How to Catch Pike: Fishing Tips For The Great Northern Pike

Kristian Ole

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Pike fishing can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with friends or family. 

However, how do you catch pike? Catching pike can be challenging but possible with the proper techniques.

In this article, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about how to catch pike – from the best tackle and technique to use to the best location to fish and fight to expect. So, grab your tackle box, and let’s get started! 

Species Overview 

NamePike, Northern, Great northern pike and Jack
Latin NameEsox lucius
SizeAbout 2 to 5 pounds
Weight21Ibs to 151Ibs
Where to findNorthern hemisphere; Freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds
Preferred seasonMid-May to early June
Best weatherWarm weather
TemperatureBetween 50 0F to 65 0F

Gear & Setup 

Fishing LocationAreas with lots of vegetation; drop-offs; lakes; ponds; slow-moving rivers
TechniqueLive bait; artificial lures
Best BaitMinnows 
Best LuresSpinnerbait
Fishing rod lengthAround 8ft
Fishing rod actionMedium action rod
KnotsPalomar knot; Unit knot
Fishing lineMonofilament fishing; braided fishing line.
ReelThe Abu Garcia Silver Max & Max STX Spinning Reel; The Daiwa Tatula Casting Reel 

Fight to Expect from Pike

Big pike caught in the rain
Image: peter77, Depositphotos

Pike is known for being feisty fish. They can put up quite a fight when you’re trying to reel them in. 

Pike will often strike at anything that enters their territory. You should be ready for the fight when fishing for them.

Pikes are strong swimmers and often try to jump out of the water. Some even shake their heads to throw the hook. So be careful not to get too close to the water’s edge.

Likewise, their razor-sharp teeth can easily slice through your line or puncture your skin. To avoid this:

  • Wear gloves when handling them 
  • Use a strong fishing line, one that won’t break easily

To win the battle, have a good grip on your rod. You can land a pretty big pike if you’re patient and persistent. 

With the correct tackle, you can successfully catch one of them.

Tackle for Pike

The Rod

The length of your fishing rod will determine your success when fishing for pike. For instance: 

  • A longer rod will give you more power and accuracy when casting. It will allow you to fish in deeper water. 
  • A shorter rod may be more maneuverable. However, it won’t give you more reach or power.

Ideally, the best rod length should be around 8 ft long

A longer rod is generally better for open water and larger fish like pike. This rod will help you to control the fish better once you’ve hooked it.

Medium action rods, like the Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Fishing Rod, are suitable for pike. These rods offer a balanced feel and are comfortable for lengthy fishing.

The Reel

If you’re hoping for the best catch, you’ll need a good fishing reel. Here are some of the best options on the market:

  • The Abu Garcia Silver Max & Max STX Spinning Reel. This is a great choice for pike fishing. It’s durable and has a smooth drag, making it easy to land big fish.
  • The Daiwa Tatula Bass Casting Reel. Also durable and offers smooth operation 

The Line

Many fishing lines are available on the market. So, it can be confusing to determine which is best for catching pike.

I would recommend the big game monofilament fishing line. This is a good choice for pike fishing because:

  • It is less likely to break 
  • Can be easily seen in the water

Another option is the KastKing Superpower Braided Fishing Line. This line is strong and can be used in various fishing conditions and locations.

Pikes are a prized catch for many anglers. They like hanging out near structures, such as submerged logs or rocks. Also, you won’t miss them in aquatic vegetation, where the water is quiet and slow-moving. 

You can find them in many freshwater lakes and rivers. In fact, they are widely distributed in ponds, rivers, and lakes throughout Minnesota. 

These fish can survive in a range of temperatures. They are most active when the temperature is 20 degrees Celsius. However, they prefer 50 to 65 degrees.

When fishing for pike, it’s essential to look for the following:

  • Areas with lots of vegetation. Pikes tend to hide in these areas. 
  • Near drop-offs, where the water is deeper. 
  • Areas where baitfish are known to congregate since they are attracted to baitfish.

However, use efficient fishing techniques to increase your chances of catching them. 

Fishing Techniques for Pike

PRO TIP

Pikes are great fish to catch. Still, utilize proper tackle and techniques when fishing for them. Plus, you need to fish in areas where pikes are known to hide if you’re to succeed in catching them in numbers. However, prepare for a fierce battle after you reel them in. 

If you follow these tips, failed attempts to catch a pike will be a thing of the past.

Bait

One of the best ways to catch pike is to use a live baitfish

Pike are predators and will go after smaller fish if given the opportunity. If you can find a school of baitfish, there is a good chance you will find a pike nearby. 

If you’re using live bait, make sure to keep it fresh. Good baits for pike are large minnows.

Pike loves minnows. So, using them as bait is a great way to increase your chances of catching one. Minnows should be hooked through the lips or nose.

Just like live baits, lures are also handy when fishing for pike.

Lure

Shiny objects attract pike. I recommend using a lure that is brightly colored or has a lot of movement. 

Here are different types of lures that work well for catching pike: 

  • One popular option is the spoon. Spoon lures are versatile. You can use them in a variety of water conditions and depths. 
  • Another option is the Spinner Baits Kit. This lure features a spinning blade that creates a flashing and vibrating effect.

Each of these lures imitates a different type of prey that the pike likes to eat. So, experiment to see which ones work best in your particular situation.

Note: Pike loves to strike at fast-moving lures. This makes jigging a great technique for catching them.

Jigging

Pike tends to go for brightly-colored lures that mimic the appearance of small fish. This makes Rapala X-Rap Saltwater Lure the best fit for fishing pike.

To jig for pike, cast your lure out and rapidly reel it in, using short, jerky motions.

Pike will often follow the lure to the boat, making them easy to catch. 

Trolling

You can use a variety of baits when trolling for pike, including:

  • Live minnows
  • Artificial lures
  • Spoons

To troll for pike, you’ll need to:

  1. Use a boat to get out onto the water. 
  2. Once you’re in position, cast your line out and slowly reel it in.
  3. Keeping the bait near the bottom of the water. 

The key is to moderate how you operate the motor. If anything, swiftly move the motor in the direction you want.

Related: How to catch Walleye: Fishing Tips for yellow pike

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About Kristian Ole

Kristian Ole Rørbye, a marine biologist and seasoned angler, shares his fishing adventures and expertise on FishingKris. Join him as he explores the world's waters, one cast at a time.

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