The Yukon River stretches 1,980 miles across the Last Frontier and basically drains half of the state’s water. It’s peppered with clear-water sloughs, feeder rivers, and marshes and it’s also home to some of the world’s largest pike.

The biggest challenge of pike fishing the Yukon is just getting to where the fish are. If you don’t have a boat or a floatplane, you can forget about it. The best spots are extremely difficult to reach even if you’re set up. My Yukon pike trip had been long overdue, so last month my cousin and I decided to take my boat up to the Big Muddy of the North to see what we could find.

After a 3-hour drive up to the bridge and an undisclosed amount of time running the river, we hit what looked like pike heaven. A network of slow-moving, tinted-water sloughs dumped into the main channel. We headed up, hardly able to contain our excitement.

Every inch of the bank looked good, and that was actually the problem. Although the water levels had come down a bit, the river was still over the banks and into the brush. This produced an unlimited number of “perfect” spots for a monster pike to hide.

What looked too good to be true turned out as such, and we really had to work hard to find fish. We concentrated our efforts and caught nearly all of our pike in small side sloughs that were flooded up into the grass. We didn’t connect with any monsters, but we caught quite a few in the 30-inch range.

Despite the poor fishing, it was still a great time. One of the things I love most about Alaska is exploring this unlimited country.