Expert Tips To Help You Catch Northern Pike

Lake Oconee Boomers

Expert Tips To Help You Catch Northern Pike

If you’re looking for expert tips to help you catch northern pike, look no further. Northern pike offers a thrilling challenge that can reward the efforts of anglers of all experience levels with some impressive catches. So, grab your fishing gear, and let’s dive into the exciting world of northern pike fishing!

Understanding Northern Pike

First and foremost, you should understand the unique behaviors and habits of northern pike. These predators are aggressive and opportunistic, making their presence known in various freshwater environments, including lakes, rivers, and even brackish waters. Active throughout the year, northern pike are often in shallow waters near weed beds and other submerged vegetation during the spring and summer. They hang out in areas of cooler water near inflow or outflow points during the hot summer months. As the water temperature drops in the fall, they will move to deeper areas, following their prey. But you can still fish them all year round—even on an ice fishing trip!

Gear Selection

Choosing the right gear is crucial when targeting northern pike. Seasoned anglers often recommend newcomers use a medium-heavy to heavy-action rod and a reel capable of holding at least 150 yards of 25- to 30-pound test line. Northern pike have sharp teeth that can quickly sever lighter lines, so consider using a 12-inch steel or titanium leader to avoid losing lures. Make sure your landing net, unhooking mat, and pliers are suitable for handling these large and toothy fish.

Bait and Lure Selection

Northern pike are voracious eaters and will strike at a wide range of baits and lures. Some popular choices include:

  • Jerkbaits: Twitching these lures to mimic injured prey is quite effective.
  • Spoons: The wobbling motion and flash catch the pike’s eye.
  • Large swimbaits: Choose fish-imitating patterns to replicate northern pike’s natural prey.

Smelt, shiners, and even small suckers can be successful live bait when targeting small-to-mid-sized pike. Experiment with different baits and lures to determine what works best in your fishing location.


The key to success lies in understanding northern pike behavior and implementing the appropriate techniques. For example, try casting near weed beds or other submerged structures. Retrieve your lure or bait at various speeds and use distinct actions, such as erratic motion, to trigger their predatory response.

Adjust your tactics based on weather conditions and water temperatures. You should probably read up on spearfishing northern pike on ice for a unique, traditional experience if you want to fish for northern pike in winter.


Keep an eye out for weed beds, submerged logs, and rocky points to locate suitable northern pike habitats. Focus on fishing at varying depths and use your fishfinder (if available) to help locate schools of baitfish that pike might be hiding in. Also, pay attention to water temperatures, as this can have a significant impact on where pike choose to reside.

With these expert tips to help you catch northern pike, you’ll be well-equipped for a successful and enjoyable fishing trip. Remember, patience and persistence are key, so get out there and keep refining your techniques until you land that trophy northern pike!