Northern Pike Fishing

Water Wolf on the Prowl

I flipped my Lindy Hot Spot inline spinner bait into a little pocket that was surrounded by flooded timber and as the slap of the blade hit the water it exploded, as if some mischievous kid had thrown a cherry bomb behind my lure. As I set the hook on a chunky northern pike I wondered if there were any more in that same little pocket. I started to question how a fish that weighed about 12 lbs. could be in such shallow water. The back of the fish must have been about an inch below the surface, because my Bottom Line depth finder indicated that I was only in 1ft. of water. As I wrestled this fish to the boat, unhooked and released him, I quickly used my bow mount Minn Kota motor to reposition myself directly in front of that pocket.

With the next cast the same thing happened all over again. Spring is definitely pike season. Spring is also a good season to chase those walleyes and who can resist a bunch of nice crappies out of cold spring water. In fact, I can almost hear them frying in the pan as I write this column.

Northern pike are early spawners and most of them have finished laying eggs before most anglers venture out on open water in the spring. Therefore, they are interested in feeding and replenishing their body weights that have dropped during the spawning cycle. This makes the pike one of the most explosive fighters in the spring of the year.

Pike will seek out particular areas for spawning. In lakes they'll move into shallow bays near deep water. In rivers, expect to find them in back waters off the main channel. These areas warm up faster than surrounding waters and draw the most active northern first. If there is a feeder creek or a small river running into the bays, the spot will be even better. Look for beginning weed growth or flooded timber, and you will surely be in pike territory.

This is also one of the best times of the year to get a trophy northern pike. These monsters move into the shallow areas and because of their unique cycle of spawning and feeding a number of larger fish are caught. Big northern can be very spooky fish, and in shallow water they become even more cautious. Quick movements and noises in the boat or a lot of splashing along the shoreline will scare the fish out of the area, or at least cause them to shy away for your bait.

What baits work the best, is a question that many anglers have asked especially for early season pike. Of course that will depend on the water clarity and the weather. Water clarity dictates that you use something that is visual to the northern. Specific colors might include white, chartreuse, orange, and red. Mix that with flash, like the Lindy Giant Tandem Spin spinner bait with blades and you will have a dynamite lure for these early spring monsters. If the weather has been warming and bright for a couple days prior to your fishing and suddenly it is overcast, don't hesitate to go pike fishing and you will have one of the most memorable days on the water.

Presentation of your bait should also vary. Many times anglers will throw a spinnerbait out and retrieve it with lightening speed. This might be fine if you are fishing in the middle of the summer, but in the cold water of spring slow down your presentation. You might even want to try a jigging presentation with your spinner. Allow the lure to sink and flutter towards the bottom then pick it up and allow it to fall again. If you happen to spot a fish in the shallows don't cast directly at it, instead cast past it and retrieve past it. Casting directly at it can spook the fish.

Spinnerbaits are great and a lot of fun, but don't overlook soft stick baits like the Lindy Tiger Tube. Again, here the presentation should be slow and steady especially along submerged logs and developing cabbage. This will pull monster pike from docks and rocks. Count it down to trigger suspended fish, or quickly toss it back to a big fish that has followed another lure. It is virtually weedless and can be presented in a slow erratic motion that simply drives those pike crazy.

Early season pike fishing is a great way to get out and enjoy a fun filled day on the water. Find some of the areas and use these helpful tips. Above all pay attention and you will be in for some of the most explosive fishing all year.

 

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