Pike is a type of predatory freshwater fish belonging to the family Esocidae. It is known for its elongated body, sharp teeth, and aggressive hunting.
Pike are found in lakes and rivers across North America, Europe, and other parts of the world. The pike fish is also known as the northern pike.
Pike has a long, slender body with a streamlined shape. They have a relatively large head and a mouth full of sharp teeth.
Their coloration can vary, but it generally consists of greenish or brownish hues on the back and sides, often with lighter spots or stripes.
The underside is usually lighter in color. Pike can vary depending on their habitat and food availability.
They typically range from 2 to 4 feet (60 to 120 centimeters) in length and weigh between 3 and 30 pounds (1.4 to 14 kilograms).
However, larger individuals exceeding 4 feet in length and weighing over 40 pounds (18 kilograms) are not uncommon.
Best pike baits can effectively attract their attention when fishing for pike. Here are some of the best pike lures:
Using live fish as bait can be highly effective for pike. This can include small to medium-sized fish such as minnows, shiners, or chubs.
Hook the live fish through the lips or back to keep it alive and allow it to swim naturally.
Dead bait fish can also be used to target pike. You can use whole fish or cut bait, such as sections of larger fish like suckers or herring.
Cut the bait into chunks or fillets to create scent trails and present them on a fishing hook.
Using live or dead large minnows, such as shiners or chubs, is a tried-and-true method for pike fishing.
Hook the minnows through the lips or back, allowing them to swim naturally or create scent trails in the water.
Spoon lures, such as the classic silver or gold spoon, are effective for pike. The wobbling action and flash they produce can trigger aggressive strikes.
Vary the speed of your retrieve to find the most enticing presentation.
Soft Plastic Swimbaits
Soft plastic pike swimbaits that mimic the appearance and movement of fish are popular for pike fishing.
These lures often have a paddle tail or other action to attract the pike’s attention. Rig them with appropriate hooks and retrieve them in a manner that imitates a wounded or fleeing fish.
pike Spinnerbaits are effective lures for pike fishing. These lures consist of the metal blade(s) that spin when retrieved, creating flash and vibration in the water.
Combine spinnerbaits with a rubber skirt or soft plastic trailer to enhance their appeal to pike.
Jerkbaits are hard plastic lures that imitate injured baitfish. They have a realistic appearance and suspend in the water, allowing for erratic movements when jerked or twitched. This action can trigger the pike to strike.
Topwater lures, such as poppers, buzz baits, or prop baits, can be exciting when targeting pike.
These lures create surface disturbance and noise, attracting pike from below.
Cast them near cover or areas where pike is likely lurking and retrieve them with a popping or buzzing action.
Cut bait, such as sections of larger fish like suckers or herring, can attract pike. Place the cut bait on a fishing hook to create scent and visual appeal.
Remember to consider the specific conditions and preferences of the pike in your fishing location.
It can be helpful to experiment with different baits, sizes, colors, and retrieval techniques to determine what works best in your particular situation.
Local knowledge, fishing reports, and talking to experienced anglers in your area can provide valuable insights into your region’s most successful pike baits.
Pike dead baits
Dead baits can be highly effective for targeting pike. They can produce scent and movement in the water, attracting pike and triggering strikes.
Here are some commonly used dead baits for pike fishing:
Using minnows, such as shiners or chubs, is popular. Hook the minnow through the lips or back to keep it in a natural position and create scent trails. You can fish them under a float or on the bottom.
Suckers are larger baitfish that can effectively attract bigger pike. Cut pieces of dead sucker fish or use whole dead suckers as bait.
Suckers can produce a strong scent and are often used with a fish or sliding rig setup.
Smelt are slender fish that can be used as dead bait for pike. They can be cut into chunks or used whole.
Smelt can produce a strong scent and is often used in cold water when pike targets smaller prey.
Herring is another baitfish option for pike. Similar to smelt, herring can be cut into chunks or used whole.
They provide a strong scent and are commonly used in larger sizes to target trophy-sized pikes.
Perch can be effective dead baits for pike, particularly in areas where perch are a natural prey species for pike.
Use whole dead perch or cut into sections to create scent and entice strikes.
When using dead baits, it’s important to handle them properly to maintain freshness and maximize their effectiveness.
Avoid freezing and thawing baits repeatedly, as it can affect their texture and scent.
Consider using bait thread or bait elastic to secure the bait to the hook and prevent it from coming off during casting or retrieval.
Remember to check and comply with local fishing regulations regarding the use of dead bait, as some areas may have specific rules or restrictions in place.
Crankbaits are popular and effective lures for pike fishing. They imitate injured or fleeing baitfish and can be retrieved at different depths and speeds to trigger pike strikes.
When selecting crankbaits for pike, consider the following factors:
Size: Choose larger-sized crankbaits to target larger pike. You can adjust the hook size based on the average pike size at your fishing location, but generally, a length of 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) is suitable.
Depth: Crankbaits come in different diving depths, indicated by their diving lip or design.
Select crankbaits with a diving depth that matches the water depth where you’ll fish for pike.
This will allow the lure to swim near or above the weed beds, drop-offs, or other structures where pike typically feed.
Buoyancy: Crankbaits can have different buoyancies—floating, suspending, or sinking.
Consider the water conditions and the behavior of the pike in your area when choosing the buoyancy of your crankbait.
Floating crankbaits are versatile and can be retrieved at different speeds, while suspending or sinking crankbaits can effectively target specific depth ranges.
Color and Pattern: Choose crankbaits in colors and patterns that resemble the local baitfish species or match the prevalent conditions.
Silver, gold, perch, firefighter, and natural shad patterns are commonly effective for pike.
Experiment with different colors and patterns to find what works best in your fishing location.
Lip Shape: Crankbaits can have different lip shapes, such as square bills, round bills, or coffin bills.
Square-billed crankbaits are known for deflecting off the cover and creating an erratic action, which can trigger aggressive pike strikes.
Round-billed or coffin-billed crankbaits have a tighter wobbling action and are suitable for fishing in open water or with moderate cover.
When fishing with crankbaits for pike, vary your retrieve speed, pauses, and depths to imitate the movement of injured or fleeing prey.
Target areas with structure, such as weed beds, submerged rocks, or drop-offs, where pike are likely lurking.
It’s always a good idea to carry a variety of crankbaits in your tackle box to adapt to changing conditions and pike preferences.
Listen to local fishing reports and talk to experienced anglers for insights on your region’s most effective crankbaits for pike fishing.
Best live bait for pike
Live bait can be highly effective for targeting pike, providing natural movement, scent, and a realistic presentation. Here are some of the best live bait options for pike fishing:
Large minnows such as shiners, chubs, or fatheads are commonly used as live bait for pike.
Hook the minnow through the lips or back to keep it alive and allow it to swim naturally.
Minnows provide enticing movement and can attract pike from a distance.
Suckers are larger baitfish that can effectively target bigger pike. They emit a strong scent and create a more substantial target for larger pike to pursue.
Hook the sucker through the lips or back, or use a fish rig or sliding rig setup to present the bait effectively.
Shiners are small baitfish that can effectively attract pike. They have a shiny appearance and lively swimming action that can trigger strikes.
Use multiple shiners on a multi-hook rig to create a school of baitfish and increase your chances of enticing a pike.
Using smaller fish as live bait can be effective if legal and permitted in your area. This can include perch, sunfish, or other smaller baitfish that are naturally present in the pike’s habitat.
Hook the fish through the lips or back, allowing it to swim naturally and attract pike.
When fishing with live bait for pike, it’s important to handle the baitfish carefully and keep them alive and active.
Use appropriate hooks and rigs to present the bait naturally and prevent it from escaping or getting tangled.
Always check and comply with local fishing regulations regarding live bait, as there may be specific rules or restrictions.
Additionally, consider the pike size in your fishing location and adjust the size of your live bait accordingly.
Larger live bait may be more effective for targeting trophy-sized pike, while smaller live bait can still entice strikes from smaller to medium-sized pike.
Lastly, be patient and allow the northern pike baits to swim freely to attract pike. Monitor your line for any signs of movement or strikes, and be ready to set the hook when a pike takes the bait.
Best lures for pike in summer
In the summer, pike behavior can change as they adapt to warmer water temperatures.
During this time, they may seek out deeper, cooler areas or areas with abundant cover.
When selecting lures for pike fishing in the summer, consider the following options:
Spinnerbaits: Spinnerbaits are versatile lures that can be effective for pike in the summer.
Choose larger-sized spinnerbaits with flashy blades and a rubber skirt. Retrieve them at different speeds to imitate a wounded baitfish and trigger strikes.
Soft Plastic Swimbaits: Soft plastic swimbaits are excellent for mimicking the movement of injured or fleeing prey.
Select larger-sized swimbaits with realistic swimming action. Fish them near weed beds, drop-offs, or other areas with cover.
Topwater Lures: Topwater lures can provide thrilling strikes from a pike in the summer.
Choose topwater lures such as poppers, prop baits, or walking baits. Fish them early or late in the evening when the pike is more active near the surface.
Jerkbaits: Jerkbaits are effective lures for pike throughout the year, including summer.
for suspending or slow-rising jerk baits that imitate injured prey. Use a jerk-and-pause retrieve to imitate the movement of wounded baitfish.
Crankbaits: Crankbaits can be effective in the summer, particularly when targeting pike in deeper water or near structure.
Select crankbaits that can dive to the desired depth range and have an appealing wobbling action.
Vary your retrieve speed and experiment with different depths to find where the pike is holding.
Weedless Frog Lures: In areas with heavy weed growth, weedless frog lures can be productive for targeting pike.
These lures can be retrieved without snagging over lily pads, emergent vegetation, or other weedy areas.
Work them in a stop-and-go or steady retrieve to entice pike hiding in the vegetation.
Jigging Spoons: Jigging spoons can effectively target deeper pike in the summer.
Choose larger-sized spoons and jig them near drop-offs, submerged structures, or deep weed edges.
Allow the spoon to flutter and pause to mimic an injured or dying baitfish.
Remember, the best lure for pike in the summer can vary depending on water temperature, location, and pike behavior.
It’s always a good idea to experiment with different lures and retrieve speeds and depths to find what works best in your fishing area.
Listen to local fishing reports and talk to experienced anglers for additional insights on your region’s most effective lures for summer pike fishing.
How to catch pike
Catching pike can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Here are some tips to help you catch pike successfully:
Locate Pike Habitats: Identify areas where pike are likely to be present. These can include weed beds, submerged structures, drop-offs, rocky areas, or areas with abundant baitfish.
Look for areas that provide cover and access to both shallow and deeper water.
Use the Right Gear:
- Select the appropriate fishing gear for the pike.
- Choose a medium to heavy-action fishing rod with a strong backbone to handle the pike’s powerful strikes and fight.
- Pair it with a sturdy reel and use a braided fishing line with a high pound-test rating to withstand the pike’s sharp teeth.
Choose the Right Lures or Baits: Select lures or baits that are effective for enticing pike.
Popular choices include spinnerbaits, jerk baits, crankbaits, topwater lures, and soft plastic swimbaits.
Live bait options include large minnows, suckers, shiners, or other baitfish. Match your lure or bait selection to your fishing area’s prevailing conditions and pike preferences.
Vary Your Retrieve: Experiment with different retrieval techniques to find what triggers pike strikes.
This can include steady retrieves, erratic jerking or twitching, stop-and-go retrieves, or pausing the lure to imitate injured prey. Vary your retrieves’ speed, depth, and timing to find what works best on a given day.
Target Different Depths: Pike can be found in different depths, depending on the time of year and prevailing conditions.
Use lures or techniques that allow you to target various depths. This can include fishing shallow areas, weed edges, drop-offs, or deeper structures.
Work the Structure: Your efforts should be focused on areas like weed beds, fallen trees, submerged rocks, and points with structure.
These areas provide cover for pike and are likely to attract baitfish. Cast your lures or present your bait near or along the edges of these structures.
Be Patient and Persistent: Pike fishing can require patience and persistence. Keep casting and working on different areas until you find where the pike is active.
Stay observant and adapt your techniques based on the behavior and response of the pike.
Practice Catch and Release: Pike is often a prized sportfish, so consider practicing catch and release to help maintain healthy populations.
Handle the fish carefully, use appropriate landing nets or grippers, and release the fish quickly and gently to minimize stress.
Remember to check and comply with local fishing regulations and obtain any necessary fishing licenses or permits before fishing for pike.
Additionally, it can be helpful to seek local knowledge, talk to experienced anglers, and study fishing reports to gain insights into the best techniques and locations for catching pike in your area.
How to cook pike
Cooking pike can result in delicious and flavorful meals. Here’s a simple recipe to cook pike:
- Pike fillets
- Lemon slices
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grilled Pike Fillets with Lemon and Herbs
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
- To prepare the pike fillets, start by rinsing them under cold water and gently patting them dry with paper towels.
- Next, brush both fillets with olive oil to prevent sticking to the grill. Finally, season the fillets with salt and pepper according to your preferences.
- Place the pike fillets on the grill, skin-side down. If the skin has been removed, place the flesh side down.
- Grill the pike fillets for approximately 4-5 minutes per side or until they easily flake with a fork. Be careful not to overcook them, as pike can dry out if cooked too long.
- While grilling, you can place lemon slices and fresh herbs on top of the fillets to infuse them with additional flavor.
- Carefully remove the cooked fillets from the grill and transfer them to a serving platter.
- Garnish the grilled pike fillets with fresh herbs and serve them with additional lemon wedges.
Note: Pike can have a slightly fishy flavor, so marinating the fillets in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs for about 30 minutes before grilling can help reduce the fishy taste.
You can add your favorite seasonings or spices to enhance the flavor further.
Remember to check local fishing regulations and guidelines for information on size limits, catch limits, and any recommendations for consuming pike based on the specific water body you caught the fish in.
Pike are aggressive ambush predators. They lie in wait, often near vegetation or structures, and swiftly strike at their prey.
They have a voracious appetite and feed on prey, including smaller fish, frogs, crayfish, and sometimes even small mammals or waterfowl.Pike are found in freshwater habitats such as lakes, rivers, and ponds.
They prefer areas with ample vegetation or structures that provide cover for ambushing their prey.
Pike can tolerate a wide range of water conditions and temperatures, and they are found in both stagnant and flowing water.Pike are solitary fish and often exhibit territorial behavior.
They are known for their aggressive nature and can be quite fierce when hunting or defending their territory.
Pike are also known to be skilled at camouflaging themselves in their surroundings, making them effective ambush predators. The diet of pike primarily consists of other fish.
They are opportunistic feeders and will consume various fish species, including perch, trout, bass, and smaller pike.
They may also feed on amphibians, invertebrates, and small mammals or birds if given the opportunity.
Pike have a well-adapted body structure for their predatory lifestyle. Their long, streamlined body allows them to move through the water swiftly.
Pike also has excellent vision and rely on their senses to locate and strike at their targets.
The body shape of a pike is elongated and streamlined, which allows it to move swiftly through the water.
It has a relatively large head and a tapering body that gradually narrows towards the tail. The body is cylindrical in cross-section, with rounded or slightly flattened dorsal (upper) and ventral (lower) sides.
Pike have a distinct and prominent snout, which houses their mouth full of sharp teeth.
The mouth extends backward beyond the eye, and the jaws have rows of interlocking teeth, including sharp fangs. These teeth are used for grasping and holding onto prey.
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What baits are best for pike?
The best baits for pike fishing include live bait such as large minnows (shiners or chubs) and dead bait like minnows, suckers, smelt, herring, or perch.
Additionally, lures like spinnerbaits and jerk baits are effective for enticing pike strikes.
What is a pike lure?
A pike lure is an artificial bait or lure specifically designed to attract and catch pike fish.
These lures can include spinnerbaits, jerk baits, crankbaits, topwater lures, soft plastic swimbaits, and more, all intended to imitate the movement and appearance of natural prey fish and trigger pike strikes.
Is pike good to eat?
Yes, the pike is considered good to eat by many people. It has firm, white flesh with a mild and slightly sweet flavor.
However, it is important to note that larger pike may accumulate higher levels of mercury and other contaminants, so it is advisable to consume smaller pike within the recommended guidelines for your region.
As with any fish, proper cleaning, cooking, and handling techniques should be followed to ensure food safety.
It is always recommended to check local fishing regulations and guidelines regarding the consumption of pike from specific water bodies.