The Netherlands is frequently associated with polders; these are thousands of shallow canals that run through streets and around the houses. This is illustrated by the English saying: “God created the world but the Dutch created Holland”… especially for anglers! During the winter, fly fishing for pike is famous in the Dutch polders, and numerous big pike are caught literally off the streets!
Unlike late-autumn where the pike often ambush roach, perch, and rudd in the meadows, winter time sees these baitfish move into the gin clear, warmer waters of the canals directly between the houses… perfect winter hunting ground for the pike.
A 10’ 7-8# reservoir rod coupled with either a floating or slow sinking fly line usually does the trick. On such small waters, fast sinking lines are not needed, you can always gain the extra depth by using heavier pike flies. I like to use a short strong tippet, around 250 cm of 20lb fluorocarbon and Fulling Mill stainless steel leader. Directly from this, I attach the pike fly. Pike flies are very particular and the Fulling Mill Predator range has a number of go-to pike patterns.
Fly fishing for Pike Leader set-up
When I first started fly fishing for pike in Holland (in the seventies) I tied my own pike flies in all shapes and sizes, some as pure attractors in bright chartreuse or pink, and others in more natural colours to imitate baitfish. I especially liked the Matuka style pike flies, these mimic small perch perfectly. Although now, Fulling Mill has a wide range of predator flies and I am very fond of the Mohican range, the perch imitations, and the wiggle tails.
In the Netherlands, we call it ‘streetstreamer pike fishing’, great fun and a good challenge during the somewhat quiet winter months. It’s a very rewarding way of fishing without the high expense, but in return offers an outstanding experience. This type of fishing is often very visual, you often see the pike following the fly and when the fish strikes it’s powerful and ferocious.