The Water Wolf
Northern pike are a very popular game fish, have been for many years. There was a time, however, when these fun fish were relegated to fishing trips with children because they are easy to catch. Now every angler, youngest or oldest, knows that fishing for Northern Pike is a fun pastime, and a good clean sport.
Just knowing where to look at different times of the year, and paying attention to what the climate has been like for the last few weeks before your fishing expedition is an excellent idea. A good outfitter should be able to steer you towards the fish, and help you with lures to bring in trophy pike, as well as smaller ones better suited for dinner. There’s nothing like a good fish dinner after a long day’s “water hunting”.
Catching Spring Northerns
Ever wonder what it would be like to have a 15-20lb Northern pike with razor sharp teeth on the end of your line. Believe me it’s a blast! And the last two weeks of May and the first week of June is the time to target for the best result. Spring Pike fishing in the Boundary Waters and Quetico Park is exciting! Once the northern have completed spawning the large female pike can be spotted cruising the shallows looking for an easy meal.
During this time of year male smallmouth bass that are defending their beds are an easy, full-course meal for an average size northern pike. The larger pike will even attack and eat smaller pike up to half the length of themselves. Some key locater lures for spring pike are large spoons such as Daredevils. These lures can be worked fast in shallow and deeper water to cover a lot of area in a short time. Spinner baits and large Mepps spinners (my personal favorite) are also good choices for spring pike. If these lures are not triggering a lot of action, try switching to large Rapala floating minnow baits or even some Musky baits. The irregular twitch motion of these baits can be critical for triggering strikes if the fish are being a little sluggish.
Perhaps the deadliest tactic for BIG spring pike is fishing a large jointed casting plug slowly retrieved. Very rarely will a large pike turn down the easy opportunity to feed on a twitched “injured baitfish” dangling in her area. This tactic will produce many large fish, especially on a pike that follows in another artificial lure, but does not take it. Work these lures in the shallower, large spawning bays with black muck bottoms. These bays warm up fast and draw in baitfish and spawning smallmouth bass. If the pike are not up in the shallows, try casting the edges/drop-off areas at the mouths of these bays.
Also, current areas can hold nice pike early in the year, as they will spawn in creeks and small rivers. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start doing battle with some big toothy pike… the North Country has hundreds of lakes and rivers where big pike are more than ready to give you the fight of your life!