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The Ultimate Pike Fishing Guide: How To Find, Catch and Land

The Ultimate Pike Fishing Guide: How To Find, Catch and Land

Pike Fishing: How To Fish For Northen Pike And Be Successful At Catching Them 

Northern Pike

Northern Pike in Open Water (Photo Credit: Guideline.No)

At Hunting and Fishing Depot we have put together a complete pike fishing guide for catching Northern Pike. In this blog article with will go in-depth explaining some of our secret pike fishing tips and how any angler can be lucky at finding pike all year. Northern pike is a prized fish to catch, and many anglers target them due to their large size and aggression. If you ask any angler who has landed a trophy pike, they will all say one thing.

"The fight of a pike is ridiculous, and does not compare to any other freshwater species of fish."

Anglers do not just catch them for sport, but they also catch pike to eat. An experienced pike fisherman will know how to fillet them and cook them properly. Finding pike is usually never a challenge. Many of the northern lakes are filled with them. They are one of the top predators of the food chain in most lakes and rivers. If you have a fishing reel, pole, and tackle you can get out there and fish for northern pike. Pike is a species of fish that can be caught all year round. Of course, there are a few months that your chances increase like winter, but overall you can fish anytime making them a prized game fish. Pike only eat other fish so they will pretty much attack anything that swims. It is because of this aggression that makes them easy targets by anglers. The northern pike produces the best fights that fishermen get to experience while on the lake. One good rule to remember when fishing for pike is to err on the larger size for a lure. When fishing for pike, one thing to remember is, go big or go home. Let's look at what indeed makes the northern pike so amazing.

Essiux Lucius

The pike is also referred to as the northern pike or Esox lucius. These fish will only eat live fish making them a carnivores fish. No matter the size of the pike they will always attack prey that is often bigger than them. So in the lakes, nothing is safe from being the pikes next meal. On average the northern pike will reach a size of about 30 inches. The most massive North American pike ever caught out of New York was 53 inches long and weighed 46lbs. They are a favorite fish due to the elongated slender bodies built for speed and their weird shaped head that packs rows of needle-like teeth. When you see a pike in the water, they should be very detectable due to their natural greenish brown coloring. One extremely unique feature of pike is they produce a thick slime. This slime is to protect the fish in the water from any bacterial, fungus and infections. Ask any angler who has caught on, and they will concur that this slime is not only thick, but it packs a unique odor to it. Now that you know a little about the northern pike, we will go into little more details on how to find them, what to fish with, how to catch them, and what to do after you have caught them.


Pike Fishing Tip #1: Where To Find Northern Pike? Find The Grass!

Grass Pike Fishing

Pike hiding in the grass, trying to ambush its next meal.

When pike fishing, one of the best areas to target is around grass. Northern pike is a predator fish that often targets species including bluegill, largemouth bass and any other species of fish that could be around. These species of fish tend to reside around aquatic vegetation for their source of food. Over thousands and thousands of years, the northern pike has evolved to become one of the premier freshwater predators. It's these traits, like a long slender body built for speed and a sharp-toothed mouth that make them well fit for catching prey. They maneuver well in these grassy areas, and prey honestly does not stand a chance.

It is because of this most anglers know to target these grassy and weedy areas when pike fishing because the northern pike will be hanging out and searching for its next meal. Pike is known for liking cold water. They are often more aggressive and bite more frequently in the winter months. Flooded grass areas where rivers intersect tend to hold pike in the winter. Do not just take our word for it, find the grass and you will find the pike.


Pike Fishing Tip #2: Fish Large Grassy Areas For Pike: The More Water You Fish The More You Will Catch.

Covering Lake To Find Pike

(Photo Credit: Deluth News Tribune)

This may seem very obvious that the larger the area you are fishing, the more you will catch. As we told you in our last point find the areas you think the pike are located in and begin casting. Their aggressive behavior will allow you to locate where they are pretty fast. If you pull a lure across their face they will be to tempt not to attack. As you are fishing if you are not getting bites move on to the next area. This is evidence that the fish are not in the area. Do not sit in any one spot for too long unless you have hooked up on a few fish. The pike tends to be congregated in certain areas, so if you catch a fish in this area do not be afraid to keep casting in this area until you have successfully caught all the fish in this area. Remember the areas that are holding the fish and go back and re-fish these spots. Search for similar areas in your waterways and cast on these spots to see if they are holding fish. Traveling around using a trolling motor is the best method for covering a larger area. It is in your best interest to not start your motor unless you are leaving a specific area. This could disturb the fish in the area and you could be wasting your time throwing a lure in this area. Use your trolling motor to motor around and locate large grassy areas because these are the spots that usually hold fish. Do not discourage if you are not successful at catching a pike at first. The more you are casting and keeping a lure in the water the more likely your chances of hooking up with a northern pike will be. There is no science behind this, just keep fishing until you find the fish.

Pike Fishing Tip #3: Pike Love Vibrant Colors, So Fish With Gaudy Baits.

Muskie and Pike Lures

Bold colors work best for pike lures (Photo Credit:

Pike are attracted to very vibrant colors. Our rule is the more bright a lure is, the more likely a pike will strike it. Northern pike tends to be very visual eaters. Often times anglers will figure out that some of the best colors to use for fishing for pike are bright yellows, neon oranges, a very bright white and a chartreuse green. Not only are pike visual, but they respond well to sound. Often times pike lures will have a rattle in them that help attract these curious and aggressive fish. Lures that produce a vibrating sound are another means for attracting pike. The whooper Plopper is a perfect big lure that makes a lot of noise and can attract the pike. Some of the best lures that are perfect for northern pike fishing are topwater lures, large swimbaits, inline spinners, crankbaits and spinner baits. My favorite of all is the Broken back trout. This trout glider offers the large swimbait action that pike cannot resist in the water.

Pike Fishing Tip #4: Go Big Or Go Home: Select Large Tackle For Northern Pike

Large pike lures for large northern pike.

Northern pike love large lures.

A good rule to remember when pike fishing is the larger the lure, the better your chances are for catching pike. Most musky fishermen know that bigger never hurts when targeting pike. Pike have eyes ten times bigger than their stomachs. This means that they aren’t afraid to go after larger prey. As a musky angler, you should not be afraid to use larger baits. Often anglers will laugh at some of the gaudy swimbaits that are out on the market. Myself included have often said what on earth would you catch on a bait that big. That is exactly the size of baits needed to catch the large pike. Do not be afraid to select tackle larger than 9 inches. It is these large baits that spark the curious aggressive pike and can yield in more hits and land more fish.

Pike Fishing Tip #5: Do Not Go Cheap On Your Tackle When Pike Fishing.

One of the largest predator freshwater fish that you can catch is the northern pike. They are very aggressive and will give any angler the fight of their life. It is because of this that anglers should never go cheap on their equipment. A good rod and reel are essential for landing these fish. I know anglers that have hooked a large northern pike and have damaged their rod and reels because they tried to fight it on their bass set up. We can not stress that you need an actual heavy rod and reel to help to land these fish. Check out our guide for picking out the right rod for you and our guide for picking out the best reel. After you have the best rod and reel for the fight, you need the best fishing line to handle the sharp teeth of the pike. We personally use braid on our reels. A good braid for musky fishing is something greater than 30 pounds. The strong braid will be needed to attach your leader too. If the braid somehow makes it into the mouth of the pike, it will ultimately be cut. All we ask is just make sure you have the right setup with your rod and reel to give yourself the best chance at landing the northern pike.

Pike Fishing Tip #6: Monofilament Fishing Line Sucks, Use Braid And A Leader When Pike Fishing.

Pike Leader

When fishing for pike, you have to fish with a leader. The pike is very similar to a saltwater barracuda in that they possess wicked sharp teeth fully capable of cutting through most fishing lines. If you hook one on regular monofilament line, the chances of landing it are slim to none because you will most likely get cut off. Most anglers know to fish with a steel leader or brass wire leader to give yourself the best chance of landing a massive northern pike. Some anglers think that its possible to fish for them with a thick braid fishing lines. Their razor sharp teeth will cut through this very easily; this is why you must have some sort of leader on the line to give yourself a shot. Pike can even cut through the leader, so fish with caution and be very careful and not too aggressive when trying to land these big fish.


Pike Fishing Tip #7: Mouth From Hell: Lip ‘Em And Fear The Bite.

The northern pike has evolved a mouth specifically for catching fish. They truly have a bunch of teeth. The jaws of a pike include teeth larger on the sides and smaller on the front lips. They have been known to cut steel leader and brass wire leader. It's these large side teeth that are sharp as a razor blade, hence why monofilament line usually does not stand a chance. The pike's teeth are fully capable of piercing the scales of any fish it grabs hold of and has teeth curved backward to ensure prey cannot escape. The mouth of the pike is something often thought of in horror movies. This makes them one of the best predator is the lakes of the north. It is required that anglers know how to handle these fish before catching one. Having the right equipment is paramount to successful catch and release of a northern pike. Long needle nose pliers or just and an extended pair of pliers are essential for keeping your hands away from its mouth. The unhooking of a pike can be a scary time. If the pike gets the opportunity to bite it will and this mouth full of teeth will not let go until there is bloodshed. So always remember DO NOT LIP THEM, and have the proper equipment to catch and release successfully with all your fingers intact.

Unhooking Northern Pike with pliers

Always use pliers when unhooking a northern pike.

At Hunting and Fishing Depot we have always had success with catching northern pike. We hope you will take a few of these pike tips and apply them to your fishing style. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below or email us at Please send us your fantastic pike pictures; we would love to see all of your great catches. We will feature these on all of our social media platforms. So please user our northern pike fishing guide and help improve your skills for catching northern pike.


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Rick - November 2, 2017

There are many things in this article that are misleading or not true. Pike have off days just like every other fish that swims. Saying that if you fish a spot and don’t get bit, there are no fish there is misleading as there could be a lot of fish in that area and just not willing to bite at the time. Also pike are solitary creatures for most of the year the only time they school, (so to speak) is in the winter. So saying if you find one fish there will be more is also misleading. many times you will only get one fish in a area, but the water could hold other fish near there if the conditions are similar. I have never seen using extra large baits was more effective then a standard size Pike lure. I prefer baits in the 5" to 7" range.

Ron Strauss - November 1, 2017

Great article! Shared it in my facebook kayak fishing group. Bookmarked it for future reference. THANK YOU!

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