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As a passionate angler, one of my favorite targets is the Northern Pike (Esox lucius) – a long-bodied, carnivorous fish found across North America, Europe, and Asia. Often compared to barracudas due to their similar physique, these distinct species are formidable aquatic predators.
Particularly in the Northern U.S. and Canada, fishing for Northern Pikes in sprawling lakes is a top recreational activity. As an experienced fisherman, I can provide invaluable tips to enhance your Northern Pike fishing success.
Summer Strategy: Opt for Large, Topwater Baits
When the summer sun heats the lake waters, pikes are known for their aggressive attacks on surface lures. For waters devoid of excessive grass or algae, floating crankbaits or poppers work like a charm. If you’re fishing in grass-filled waters or amidst lily pads, opt for weedless surface baits like scum frogs.
Surface lures create a commotion that pikes find irresistible, especially in shallow, near-shore waters. Crankbaits should be steadily reeled, while poppers should be used with enough force to disrupt the water, drawing the pikes’ attention.
When using scum frogs, adopt a slow reeling pace with subtle rod twitches, mimicking a frog’s natural motion in grassy areas or lily pads.
Deep Water Tactic: Rattle Traps are Your Ally
For those deeper waters, rattle traps, or Rat-l-Traps, are incredibly effective for catching Northern Pike. These large, deep-diving baits should be cast out and steadily reeled in from the lower water column.
Interestingly, bright colors that are generally avoided for bass fishing become advantageous for Northern Pike. Reds, yellows, and chartreuses can greatly attract pike in deeper waters free of algae and grass – always have a few in your tackle box!
Bordering the Shallows: Employ Large Spinners
Rooster tail spinners with gold or silver blades and treble hooks can be your secret weapon for fishing around the edges of shallow waters and drop-offs during the warmer months. Whether from a boat or while wading, casting parallel to the shore and reeling in at a steady pace can prove extremely fruitful.
Try to avoid rod twitches or jigging, maintaining a straight swim for the spinner. Maintain a medium reeling pace to give the fish a second chance if they miss the lure on the first attempt.
Brightly colored spinners with red, orange, or yellow feathers tend to stand out, making them appealing to pikes who aren’t deterred by such vivid hues.
Medium Depth Strategy: Rely on Large Swimbaits
Swimbaits, bearing a striking resemblance to smaller fish, are sizeable lures that exhibit excellent motion when reeled in steadily. Those that mimic bream or shad are particularly successful for Northern Pike fishing in medium-depth regions close to the shore.
Aim to reel these lures through cuts and trenches or along the shallows’ perimeters. Remember, it might require several casts to the same spots to thoroughly cover prime fishing areas.
Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice starting your fishing journey, these tips will undoubtedly increase your success in Northern Pike fishing. As you venture into the waters of the Northern United States and Canada, remember to enjoy the experience, savoring each moment in the great outdoors.