We need to embrace this excellent fishery and financial opportunity for Pend Oreille County.



AJ' Dad

 Pend Oreille Pike

2 for one.

 My motto,
I never met a Pike I didn't like.

"Nothern Pike on the Pend Oreille River"

90% Luck and the rest is all skill!

 Our trip to Eastern Washington starts with a trek over Snoqualmie Pass on I-90. Our first hint of what was to be unfolded as we crested the pass. Fall colors of gold, orange and red were giving way to the white flakes winter. Late October in Washington is a time of migration, salmon to their rivers of birth, Canadian Geese journey south,  and anxious anglers beating feet for the Pike of the Pend Oreille River. Three of us, Nate, his 8 year old son Hunter and I recanted tales of Wisconsin’s Northern Pike and a summers worth of my Tiger Muskie memories. We were off to another competition.                                                 
 The Pend Oreille is located north of Spokane about 50 miles as you enter the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. City gives way to pastures and pine trees as we near the river valley. Our eyes soon rested on a riverfront resort where a warm cabin awaited us. Near midnight, we stumbled to our beds and fell fast asleep. Dreams of warm sunny fall afternoons in our shirt sleeves were just that, dreams. Wake up call was 4:40am; reality of late fall in the Rockies was just outside the frosty cabin window.           
 When leaving our cabin at the Blue Slide Resort it had warmed to 33 degrees with fog. That was as nice as it would get. The “Pike on the Pend Oreille” tournament was to start at 6:30am. By the time we arrived at the Cusick boat launch it was 40 degrees, raining, and wind blowing 10-15 mph. Wind chill at 35. The water temperature tested out at 51, so the fish were warmer then us, ouch! We were prepared with warm some clothes just not enough for these conditions. Boats of every shape and size lined up at the dock, but one stood out from the rest. A classic wood 50’s era staple of fishing, complete with spokes on the trailer wheels. The vessel features a multi-functional live well which doubled as its bilge. The classic, owned by Doug W., earned the nickname “USS Pend Oreille”.                                                                   
  Nate, Hunter and I would buck the trend and head north where I had my best fishing earlier in the year. There would be plenty of Pike and the action was very good, but hook ups were hard to come by. The fish were not hitting hard at all. Hunter proved to be trooper as he endured the cold and rain much better than we did. He will grow to be a fine fisherman and follow the family tradition. Nate displayed his years of experience and true love of the “Power of the Pike”. You would never know he’d not fished the river before as he consistently turned fish. Nate felt bad that he was out fishing me, badly. He graciously offered me his red hot lure and being polite I accepted. One cast and it disappeared in to the wind and rain never to return, oops! Maybe some new line was in order.                                                                                   
  I went on to see the largest Pike I've ever seen. A 42-44" brut followed my “Cudaman Bucktail” right to the boat, my knees were shaking and not from the cold. It was close enough for Hunter and I to see the WDFW red tag on its back. I do believe I saw it "flip me the fin" as it slowly swam back into the comfort of a weed bed. When we finished Nate had landed 8 and I caught 5 beautiful Pike all between 22” to 30”.  We returned to the launch, stiff and cold, but happy.  Considering the conditions it was a successful tourney 35 fish in all were taken by 12 hearty contestants.  The Gades of Colville proved there is no substitute for experience as they took top honors. Chuck Gades put it in a nut shell, fishing is "90% luck and the rest is all skill". My hats off to Hunter and Nate they are true blue fisherman, literally this day.


This page is brought to you by some of the finest folks I know.
They certainly will put you on some of the best fishing Eastern Washington has to offer. Phone: 509-999-1708.

Alisha Garrison, youngest member of the "Dowdy Gang", known and feared Pike hunters.

Melodie Dowdy, infamous stocker of "slough sharks" front woman for the "Dowdy Gang". 

Craig, leader of the "Dowdy Gang" and one fine guide. 

Kevin B. scores on the Pend Oreille. Look at the markings on that one.

Mark K. teases this fish from some back water slough, sweet!

          mtman cradles an 11lb 8oz catch that made his day.

This fish actually jumped into my hands, from the river, just as I was posing for this picture. Really!

2010 "Pike on the Pend Oreille" Fall Tournament

Fond memories of the "Pike on the Pend Oreille Tournament" fall of 2010. 

You've got to love those 5 of diamonds.

Evil Intent



"Prince of Pike"

Pike on the fly, oh my!

           Pike are not shy when it comes to fly, they attack!

2006 from Canada

My first Pike, perch fly fooled em. 


"Never Say Die" Nate

From the Coeurd'Alene River drainge.

Pend Oreille River Pike

Pike do attack each other, look at this ones back.

More pictures coming soon!