Welcome to our northern pike fishing guide and tips section. Here we will reveal lots of great pike tips and how to fish pike all year round. Pike are a great fish to catch, they come in all sizes and are relatively easy to target if you know what you are doing. They come in trophy sizes and can put up an awesome fight. Their fillets are bony; however, if you know the proper pike fillet techniques you can produce a boneless filet that tastes great. The best part about fishing for pike is that many lakes and rivers in Canada and Northern USA are loaded with them. You really don’t need expensive equipment or rigs to land a few nice pike either. This makes them one of the most desirable game fish for both seasoned and new anglers. Pike tend to patrol many of the lakes, rivers, and ponds in Canada and the north part of the United States. They bite hard all year round regardless of season and time of day. Early May tends to be a hot time to land some big pike, however; these fish can still be found all year. Pike are quite viscous and will attack anything in sight, making them easy targets. They will often hang out in waters of 2-15 feet, and will usually hide out in weed beds. Pike are very fast moving, meaning that you can troll in a boat at a fairly quick pace and still land them. Before we dive in, let’s take a quick look at some background information on this great species.
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Background Information about the Fish
Pike also referred to as Esox lucius are carnivores, meaning they eat live prey. Even at small sizes they will attack other fish of similar or even larger size. Pike are very aggressive and will attack nearly anything that get too close- this includes other pike. On average, pike will be about 30 inches in length. They have a long slender build with a very distinct head shape. They have rows of sharp needle like teeth that allow them to attack their prey. Be very careful when handling pike and avoid contact with their mouth area. They are easy to spot and have a greenish/brown/grey tint to them. Often times pike will have a fairly thick slime like coating to them and a very distinct smell. Pike use a sort of “sit and wait approach” to feeding. They will hide out in weeds or shallow areas and wait for their prey to arrive. They will then attack with great speed and agility. In the winter months these fish can be found all throughout the rivers and lakes. In the summer your best chances are in weedy beds and rocky areas. Pike will basically eat anything that moves. They will usually feed on other fish and frogs, but will attack small animals such as birds and and mammals if they get too close.
Northern Pike Fishing Tips & How to Catch Pike
This is probably the section that brought you to this page in the first place. Fishing pike is a great pastime. They are fun to catch and are great to eat. Below are some very important tips and information that will help you land trophy pike all day long.
• Fish in weed beds and shallow areas. Use floating crank baits and spinners that ride just above the weed beds. Pike often times hide out in these areas and will attack your lure with a vengeance. If you find you’re getting hooked up in the weeds more often than not use a weedless lure or a floating jointed Rapala.
• Bigger = Better with pike. Pike will attack lures that are very big in size. If you are targeting large pike that are greater than 10 lbs use large lures. 8 inch and bigger crank baits are my lure of choice. The color doesn’t usually matter; however, fire tiger seems to be a color that works well all year round.
• Troll fast. Pike are fast fish and will attack your lure even if it is moving quickly. Trolling at a quicker pace allows you to cover more water and will attract pike. Using shiny lures such as spinners works great if it’s a sunny day out.
• Use braided line. Regular line will snap. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hooked into a mammoth of a pike and had my line snapped near the boat. These fish have razor sharp teeth and will put up a great fight. Especially if you’re dealing with a larger fish. I like using a 15lb test braided line and have found it to be effective for both small and large pike. If you are not using braided line then be sure to use a steel leader.
• Always net your catch. Pike have sharp teeth so you really don’t want to get too close. Net your fish and use long pliers to remove the hooks each and every time.
• Try a daredevil. This is a specific spoon designed to target pike. Its works amazingly well. I always use the largest size available and have caught some truly massive pike on them.
• Don’t over think it. Unlike many other species, pike are very easy to catch. They are extremely aggressive and are not picky eaters. Simply get your lure in front of them and if they see it they will attack it.
Northern Pike Lures and Bait
This section was one of the easiest sections for us to write. Why you may ask? Because pike eat literally everything that moves. Big monster pike will go for big monster lures. Both live and replica bait will work, however I typically use replica when fishing pike. Below are my recommendations:
• Live bait such as worms, minnows, leeches, and frogs will work but are usually not necessary. I fins that replica lures create more of a disturbance in the water making them more noticeable to pike.
• Crank baits- These are my personal favorite. In deep waters I will use a deep diver and in shallow waters I typically use a jointed floater. Crankbaits have numerous treble hooks making it easy to set the hook when a pike strikes. These can be trolled with as well and cause a lot of water disturbance which will get the pikes attention. Fire tiger is my color of choice but I have done well with nearly every color out there. These lures are my go to for pike and should be yours as well.
• Spoon- big spoons work great for pike too. They usually have a silver shiny side that reflects sunlight and gets the pikes attention. Daredevils which are red and white on one side are my personal favorite if using a spoon. Spoons work well in deep waters and off shorelines.
• Spinners- these work well but are usually smaller in size and will only attract smaller pike
• Plastics + Jigs- These can work well also, but their smaller size and single hook will usually limit you to smaller sized pike.
• Poppers and Floating Mice- These lures work great in shallow water. If you find a nice weed bed try tossing a few casts over top using one of these. Same rule applies, larger lures will attract larger fish.
Best Time To Catch Pike
When it comes to targeting pike there are many things we as anglers need to take into consideration. Weather condition, the type of lures we use, and of course the time of day are all very important factors. Pike pretty much bite anything that you put in front of them, which is why time of the day plays a huge role in where they are located in the water. Personal experience and decades of pike fishing have helped us determine the best times to catch pike. Note that pike really can be caught all day long, you just need to adjust your fishing patterns to find the big ones. Pike are very territorial and will attack anything you throw at it which is why its all about determining where they are.
Pike in the morning are more active than usual. Early morning right before the sun rises is an excellent time to target hungry pike. You can either find them in open or shallow water hunting down their first meal of the day. Great lures to use in the morning are jointed raps as well as top water splashers like a Hula Popper. Since waters are usually calm in the morning top water lures cause quite the commotion and pike are usually in the shallows looking for baitfish.
After the morning hunt pike usually calm down and head to weed beds or deeper waters; especially when it is hot out. In the afternoon water levels heat up a bit making pike more lazy and difficult to catch. If you want to pike fish in thew afternoon try spinners and weedless spoons and troll them through weed beds. If the doesn’t work you can try deep diving rapalas and troll around 25 feet of water. You may get lucky, but afternoon fishing for pike is usually not your best bet.
Pike will often get a second wind once the sun starts to go down and the water cools off. During this time the pike head out on the prowl again making them and easy target. Fish for pike in the evening just as you would in the AM. Just note that once the sun goes down and the water darkens the pike usually calm down again.
So What Time Do We Fish Pike At?
Well from our experience the best time to land monster pike over and over again is first thing in the morning. We like to head out right before the sun starts to come up. As soon as the sun starts to peak you can be sure to nail a few monsters so make sure your set up and ready to rumble. Pike do not feed in the dark of the night so when they head out in the AM they are starving and will attack everything in their path. At about 11 AM once the sun is shining hard we usually call it a day.