Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

Stay up-to-date on hunting, fishing and camping products, trends and news.
Font size: +
3 minutes reading time (602 words)

Northern Pike Fishing

Fishing for Northern Pike (Esox lucius) is a popular and exciting activity for anglers due to the fish's aggressive nature, impressive size, and thrilling fight. Here's a comprehensive guide to Northern Pike fishing, including tips, techniques, gear, and prime locations:

Understanding Northern Pike
  • Habitat: Northern Pike are found in freshwater lakes, rivers, and reservoirs throughout the Northern Hemisphere, particularly in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia.
  • Behavior: They are ambush predators that prefer weedy areas where they can hide and strike at prey. They are active year-round but are most aggressive during spring and fall.
  • Size: They can grow up to 4 feet in length and weigh over 40 pounds, though most caught are between 2 and 15 pounds.
Best Times to Fish
  • Spring: Post-spawn (late spring) when pike are hungry and aggressive.
  • Fall: Cooler temperatures trigger increased feeding activity.
  • Winter: Ice fishing for pike can be productive if you find their wintering areas.
Gear and Tackle
  1. Rods and Reels:
    • Rod: Medium to heavy-action rod, 6.5 to 8 feet long.
    • Reel: Strong spinning or baitcasting reel with a good drag system.
  2. Line:
    • Type: Braided line (30-50 lb test) for its strength and low stretch.
    • Leader: Steel or fluorocarbon leader (20-50 lb test) to prevent pike from biting through the line.
  3. Lures and Baits:
    • Lures: Large spoons, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and crankbaits. Bright colors and flashy patterns work well.
    • Live Bait: Large minnows, suckers, or shiners fished under a bobber or on a quick-strike rig.
    • Soft Plastics: Swimbaits and large soft plastic worms or grubs.
  1. Casting and Retrieving:
    • Weed Edges: Cast along the edges of weed beds or submerged vegetation.
    • Structure: Target underwater structures like logs, rocks, and drop-offs.
    • Retrieve Speed: Vary the retrieve speed and incorporate pauses to trigger strikes.
  2. Trolling:
    • Depth: Use deep-diving crankbaits or add weights to reach desired depths.
    • Speed: Troll at moderate speeds (2-4 mph) along weed lines and drop-offs.
  3. Jigging:
    • Vertical Jigging: Effective in deeper water or when ice fishing. Use heavy jigs tipped with soft plastics or live bait.
    • Lift and Drop: Lift the jig off the bottom and let it fall to mimic injured prey.
  4. Fly Fishing:
    • Gear: Use an 8-10 weight fly rod with a heavy-duty reel.
    • Flies: Large streamers, deceivers, and poppers. Bright and flashy patterns are effective.
Prime Locations
  1. North America:
    • Great Lakes: Lakes Erie, Ontario, and Michigan.
    • Canada: Lakes in Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.
    • Midwest USA: Lakes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
  2. Europe:
    • Scandinavia: Sweden, Finland, and Norway have numerous lakes and rivers with healthy pike populations.
    • Ireland and UK: Many lakes and rivers offer excellent pike fishing.
  3. Russia:
    • Lakes and Rivers: Vast waters in Siberia and northern Russia are home to large pike.
Tips for Success
  1. Patience: Northern Pike can be elusive. Patience and persistence are key.
  2. Stealth: Pike are sensitive to noise and movement. Approach fishing spots quietly.
  3. Proper Handling: Use a landing net and handle pike carefully to avoid injury to yourself and the fish. Use long pliers to remove hooks safely.
  4. Weather Conditions: Pike are more active on overcast days and during early morning or late evening hours.
Safety and Conservation
  • Barbless Hooks: Consider using barbless hooks to make catch-and-release easier and less harmful.
  • Regulations: Always check local fishing regulations regarding size and bag limits to help conserve pike populations.
  • Safety Gear: Wear appropriate clothing, life jackets, and carry a first aid kit, especially when fishing from a boat or ice fishing.

Fishing for Northern Pike offers a thrilling experience for anglers of all skill levels. With the right gear, techniques, and knowledge of their behavior, you can increase your chances of landing these formidable predators.

Subsistence Hunting
How to Tie a Palomar Knot: Step-by-Step Guide