Ultimate Guide On How To Catch Northern Pike

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Discover the best locations, essential gear, techniques, and for catching and releasing Northern Pike in this comprehensive guide.

Best Locations for Northern Pike Fishing

When it comes to finding the best locations for Northern Pike fishing, there are a few key spots that consistently yield great results. One of the top to target these elusive predators is in shallow weed beds. Northern Pike are known to lurk in these areas, waiting to ambush their prey as it swims by. The thick cover of the weeds provides the perfect hiding spot for these stealthy hunters.

Shallow Weed Beds

  • Northern Pike are often found in shallow weed beds, where they can easily blend in with their surroundings
  • These areas are ideal for casting lures or using live bait to entice the pike out of their hiding spots
  • Look for areas with a mix of vegetation, such as lily pads, cabbage weeds, and coontail, as these provide the best cover for Northern Pike

Underwater Structures

Another prime location for Northern Pike fishing is around underwater structures. These can include fallen trees, rock piles, and submerged brush piles. Northern Pike are ambush predators, and they love to hang out near these structures, waiting for unsuspecting prey to swim by.

  • Fishing near underwater structures requires careful maneuvering to avoid getting snagged on debris
  • Cast your lures close to the structure and be prepared for a quick strike from a hungry pike
  • Pay attention to the water depth and temperature around these structures, as Northern Pike tend to prefer cooler, deeper waters

River Mouths

Lastly, river mouths are another hotspot for Northern Pike fishing. The confluence of rivers and streams creates a nutrient-rich environment that attracts a variety of fish species, including Northern Pike. These predators often patrol the waters near river mouths in search of an easy meal.

  • Look for areas where the current slows down near the mouth of a river, as this is where Northern Pike are likely to congregate
  • Pay attention to underwater currents and eddies, as these can create ambush points for Northern Pike
  • Try casting your lures along the edges of the river mouth, where the water transitions from freshwater to saltwater, as this is a popular feeding ground for Northern Pike

Essential Gear for Northern Pike Fishing

When it comes to northern pike fishing, having the right gear can make all the difference between a successful day on the water and coming home empty-handed. Let’s take a closer look at the essential gear you’ll need to reel in these elusive predators.

Heavy-Duty Fishing Rod

A heavy-duty rod is a must-have when targeting northern pike. These aggressive fish put up a strong fight, so you’ll need a rod that can handle the stress. Look for a rod with a stiff backbone and plenty of power to help you control the pike and bring them in quickly.

  • Some popular heavy-duty fishing rods for northern pike include:
  • St. Croix Mojo Musky Casting Rod
  • Fenwick HMG Casting Rod
  • Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod

Steel Leader

Northern pike are known for their sharp teeth, which can easily cut through traditional fishing lines. That’s where a steel leader comes in. This durable leader is made of tough steel wire that can withstand the pike’s teeth and prevent them from breaking off your lure.

  • Top-rated steel leaders for northern pike fishing:
  • Berkley Steelon Nylon Coated Wire Leader
  • American Fishing Wire Surflon Micro Supreme Leader Wire
  • Sufix Invisiline Casting Flourocarbon Leader

Large Spinnerbaits

Spinnerbaits are a favorite lure among northern pike anglers, thanks to their enticing spin and flash in the water. Large spinnerbaits are particularly effective for targeting these voracious predators, as they mimic the size and movement of the pike’s natural prey.

  • Recommended large spinnerbaits for northern pike fishing:
  • Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait
  • Strike King Premier Plus Spinnerbait
  • Mepps Magnum Musky Killer Spinnerbait

By equipping yourself with a heavy-duty fishing rod, steel leader, and large spinnerbaits, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the challenge of northern pike fishing. These essential items will help you maximize your chances of landing a trophy pike and enjoying a thrilling day out on the water.

Techniques for Catching Northern Pike


When it comes to catching Northern Pike, one effective technique to use is jerkbaits. These lures mimic injured fish, which can trigger the predatory instincts of pike and entice them to strike. Jerkbaits are designed to dart erratically through the water, creating movement that can attract the attention of nearby pike. By mastering the art of using jerkbaits, anglers can increase their chances of hooking a big pike.

Troll Slowly

Another successful technique for catching Northern Pike is trolling slowly. This method involves dragging a bait or lure behind a moving boat at a leisurely pace. Slow trolling allows anglers to cover a large area of water while presenting their bait at different depths. This can be particularly effective when targeting pike in deeper waters or along submerged structures. By varying the speed and depth of their troll, anglers can experiment with different presentations to find what works best for enticing pike to bite.

Use Live Bait

In addition to artificial lures, using live bait can be a highly effective way to catch Northern Pike. Live bait such as minnows, suckers, or even small perch can be irresistible to hungry pike. By presenting live bait in areas where pike are known to frequent, anglers can increase their chances of attracting a strike. It’s important to use the proper rigging and presentation when using live bait to ensure that it looks natural and enticing to pike. By incorporating live bait into their arsenal, anglers can add another dimension to their fishing strategy and potentially land some impressive catches.

In summary, mastering a variety of techniques such as jerkbaits, trolling slowly, and using live bait can greatly enhance an angler’s success in catching Northern Pike. By understanding the behaviors and preferences of these predatory fish, anglers can tailor their approach to maximize their chances of hooking into a trophy pike. Whether casting jerkbaits, trolling along weed edges, or presenting live bait near structure, anglers who employ these techniques skillfully can enjoy thrilling pike fishing adventures on the water. So grab your gear, hit the water, and try out these techniques for yourself to see just how rewarding Northern Pike fishing can be.

Tips for Handling and Releasing Northern Pike

Use Proper Gripping Techniques

When handling Northern Pike, it is crucial to use proper gripping techniques to ensure the safety of both yourself and the fish. Avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the fish’s body, as this can lead to injuries and stress. Instead, use a firm but gentle grip around the fish’s body, making sure to support its weight evenly. By doing so, you can minimize the risk of causing harm to the fish while also maintaining a secure hold during the release process.

Avoid Damaging Their Teeth

Northern Pike are known for their sharp teeth, which can easily cause injury if not handled properly. To avoid damaging their teeth, refrain from putting your fingers near their mouth or attempting to pry it open. Instead, use tools such as pliers or jaw spreaders to safely remove the hook without risking harm to yourself or the fish. Additionally, be mindful of the fish’s teeth when handling them, ensuring that they are not inadvertently injured during the release process.

Revive Them Properly Before Release

After catching a Northern Pike, it is essential to revive them properly before releasing them back into the water. This involves gently supporting the fish in the water and allowing it to regain its strength before swimming away. By giving the fish time to recover, you increase its chances of survival and reduce the likelihood of it succumbing to exhaustion or stress. Remember, the goal is to ensure that the fish can swim away strong and healthy, ready to be caught another day.

In conclusion, proper handling and releasing techniques are vital when fishing for Northern Pike. By using the right gripping methods, avoiding damage to their teeth, and reviving them effectively, you can help conserve this species and promote sustainable fishing practices. Remember, the well-being of the fish should always be a top priority, so take the time to handle them with care and respect. Happy fishing!

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