Maybe you have decided to go fishing for northern pike. If so, you could benefit your trip by arming yourself with a few dozen tips to crank in a few more northern pike. Have a look at these pike fishing tips to improve your skill in this sport. Follow these tips, and you will catch more pike.
Tip #1: The Best Time to Catch a Northern Pike
In general, once the waters heat up to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s when northern pike activity will come in red hot. In fact, studies have shown that anywhere from 66.2 degrees to 68.9 degrees Fahrenheit will get the pike active in the water.
Tip #2: How to Fish for Pike in the Winter
If you live in a state where the water gets colder in the winter months, you should understand how the fish get less active during this time. They don’t move as quickly to conserve energy. Sometimes the fish activity will largely depend on the temperature of the water. In the winter months, you don’t want to move the bait as aggressively because the pike don’t exert as much energy during this time.
Tip #3: What to Use for Live Bait
When it comes to live bait for pike, you have a few choices that have proven the most successful. Some of the baits to use for northern pike include:
- Creek chubs
- Blue gills
- Yellow perch
- Fathead Minnows
Any one of these baits will works, but I have especially had luck with the suckers as a live bait. Remember: The larger the bait, the bigger the fish that tends to go after it.
Tip #4: Where to Find Northern Pike
Northern pike love to ambush their prey, and if they’re a bigger fish, they will often take them right from the center so that they can’t run away. Not to mention, it keeps them from attacking. Because of these tendencies, you will often find northern pike hiding out in weeds. They tend to like shallow water between 4 to 6 feet deep.
Tip #5: Fish at River Mouths
You want to cast a line out near a river mouth because of how the northern pike tend to love hanging out in these spots. It becomes a great spot to catch prey coming in and out of the river. Normally, pike don’t like to move into the stream. Instead, they prefer to hide in the surrounding water weeds and the lily pads.
Tip #6: Where to Find Pike in Warm Waters
As the waters start to heat up, you might want to check for pike in some of the deeper waters because the northern pike tend to go to the deeper waters when it heats up. These fish like to take advantage of their surroundings, and they will often blend in quite well with their surroundings.
Tip #7: Just Because You Can’t See Them…
Just because you can’t see the pike doesn’t mean that they’re not there. As my girlfriend once found out during one of our fishing trips, the pike are adept masters of camouflage, and you might not see them before they see your lure. You should always stay prepared and ready to crank in your bait at any moment. Many times, the northern pike will strike in the precise moment that you were unprepared for them.
Tip #8: Know What They Feed On
This changes many times throughout the day and what worked earlier may not work now. You want to match your bait with as close to what they’re feeding on as possible. For example, look at the color and the type of food they’re eating and pick a bait that looks as similar and natural to that food as possible. When you know what they feed on, you can often mimic the bait to get them to go after it.
Tip #9: Understand the River Before Heading Out
One of the biggest things that we can recommend with river fishing for pike is to understand the layout of the river before you head out. Do some research about the river because not all river systems are suitable for pike fishing. Pike, in general, aren’t the best swimmers, so you will want to have a slower moving stream with less current.
In addition, you want enough space so that the pike have plenty of space for mounting an ambush. As I said, these fish will often hide in the weeds and wait for prey to come by before they start to bite at them.
Tip #10: What Kind of Rivers Do Pike Like?
Usually, pike tend to prefer the deeper riverbeds because it gives them more space to mount an attack. You can find them hunting in shallower rivers, but you will have a harder time catching this fish in these waters because of how it isn’t as common. You want to have some areas of the river where it will be anywhere from 6 feet deep to 10 feet deep.
Tip #11: Check the River Bends
A lot of fish tend to like the river bends, and pike are no exception to this rule. That’s because the river bends will give the pike a few moment’s rest before they keep going. They might also choose this as a hiding place knowing that they will find some other fish that like to come around these areas. The current tends to be much weaker in this area, which makes it more popular for pike because they don’t swim as well in the current.
Tip #12: Check the Fallen Trees and Bushes
Northern pike like to hide near the fallen trees and bushes because it gives them a point of ambush where they can pick off wandering prey. In addition, it gives them some shade to sit under and get out of the sun. Along with getting shade, it tends to protect them from predators that might attack them. Pike have to worry about other pike, eagles and other predators that might attack it.
Tip #13: Look for the Weeds
Pike like to hide right in the weed line and whatever prey might come along, and I do mean whatever prey that might come along. These are fish that are notorious for going after a variety of different prey, including baby ducklings, muskrats and even other pike. In fact, they have a reputation for going after prey that will even be half their size. These fearless fish aren’t afraid to pick on the fish their own size!
Tip #14: Want to Catch the Biggest Water Wolves? Here’s How…
If you want to catch a bigger pike, you should choose a bait that is larger. It will attract the larger predators normally. For example, you might choose a 4-inch to 6-inch shiner or a sunfish or perch that grabs the attention of the pike that like to gobble down prey like this.
To get more frantic action in the water from your bait, you could clip its top fin. Northern pike love the sound of the wounded and the dying, and it will drive them right to your bait.
Tip #15: Don’t Rest Your Pole on the Boat While Trolling
This will cause a rattling noise that can scare the northern pike away. You want your fishing pole held up and ready to set the hook if the northern pike should attack. Pike have the ability to sense vibrations in the water, which will send them rushing toward the action, but if it sounds too large like with a boat, it will scare them off.
Tip #16: Find the Food, Find the Pike
Northern pike like to be near the food sources, and they will often follow their food sources. For that reason, if you can’t find any pike, you might look for the different food sources that they will be near. You can usually rest assured that one or two pike will be hiding not too far away from the target fish. It’s time you make the predator into the prey!
Tip #17: Use a Net to Bring It into the Boat
When it comes to northern pike, they will thrash and flop and attack in whatever way they can once you have them on the hook. You want to have a net to bring them into the boat because it makes it much safer. Pike can do a lot of damage, and they always express a willingness to fight whoever challenges them. Don’t challenge a northern pike.
Tip #18: Use a Needle-nose Pliers and Gloves
While pike don’t have teeth like sharks, their teeth can still do plenty of damage if your hand if you get it caught in their mouth. Their teeth were designed to puncture and wound. When they attack, their teeth can do a lot of damage if your hand gets caught in its mouth. A needle-nose pliers puts some distance between your hand and the pike’s mouth.
Putting on some thick gloves will also lend you some protection as you attempt to get the lure out of the pike’s mouth. This is one of the most touchy parts about catching pike, and you have to exercise caution.
Tip #19: Do Trolling
I like trolling because it doesn’t require as much effort on my part as what casting does. I can simply direct the boat while I let the motor do most of the work. The advantage of trolling is how it will let you cover more water, and the more water you cover, the greater your chances of cranking in a big one.
Tip #20: Turn off the Motor Once You Get a Strike
While trolling, you will eventually feel a strike on your line. As soon as you get this strike, you set the hook and hit the kill switch on your boat. This ensures that you don’t pull the hook straight out of the fish’s mouth. In addition, it will make it easier for you to crank in the fish when you don’t have to deal with the current that your motor running is causing.
Tip #21: Hit the Same Area Multiple Times
When northern pike are smaller, they tend to hunt in groups. That’s one of the reasons (along with their voracious appetites), that they were given the title “Water Wolves.” Many times, where you get a strike on one pike, you will find that other pike will hit in the same area. Keep in mind, however, if you want to target the larger pike, they tend to be more solitary.
Tip #22: Find Fast Drop-off Points
You will find that the northern pike like to hang out in places where the water drops fast from 1 to 2 feet to 6 to 10 feet. This provides them with great cover, and they can go after fish more easily this way through hiding.
Tip #23: Target Your Lure to the Circumstances
Especially toward the end of the summer, the weeds will start to overtake the water, and you can find it difficult to fish with certain lures. For that reason, you might use a weedless lure that doesn’t get caught on weeds as much. To be clear, you can still get stuck on weeds, but it lowers the amount of weeds that you will get caught on.
Tip #24: Choose a Metallic Color Lure for Sunny Days
You might choose metallic colors like gold, bronze and chrome when you have a sunny day. That’s because the sun will reflect off the lure and cause a lot of fish like the pike to go after it.
Tip #25: Missed a Strike? Don’t Worry
A lot of times, you will feel a strike, and you don’t set the hook in time to catch the pike. Just because you missed the first strike doesn’t mean that you should give up. Northern pike have a reputation for aggression and because of that, they will sometimes hit your lure two or three times.
Tip #26: How to Set Your Hook
When you get a strike, you will know it. It’s unmistakable when a northern pike attacks your lure. Once you feel the strike, you should jerk your rod back and upwards to set the hook in his mouth. This will catch the hook in his mouth so that you can reel him in.
Tip #27: Slowly Retrieve Along the Weeds
Many fishermen swear by casting your lure along a weed line and slowly retrieving your lure. This gives any pike in the water ample opportunity to lay a smackdown on your lure. Remember: Northern pike like to hide in the weeds and ambush their prey.
This makes them an easy target to hunt them right along the weed line until they attack the lure. If you have a pike hiding in the weeds, they will rush out and slam the lure. Game on!
Tip #28: Search for Underwater Structures
Along with hiding near weed lines, northern pike will hide out at submerged logs, downed timber, underwater trees and sunken structures. During this time, you might put an inline spinner on your line to try to provoke a strike.
Tip #29: Use Fan-style Casting
You don’t want to cast randomly in the water. Instead, use a fan-style casting because this will cover all the areas in the surrounding waters where you might have a northern pike hiding. You want to thoroughly as well as methodically cover the waters to provoke an attack on your lure.
Tip #30: Vary Retrieval Speed
Especially when it comes to the wildlife in the water, you don’t have a creature that will swim at a single speed. Instead, you might switch up your speed from fast to slow to try to make it look more natural and to grab the attention of any neighboring pike in the water. You might even add brief pauses in your retrieval to make the bait even more irresistible.
Tip #31: Different Sizes of Pike Behave Different
The smaller pike still have to worry about becoming the lunch of another fish. Because of that, you will find them in the thickest part of the weeds where they get plenty of cover and run and hide if needed. The medium-sized pike like to hang out at the edge of the weed line where they can still retreat deeply into the weeds. Meanwhile, they can chomp down on any unsuspecting prey like walleye that might come passing through.
If you want the real trophy pike, you will want to search at the points that lead into the weedy bay. They don’t have to worry as much about becoming some other fish’s lunch. While they might patrol near the weed line as well, they tend to like attacking at the points that lead into the bay.
Tip #32: Use a Steel Leader for Pike
Once you put a pike on your lure, they will fight ferociously against this. They will tear up the water, and they will look for any way to get off your hook. As a result, they might thrash right into your line where they can snap it if you don’t have a steel leader at the end of your line to protect yourself from this.
Tip #33: Choose Your Lure Based on Water Clarity
After a storm, it can turn up the mud in the water and create less clarity. Strong winds can also cause the waters to be more murky in shallower water. In murky water, northern pike tend to hunt on sound. For that reason, you might use a lure with a rattle to bring them in.
When you have clear waters across the board, anything works. You don’t have to choose too carefully then. However, you want to match as closely to what they’re eating as possible.
Tip #34: Not Biting? Choose Another Lure
When the pike don’t seem to be biting, you might pick the same lure of another color. You could also switch to another lure altogether if you have tried multiple colors. Northern pike are like humans, and they like to have variety in their meals.
Tip #35: Two Hours Before Sunset and Sunrise
In general, the best time to catch northern pike will be two hours before sunset and right around sunrise. I personally like to be out right at sunrise because I’m one of the few people out on the water, and I have found that I catch the most pike right at sunrise. The best water temperature will be right around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tip #36: Not as Aggressive in Deep Water
When the pike start to go deeper, they normally won’t act as aggressively as what they do when they hit on bait in the shallower waters. Through understanding that, you might use a slower retrieval when in deeper waters and use a faster retrieval when in shallower waters.
Tip #37: Grab the Fish Behind the Head and Eyes
After you have brought the fish into the boat, you will usually want to grab them right behind the head and eyes. You might grab it by the gill plates if you have a fish that is too big to grab behind the eyes, but in general, these will be the safest places to grab them. Be careful because pike have been known to start thrashing again without warning.
Tip #38: Using Jaw Spreaders on the Pike
You might use a jaw spreader to open the mouth of the pike safely, but if you plan to release the pike back into the water, be careful on the smaller fish. That’s because you can cause permanent damage to the jaw.
Tip #39: Fillet Properly
One of the most common complaints against pike comes from how they’re very bony when you them. You have to watch out for the bones. However, when you fillet them properly, you don’t have to worry as much about the pike having bones in them when eating them.
Tip #40: Beware of the Bones
With any fish, not just pike, you should always be aware of the fact that there might be bones in the fish. You don’t want to swallow fish bones because of how it can pose a true danger if it gets stuck in your esophagus or digestive track. In some cases, it will cause an abscess, but you have other times where the damage can be life threatening.
Tip #41: Keep It Moving
Half the battle comes down to finding the fish, and you will only do this if you cover a lot of area. If one area doesn’t seem to hide any pike, try another area. Fish aren’t evenly distributed when it comes to finding the pike on the lakes. Sometimes you will find a lot of them in one area and none in the next.
Tip #42: Get a Longer Rod
This has a few advantages when it comes to fishing for northern pike. First, you can cover a larger area because you can cast farther. Second, it gives your fishing pole a little more strength once you get a pike on the line.
Tip #43: How to Use Soft Plastic Swimbait
Personally, I’ve never liked to use soft plastic bait on the water because it seems like I get fewer hits with it. However, you can use this during a retrieval to bring in the pike and make your lure look more realistic. When you fish with a swimbait, the retrieval pattern that you use will usually have a lot more importance than the color or the shape of your swimbait.
Tip #44: Use Spoons
I’ve always liked to use spoons because it seems like the pike attack them all the time. Spoons were designed with the purpose of looking as much like an injured fish as possible, and the northern pike will often come in and attack them. You might want to get a collection of spoons so that you can switch them out if the pike don’t seem to be biting on one. Pike are opportunistic predators, and they love the thought of an easy prey.
Tip #45: Three Lures in Three Different Colors
In general, you want to get three different lures and each in three different colors. This can cover most of the scenarios that will pop up with northern pike. However, a lot of fishermen like to have more because of how they have gotten hooked on the sport. The three lures that you want include spoons, soft plastic swimbait and the inline spinner.
When you have these lures in three different color combinations, you cover most of the scenarios that will be the most likely to arise.
Tip #46: Mark the Spots on the GPS
After you have gotten some hits from trolling, you might mark the spots on the GPS so that you can go back and troll these areas more specifically. You want to pull up at least two or three spots before you do this, but it can make the fishing a lot more fun.
Tip #47: Use a Fish Finder
Fish finders have become a popular piece of technology among fishermen because of how it helps them to look at depth, and that will give you a better insight on where to look for pike. In general, they like waters between 6 to 10 feet deep, and they like to hide out right along the weed line.
Tip #48: Use 15 to 20-pound Test
In general, you want 15 to 20-pound test when it comes to northern pike because of how it will be strong enough to hold most northern pike.
Tip #49: Braided Line
In most cases, I have found braided line to be overrated, and I don’t really find it worth the extra cost. Braided line will usually cost more than monofilament, and it adds more stress to your rod and reel. This will cause premature breakdown of your line. Not to mention, you pay more for this.
The other biggest downside of braided line comes from the fact that it can be an unholy nightmare to untangle. Just because it costs more doesn’t always mean that it will be worth the cost.
Tip #50: Know Your Prey
You have to understand your fish before you can use its behavior against it. Northern pike will act aggressively towards anything in most circumstances, and they have even been known to eat their own kind. For that reason, the mortality rate among the younger northern pike is quite high.
Tip #51: Small River Pike Fishing
I said before that you don’t find a lot of pike in some rivers, and the smaller rivers have especially become a true statement for this. However, sometimes the smaller rivers contain some of the biggest trophy northern pike because of how they have few predators that will take them out, and as a result, they just keep growing. If you want numbers, the small rivers won’t be for you.
Tip #52: Bigger Rivers Harder to Locate the Pike
In general, the smaller rivers will usually be more obvious on where you can cast a line to catch the pike. With the larger rivers, it might take a little more work because of how the pike have even more areas where they can hide.
Tip #53: Pike Like Colder Water
Northern pike will often go toward the colder water because of how they like it more. That’s one of the reasons that they will often go deeper when the temperature is warmer out because it heats up the lake. You might search for them in the areas with shade and drop-offs to catch more of them.
Tip #54: Remove Their Prominent Y-Bones
While northern pike make for an excellent meal at the table, you want to remove their prominent y-bone during the fillet. This has become one of the biggest reasons that a lot of people think that northern pike meat is too bony.
Tip #55: Larger Lures Better?
Usually, you will target a larger sized pike, but you also have the advantage of the removal of the hook being much easier when you have a larger lure. You will thank yourself for using a larger lure because of how it makes life so much easier after you have caught a pike.
Tip #56: The Exception to the Steel Leader Rule
In most cases, you want a steel leader because of how a thrashing pike can cut your line and get away. The steel leader prevents this. That is, the steel leader prevents this unless you’re trolling with crankbait. This bait moves fast, and you will have a much higher likelihood of catching the pike right through the lip to where it won’t be as likely to cut the line.
Tip #57: Move the Bait around and Make Noise
As wolves of the water, these fish have no fear, and they will usually go towards lots of noise, rather than away from it. This ranks as one of the most aggressive fish species out there, and they can be a lot of fun. If you have any fish in the area, it won’t take long before you’re in a battle between man and fish.
Tip #58: Don’t Spend Too Much Time in a Single Spot
If you don’t seem to be getting bites in one area, you may want to pick it up and move elsewhere. Because northern pike are so aggressive, you can typically count on them to attack the lure if they’re in the area. Also, where you find one pike, you will most likely find others.
Tip #59: Pike Change with the Seasons
You should understand how this fish tends to change with the coming of the seasons. In the summer months, the action will be red hot. They will strike at almost anything, and they will come hard and fast. In the winter months, you want to play more conservative because the fish will most more slowly and try to conserve their energy.
Over the spring season, this can be one of the most fun times because of how they don’t have a lot of places to hide yet because the weeds haven’t grown out completely.
Tip #60: Try Spring Pike Fishing
If you have never gone fishing for pike in the spring, you don’t realize how much fun it can be. This is one of the most productive times for going after pike. During this time, the pike will either be spawning, or they will be recovering from spawning, but they will start to go on the prowl more after a long winter season where they weren’t as aggressive.
Tip #61: Bring a Buddy, Catch More Fish
Fishing for pike with a friend can be twice as fun as fishing on your own. When you have a friend along, you cover twice the water, and even if one of you doesn’t catch any fish, you make it more fun because your friend might get a strike, which is still equally as exciting. I love to go fishing with my friends.
Tip #62: Keep Your Line in the Water
The longer that you have your line in the water, the increased chances you have of getting a bite. You want to keep your line in the water as much as possible because you never know when a fish will pass by. I always remember my brother telling me, “Keep your line in the water!”
Tip #63: Switch to Live Bait
Let’s say that you have been out on the water a couple of hours, and the pike don’t seem to be going after the artificial lures. You might pull out the live bait instead to see if you can crank in some more fish. Remember, you want to match the bait according to what you think the pike might be currently going after.
Tip #64: Use Dead Bait
Since northern pike acts as scavengers as well as go after some live bait, you can throw out some dead bait and see if they will go after it. Pike love it when they can catch an easy meal in the form of another dead fish.
Tip #65: How to Have the Most Success with Dead Bait
You will have the most success with dead bait through keeping it suspended 1 to 2 feet off the lake’s bottom. You might use a big float as a way of accomplishing this.
Tip #66: Don’t Bring Too Light of a Rod
Northern pike can get pretty big, and you don’t want too light of a rod because it will make your job that much harder. You want a medium to medium-heavy rod to get the job done. You will want the rod to be anywhere from 7 to 8 feet in length. Even your average bass fishing setup will work fine for this.
Tip #67: Get a Longer Handle
You want to have a longer handle on your fishing pole because you’d be surprised how much easier it becomes to maneuver your rod. I like the longer handle because of how it doesn’t feel as difficult to crank the pike in once I have him on the hook.
Tip #68: How to Choose Reels
As a rule of thumb, you will usually want your reel to be anywhere from 3000 to 4000 in size for fishing pike. This will lend you enough heft to where you can still maneuver with the larger pike on your line. A beefy enough reel will give you the ability to handle some of the more monster-sized northern pike.
Tip #69: Braided Line Preferences
You will see some pike anglers who like the braided line because of how it has incredible durability, and it holds up even when you cast it into the rocky or woody parts of the water. Unlike monofilament, however, braided line doesn’t stretch.
Tip #70: Eat It at Least Once
One of the great things about northern pike is that they taste incredible. They rank right up there with trout and walleye when it comes to flavor, but you have to learn how to fillet them properly to get rid of the bones. That’s one of the biggest things that gives this fish a bad name when eating it.
Tip #71: Live Bait between 8 to 12 Inches
In general, a lot of pike anglers will recommend that you use a minnow or sucker between 8 to 12 inches because it will attract a larger pike. Anything smaller, and you tend to get a lot of other types of fish that you don’t want. Keep in mind, however, that the larger the bait that you use, the less that you will catch.
Some people like the numbers game because it puts more pike on their plate at the dinner table.
Tip #72: No Wrong Time to Fish for Pike
While you have times where you will catch a lot fewer pike, I’ve caught northern pike at all hours of the day. You don’t have a right time or a wrong time to catch pike because of how you can catch them at almost any time. You do have time periods will you will catch more of them than at others. For example, you will catch them more two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset.
Tip #73: Don’t Fish for Pike at Night
You might hear some people say that you can catch them at night, but in general, they aren’t as active at night. That’s because of how these fish have poor night vision, and if you do catch them at night, it will most likely be because they heard your lure. Using a lure with a rattle at night could increase your chances of catching them.
Tip #74: Use Bright Lures
I’ve found that bright lures tend to have a lot of luck on the water. Using a bright orange, yellow or red lure usually gives me a lot of luck. Usually, bright lures will work their magic on the cloudy days when the northern pike can’t see your lure as well. Bright lures also work well in muddy water because of how it helps the lure to stand out.
Tip #75: What Color to Use on Sunny Days?
On the sunny days, you usually want to pull out a black or blue lure on the water, unless water clarity isn’t great. Then you’d want to stick with a bright lure. For sunny days, you might also use a metallic lure because it will glint off the sun and become an attraction point to any pike that might be in the area.
Tip #76: Troll Fast
It may sound contrary to what you’d think, but pike will attack your lure even if it is moving fast. When you troll at a quicker pace, it helps you to cover more water. As a result, you will likely get more strikes. Obviously, you want to troll at a speed within reason, but a faster speed will give you more opportunities to catch a pike.
Tip #77: Use a Daredevil
Daredevils are a specific type of spoon that was intended to target northern pike. They work astoundingly well. In general, I always use the largest size that I can find because of how pike are known to target fish even half their size. Not to mention, I have caught some monsters using the daredevil.
The unique wiggling and wobbling of the daredevil is part of what many northern pike have a hard time resisting before they attack.
Tip #78: Don’t Overthink It
One of the best things about pike is that they don’t have too much that they won’t go after. You can catch pike on many different kinds of lures because of how these fish will go after almost anything. They’re one of the most aggressive species out there.
Tip #79: Not All Lakes Were Created Equal
I’ve seen some lakes where you’d cast out a line and within five minutes, you’d have a hit at the end of your line. At the same time, I’ve gone up to two hours without finding a single bite on other lakes. Sometimes, it’s all about the timing on the lake as well, but you have times where certain lakes are better than others.
Tip #80: Deeper Water in the Winter
In general, northern pike tend to go into the deeper water once you hit mid winter. That’s because their preferred foraging fish will also go deeper into the water.
Tip #81: Know Where to Look
As we’ve previously shown you where to look for fish, you should always begin your search in these areas. Knowing where to look can save you a lot of time because you can go right to the places where the pike like to hide. You may not catch one right off the bat, but you increase your chances and set yourself up for the best possible chance of catching one.
Tip #82: More Predictable in the Fall
The bigger pike tend to be more predictable one the fall season rolls around. You can pattern out their behavior much easier during this time of the year because of how they tend to be more hungry. They’re preparing to store energy over the long winter. Once the winter season comes, they don’t act as aggressively like many species.
Tip #83: Try the Rocky Structures
I like to fish for the pike in the rockier areas because of how they tend to be at the reefs, the gull rocks and the off-points. In general, you can normally find at least one northern pike hiding in these areas, but many times, you can come out with three or four.
Tip #84: Troll vs Casting
Which should you do? That depends on the circumstances, honestly. Trolling works well because of how you can cover more area. Once you have found an area, you might keep casting around in the area to see what you can pull up.
Tip #85: Troll around an Island
You can often crank up at least one hungry pike by trolling close to islands because of how the lake bed tends to be in these areas. You will troll right around the shoreline. Many times, these areas will have a lot of baitfish around where the pike can feed off them.
Tip #86: Where to Find the Big Northern in the Spring
Usually, in the early spring, you will find northern pike at around 5 to 10 feet of water. That’s because during this time, they like to be in the warmer parts of the water to warm up after a long winter season. They will come off the winter season being hungry as all get out, and they will strike at most baits.
Tip #87: Use Tip-ups in the Winter
As soon as ice fishing season rolls around, you may want to pull out the tip-ups. This can yield some great results fast. The advantage of a tip up is that you can set it, and as soon as you see the flag shoot up, you go running to it. The advantage is that you don’t have to watch this as closely.
Tip #88: Know the Size of Your Target
If you want to catch a larger pike, you will use a different lure than what you would with a smaller pike. Before you ever put lure to water, you should understand the type of fish that you want to target.
Tip #89: Use Casting to Target Specific Areas
One of the times where you might want to use casting to catch a northern pike comes down to when you think you see an area where they might be hiding. You can target the area much better through casting than what you could do if you were to do trolling where the lure goes along with the current.
Tip #90: How to Judge the Age of Your Fish
In general, the larger pike will be a much older fish. However, northern pike grow fast because of their bottomless appetite. They’re always hungry. Usually, a northern pike will grow anywhere from 10 to 12 inches in a single year. That should give you an idea of how big these fish can get and how fast. Their average lifespan will be up to seven years, but they have a much higher mortality rate when younger.
Tip #91: Seek the Grassy Underwater Areas
Northern pike like to have an area where they can blend into the surroundings and mount an attack. Anywhere with aquatic vegetation will do. They will use this as a hiding spot until they decide to race out and take their prey unaware.
Tip #92: Use Suckers or Chubs
I like to use shiners as live bait because of how they have a nervous energy that makes them an attractive target to northern pike. They will often go after them if given the chance. I like to use suckers and chubs, but they don’t work quite as well.
Tip #93: Don’t Be without a Jacket
When you go fishing, you should always bring along a jacket. You can store it in the boat when you don’t need it, but you can bring it out if the winds start to get strong. It saves you from getting cold out on the water.
Tip #94: What to Have along with You While Fishing
You have a few things that you want to have along with you when you go fishing for northern pike. Some of the things that you will want to have include:
- Needle-nose pliers
- Fishing net
- Fishing pole
Tip #95: Use Spinnerbaits against Weeds
In areas with a high weed concentration, you can get around this through using a spinnerbait. That’s because spinnerbaits are weedless, and while this won’t stop all the weeds, it tends to stop a lot of them.
Tip #96: Cast When You Have A lot of Weeds
The one circumstance where you want to cast is when you have the lakes overrun with weeds. You can’t troll too easily because you will hit the weeds. There comes a certain season where this becomes overwhelming. You can get around this through casting because of how your casts will target spaces away from the weeds.
Tip #97: Scout It Out
Before you decide to start casting, you typically want to scout it out because of how this will reveal the best areas for fishing. Not to mention, casting has a huge disadvantage if you’re targeting the wrong area for catching the fish. You want to scout out the area first to make sure that you hit the right places. You can mark it on your GPS to ensure that you remember the right place.
Tip #98: The Tackle That Will Catch a Pike
You have a few types of tackle that will catch more pike than others. Some of the most popular choices when it comes to fishing for pike include:
- Buzz baits
- Dead baits
Tip #99: After a Few Heavy Frosts
Once the heavy frosts hit, the baitfish tend to head for deeper water. As they do this, the northern pike will follow their prey into the deeper water, which means that you will have to fish in the deeper waters to catch them.
Tip #100: Big Pike and Jacks Don’t Get Along
Northern pike are territorial by nature, and the big pike will attack and eat the smaller jacks as a threat to their meals. Because of that, you will rarely find the small northern pike near the bigger ones. The bigger northern pike tend to hunt more solitary than the smaller ones.
Tip #101: Pike Have a Keen Sense of Smell
While some have suggested that the northern pike have a sense of smell as keen as the shark, I’d doubt that. Nevertheless, they still have an advanced sense of smell to where they can follow a scent trail for quite a ways. You might use this against them through enhancing your bait with concentrated oils.
Before you head out fishing, you should also wash your hands with a scentless soap with the understanding that northern pike will pick up on the scent from your hands. You don’t want your hands to smell like anything unnatural because of how this could send the pike in the other direction.
These are some pike fishing tips that will hopefully help you to catch more pike while out on the water. Understanding this majestic fighter can go a long way to help you catch more of them.