- An Early Ice Pike Party
This time of year is all about getting together with friends and family. Whether it’s for a holiday meal, a tailgate party or the annual company Christmas Party, folks will find just about any reason to get together for some fun and relaxation. I think that’s one of the reasons the popularity oPhoto Couf ice fishing continues to increase every year. Ice fishing is just plain fun. It’s a social sport, meaning the more friends you can bring to the party, the better your chances of success. 12/11
Early Ice Pike n Pannies!
First ice opportunities almost always has me chasing panfish and pike on the lower parts of the St. Mary’s River system. The small, shallow, weedy bays that freeze first offer great cover for pannies which creates the ideal grounds for monster pike looking to gorge. The following are a few techniques I use when ice fishing shallow weedy bays for panfish and big pike. 12/11
Big Tube Jigs for Autumn Pike
Shorter days and cooling water are signals to northern pike that autumn has arrived. During fall, these sleek predators will feed heartily to pack on energy reserves to help them survive winter’s hardships. There are few better ways to catch pike in cold-water than using big profile jigs, and giant tubes are a particularly productive bait.
Post Spawn Northern Pike
Northern pike do not begin to venture from their spawning areas until further into the spring and will remain shallow for the majority of the day in the warming water. These fish are generally labelled as lazy, unresponsive and often gives anglers a slow start to their pike season. A 7 foot medium-heavy action bait casting rod with a fast tip matches up great for pike anywhere in Ontario.
Jigging for Pike in Spring
Jigs catch just about anything that swims, but excel with certain fish – northern pike being one of them. Jigs are an excellent bait to work along bottom when pike are shallow in spring. Here’s where to find spring pike and how to fool them with jigs at the start of the season. Northern pike are considered a cool-water fish. Their mating ritual takes place immediately following ice out sometime between April and early May depending on latitude; the optimal temperature range for spawning is between 40 to 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Spring flooding and high water levels contribute to pike spawning habitat. Typical zones include marshes, swollen creeks, back bays, sheltered shorelines, and flooded land. Pike prefer soft bottoms for spawning, such as sand or silt, mixed with new, emerging vegetation or plant debris, like bulrushes.
The northern pike – or water wolf in some circles – is a predatory fish that holds a healthy appetite, both for chowing down and battling tough. It can reach formidable weights, but even those “small” in size are capable of torrid line peels and acrobatic jumps. Fishing for northern pike is certainly not a science, but there are some basic tactics and skills involved that will ultimately lead to more fish – both on the end of your line and in the boat. Here are some suggestions for those that want in on the action
- Summer Pike Points
Some are definitely better than others! Reading water and being able to carry out a logical fishing approach is the most important part of the process. You can have the sharpest hooks, make the perfect cast and work your lure correctly but if you’re fishing dead water, not much will happen. On structure like points especially, making good use of lure depth and fishing angles is really important. For the most part, points are things that stick out, with more than one side. A shoreline wall, for example, has only one surface. Depending on their shape and layout, a point can have four, five, even six ‘lanes’ or sides to work.
- New Spring, Same Old Stuff For Pike
Is there anything better than having a thick, mad pike on the end of your line when the trees are just starting to bud? Compared to those eighteen inch winter rods, feeling that seven footer buck around is great. Some of the biggest pike of the year are catchable right now. The fishing world changes around pike like clockwork every year, but they sure don’t. You can have success by experimenting with where you fish and how no matter what the spring weather. Don’t get hung up on dates, water temps or what you’ve heard and read. Get out there and poke around.
- Jigging Early Summer Pike
Yes, my pike box is full of the same large jerkbaits, big thumper spoons and wild looking spinnerbaits as yours probably is. And yes, hitting a big pike casting one of these classic lures is a rush when it happens. But bigger fish are in and out of shallower casting depths faster than most fishermen realize, and one of the best lures to catch them on a consistent basis is also the cheapest: the jig!
- Pike & Muskie: Try Open Water
Seasonal changes to lakes and rivers aren’t normally consistent from one year to the next. Yes, lakes will freeze and thaw, and they’ll also warm and cool. All of this is 100% guaranteed. In the fall, regardless of what the localized weather patterns have been, pike and muskies can be caught well off of the bottom, away from structure or using open water in any combination. Every type of water has factors that contribute to open water fishing. Some of them are available food, available structure and depth, structure types and even fishing/boating pressure. Every lake is different. But in early to mid-fall especially, suspended and open water fish have proven very reliable for me. (They’re out there in the summer, too). In rough or nasty fall conditions, the open water bite can be a great option.
- Dead-Bait Tactics for Hardwater Pike
Snow-covered landscapes and frozen bodies of water have a deliberate way of changing a pike anglers’ methods and routines. Gone are the oversized spinnerbaits, cranks and spoons – the familiar tools of warm weather fishing – and out come the tip ups and quick strike rigs. Match these up with a variety of dead baits, and you’ll be well on your way to a season full of cold days and red-hot northern pike.
- Go on the Deadbait Diet for Trophy Pike!
Most people’s New Year’s Resolution is losing twenty pounds. Once the ice is safe and the season opens, I’m normally out on the big bays and shoals trying to gain twenty pounds. Twenty pound-plus pike, that is. Early January produces more pike over 42 inches for me than all other months of the year combined. And I catch the majority of them fishing deadbait under tip-ups.
- How to Filet a Pike
Easy boneless way to fillet a northern pike.
- Slip One By Those Early-Season Walleyes And Pike.
If you own a medium-action spinning rod, a selection of sliding floats and have access to a good supply of natural bait, there’s a presentation you’ll want to spend some time with this spring: float fishing. Pike and walleyes are both suckers for this system, and what it lacks in fanfare, it more than makes up for in production under a variety of conditions. You can almost always trick a few fish with a float
- Hair Jigs And Spring Pike
In cold water early in the season, jigs are a top-choice for all species of fish. When pike are the primary target, the characteristics of baits dressed with natural hair, in particular deer hair, make them a deadly choice.
- Cold Water Pike
Esox luscious. The Northern pike. The water wolf. Whatever the name, the attitude is the same; MEAN! The cold and ice only seem to add to the pike’s cranky personality; it dares you to try and yank it through a hole and pull it out of its turf. In the winter, pike are active and not as finicky as other species of fish; they will readily hit your bait and will fight like a bear when hooked. When it comes to ice fishing for pike, you don’t have the advantage of using a boat to search the lake for the pike’s favourite hiding spot, you need to go looking for them.
- Spoon Fed Pike
It seems that more and more emphasis is being put on the use of body baits. Tackle companies are spending more money developing the perfect swimming action, the perfect wobble, or rattle, or any number of other characteristics. The spoon seems to have fallen by the wayside in favour of Husky Jerks, Bombers, Torpedoes, and other similiar lures.
- When the Predators Return
Boats crisscrossed it all summer long; personal watercraft here, tuber there. Weeds uprooted and shredded, fouling the surface like bees in a beverage. These disorderly but auspicious shoreline flats are playgrounds for people, and consequently vacated by gamefish.