6 Northern Pike Fishing Tips: How to Catch Pike

Updated on April 21, 2022 by

With vacant eyes, serpentine shape, and sharp teeth, if you are a fishing enthusiast then the northern pike may have come into your mind. This species of carnivorous fish is commonly found in the northern wilderness, but due to stocking, they can now be found in the south as well.

Pike fishing can be a bit tedious, especially for the inexperienced anglers out there. This is why, after a tremendous amount of trial and error, we have gathered a couple of tips to make pike fishing easier for you.

Without further ado, let’s talk about everything you need to know about pike fishing.

Best Bait for Pike

Choosing the right bait is one of the most important aspects of fishing. This becomes even truer when you are pike fishing.

Chartreuse, yellow, and white colors are great for pike fishing due to their uncanny resemblance to food fish. Here are a couple of options you could opt for as bait for pike:

  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Trout
  • Mackerel

There are also plenty of lures that you can try.

Best Time to Fish for Pike

If you are from the northern United States, then late May or even early June might be the prime time for you to get your hands on a bigger pike. While the main spawn begins in April. It is generally recommended that if you want to target hungry pike, then you begin your hunt early in the morning.

During the early morning, pikes are normally out searching for their morning meals, but what they do not know is that anglers like us are out there to get them as well.

Pike Fishing Locations

There are plenty of locations in the northern United States if you want to go for pike fishing. All you need is a keen eye, and know which places to visit and before you know it, you will be hooking this trophy fish.

Following are some of the lakes and rivers you could go to for pike fishing:

The Madison Chain

Madison Chain has 5 distinct lakes you could go to for pike fishing. Our personal favorite among them is the Lake Mendota due to the endless fishing options it offers.

Green Bay

If you want to target bigger pike, then Green Bay is the best place you could go to. One of the best parts about fishing here is that you can find tour guides who would assist you in not only picking the best spots, but also the right gear and equipment.

Lake Onalaska

You can expect to catch a variety of fish in this lake. Pike fishing usually occurs here in 4 to 7 feet water. (Pro Tip: Use a bait of 4-5 inches so you can increase your chances of catching bigger pike here)

Best Month for Pike

The main spawn of the pike fish starts around April usually under open water or ice. It might surprise you but the spawn can even be under six feet of water or at times, even lesser. It is best to start as early as you can in the season if you want to improve your chances of pike fishing.

Bigger pike fishes as we mentioned can only be found for a short period. You can expect them to generally be around at a depth of 12 to 20 feet as the temperature remains ideal both during the day and night.

Pike Fishing Techniques

Regardless of where you are fishing, if you want to increase your chances of catching this trophy fish then you need to use the right techniques.

Here are a couple of techniques you can follow to increase your chances to hook this fish:

  • Until you find the ideal location, start off with a mix of trolling and casting.
  • Always try opting for a natural food source for the fish such as dead bait.

Pike Fishing Equipment

Choosing the right equipment is just as important as being present at the right place at the right time in fishing. One general rule that you must keep in mind when pike fishing is that they are bigger than the regular fish you are accustomed to fishing. So, it is only natural that you might want to tweak with your equipment a bit as well.

Most people do not know this but bite indication and wire can also be really useful for pike fishing. Also, long forceps, long-nosed pliers along with wire cutters may too come in handy.

As for the type of rods, the general recommendation for pike fishing is to at least go for 12ft long with a test curve of 2.75 lbs. If you go for anything less, then there’s a great chance that pike will break the rod so you shouldn’t risk it.

The line you choose should at least have a 15lbs breaking strain, anything less than that and you will see the pike fish run away in front of your own eyes. Pike has amazingly sharp teeth, so one of the most important pieces of equipments for pike fishing is a trace wire. The safest and easiest to use trace wire is 7/29 but anything more than that will suffice as well.

Lastly, a medium-heavy 5000-8000 spinning reel with a 15lbs mono line will be more than enough to get the job done and make your pike fishing experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.

The Bottom Line

This was all the information about pike fishing that we gathered through years of trial and error. One last tip that we would like to give you is that if you do manage to capture this trophy fish, do not bring your face too close to it otherwise things may become a bit problematic.

If you are looking for information on other North American fish species then please read through our massive guide.

We wish you the best of luck and hopefully, now you have enough knowledge to prepare yourself for the next pike fishing season!

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Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.

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