Northern Pike Facts – Fishing For Northern Pike
Northern pike are a predatory fish that thrive in colder water temperatures. Generally found in the northern half of the United States and all of Canada, anglers fish for northern pike because of their aggressiveness and fighting ability. Below you’ll find some northern pike facts that should help you the next time you’re fishing for northern pike.
Northern Pike Fishing Facts
|Nicknames:||jack, jackfish, pike, northern, snakes, hammer-handles, water wolves|
|Family:||Pike (Muskellunge and Northern Pike are the only species in the Pike family)|
|Range:||Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, Alaska, Rocky Mountains and Northeast United States, most all of Canada and parts of the United Kingdom|
|Habitat:||Weed beds, reeds, vegetation in shallower bays, cooler water|
|Spawn:||Late winter and early spring depending on ice out and water temperatures|
|Baits& Lures:||BIG Baits, flashy, noisy spinners, fish-mimicking crankbaits, spoons|
|Primary Prey:||other fish, frogs, ducklings|
|Supreme Fishing Times:||most all the time in spring and early summer, when the water is still cool in the shallow bays and creek mouths|
|Size Range:||average size is about three to eight pounds, but northern pike can be caught as small as about 15 inches, all the way up to 50 inches|
|Table Fare:||excellent flaky, white flesh, does not taste “fishy”, however they are difficult to fillet because of their unique “y-bone” structure|
|Difficulty to Catch:||easy to moderate. Spring fishing is easier than summer and fall fishing generally in the warmer regions of their range. Northern regions of their range, the water stays cool enough for them to be caught fairly easily with the right fishing tackle|
|Initial Investment in Equipment:||fairly low, less than $100 will get you started with a decent rod and reel, steel leaders, 15 lb test fishing line and a few lures.|
Northern Pike Basics – Fishing For Beginners
What Do You Need to Start Fishing for Northern Pike?
As mentioned above, a suitable medium action spinning rod and reel combo can cost you between $50 and $75. Add some 15 lb test fluorocarbon or monofilament fishing line for around $10. Steel or titanium leaders are recommended for northern pike fishing because of the sharp teeth that they have, and these will cost you $5 to $10.
A good starter set of northern pike fishing lures should look something like this:
- Two spoons
- Two spinnerbaits (one in-line spinner, one over the top spinner)
- Two minnow-like crankbaits in the six inch size range
Don’t forget to have a pair of pliers or forceps at all times while fishing for northern pike, they are a must.
Where to Fish for Northern Pike?
Local rivers where creek and stream mouths feed into the main river. Northern pike will lurk in the shallow waters near current looking for their next prey. If you’re lucky to live in the upper Midwest or Northeast United States, Canada or many parts of the United Kingdom, you can find Northern Pike in most every lake and river in your area.
When lake fishing for northern pike, focus on the weed beds, weed lines and vegetation in the shallower bays of the lake. Northern pike are notorious for lurking in the weeds waiting to ambush their unsuspecting prey.
When Should You Fish for Northern Pike?
As soon as you can! Spring time is the best for northern pike because it is right after they have spawned and they’re solely focused on feeding. In most parts of Canada, the fishing for northern pike is virtually excellent all year round, even in the winter through the ice.
In the southern tier of the northern pike range, focusing on the spring will yield you the best results because as the water warms, northern pike tend to seek the deeper colder water in your local fishing areas. Larger northern pike become lethargic in warmer water, and are less active and feed less in warmer water temperatures. So target the colder water temps generally below 65 degrees for best results.