The Best Species for Popper Flies

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_A Northern pike is the author's favorite species when it comes to fly fishing with poppers. _Chris Hunt

Pike fishing with popper flies is like flying a kite in a thunderstorm: You never know exactly when the lightning is going to strike, but when it does, the jolt is a spectacular natural explosion. This is why I'm spending this week at Arctic Lodges on Reindeer Lake in northern Saskatchewan/Manitoba, satisfying a pike and popper habit that's gotten way out of control, but that's a good thing.

I got to thinking about my favorite species for fly fishing with poppers and realized that size doesn't always matter. See how my list matches up with yours.

1. Northern pike

Vicious. Simply vicious.

2. Smallmouth bass

I like smallies on poppers a hair more than largemouths on poppers, but both are great.

3. Bluegills

Size three fly rod, tiny poppers, and a flat lake is maybe the best intro to popper fishing anyone can enjoy.

4. Bluefish

Love throwing pencil poppers at choppers in the summer.

5. Redfish

If I could find laid up, popper-eating bull reds every day, I might not fish for much else.

6. Mako sharks

A popper helps you see and appreciate the mouthful of teeth even more.

7. Rainbow trout

Not a typo. When 30-inch Alaskan rainbows bust on salmon smolt, it's pretty interesting.

8. Silvers and/or pink salmon.

Love skating pink wogs.

I'm sure I'm missing something. But for right now, it's all about option No. 1.