Pike are very aggressive and will attack nearly anything that get too close- this includes other pike. 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.
You can often spot large northern pike basking in shallow water, special care has to be taken to not spook the fish when approaching the shore. When casting past your target and retrieve your lure up.
Shallow bays are the best spots to target pike in the spring. Start with bays on the north side of the lake with dark bottoms, as these will warm up first. Bays with green weeds are ideal - pike will use the weeds for cover, and green weeds are evidence of warmer water temperatures.
Feeder creeks and inlets are prime spots for pike fishing in the spring. The creeks bring warm oxygenated water that attracts both pike and their prey. Many species of fish that pike feed upon also spawn in the current in the spring. Big pike will follow these fish as they move into the current, looking for an easy meal of a fish that is preoccupied with mating.Feeder Creeks
Studies have shown that the optimal temperature for pike is between 66.2° and 68.9°F. As the shallow bays heat up in the spring, pike will seek this ideal temperature in progressively deeper water. Look for this water temperature close to shallow bays. Within this temperature range, find weed beds that the pike can use to ambush prey.
Lure Choices and trolling
The number one lure for spring pike fishing is a suspending jerkbait. Match the shape, size and color to the pike's most likely forage, but error on the larger size. While retrieving, leave several extra long pauses of 30-60 seconds. In the spring, pike will often examine a jerkbait for a while before striking. Also pause and wait after any missed strikes. Large soft plastic jerkbait also work well, especially around weeds where treble hooks would cause problems. Fish them weightless with a large offset hook. Jerk them over the tops of weeds and allow them to slowly fall in any pockets. Another good soft plastic bait that can be fished in a similar manner is a large lizard.
If the pike are active, then large inline spinners or buzzbaits work well. Use ones with bucktail dressings, and retrieve them quickly.
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 the 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. 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
Pike eat literally everything that moves. Big monster pike will go for big monster lures. Both live and artificial bait will work.
- Live bait such as worms, minnows and leeches, but artificial lures create more of a disturbance in the water making them more noticeable to pike.
- Crank baits- In deep waters use a deep diver and in shallow waters 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.
- 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 a Rusty Myers 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.