Pike - Learn the facts that will help you catch the trophies
This voracious and carnivorous fish live in freshwaters on the Northern Hemisphere. Northern Pike (Esox lucius) is also known by its folk name of "Water Wolf". Pikes grow as large as 150 cm in size and 25 kg in weight (1' to over 4', and weigh 50 pounds), although larger sizes have been reported, particularly in the Great Lakes area, making people believe in a misidentification or folk tale.
The color of Northern Pikes is olive shading into whitish or yellowish on belly, with spots on their body and some dark ones on the fins. Pikes have large pores on their head and lower jaw. This characteristic make Northern Pike a close relative to Muskellunge, similar-looking, but Northern Pike have light markings on their dark body backgrounds and less than 6 sensory pores on the underside of their jaw.
Usually found in cold, clear, rocky waters, lakes and streams, Northern Pike are usually hidden waiting for their prey, which are caught sideways with their sharp teeth. Pikes eat mainly fish and ducklings, although they are also cannibals, part of their nature, which serves in maintaining the Northern Pike population.
Some anglers have photographed Northern Pikes eating other pikes of a similar size, but also leeches and insects, because they are well known for their tremendously voracious appetite. Northern Pikes are some of the biggest freshwater fish that anglers like to catch due to the challenge involved while facing their aerial acrobatics and explosive hits.
Fishing for pike is an exciting sport in North America, where anglers usually do not eat the catch, but northern pike is usually filleted for the purpose of European cuisine, particularly popular in many German dishes. There are references traced back as far as the Romans, depicting pikes served at festivities.
In America, Northern Pike lives in northern New England, Eastern New York, Minnesota and the Ohio Valley, the Great Lakes basin and also the surrounding states of Nebraska and Missouri. Toward the north, pikes are also found in Alaska and Canada, except, British Columbia, were they appear rarely.
Northern Pike breed with Muskie to produce the Muskellunge subspecies known as Tiger Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy immaculatus), and there is also a mutation of Northern pike known as the Silver Pike, silvery-blue or silver in color, often referred to as Silver Muskellunge, occurring in scattered populations, lacking the rows of spots.
The name of Northern Pike was given to this specie after its North American habitat resembling the pole-weapon known as pike. This fish is also known as Common Pike, Snake, Great Northern Pike, American Pike, Jackfish, Great Lakes Pike, Grass Pike, and Pickerel.
Northern Pike Fishing
Most of the Northern Pike are found in Canadian and Great Lakes of North American continent. Generally, you will find small to medium size pike in the back of bays where there is lush, thick weeds, lily pads and wild rice. These pikes feed on small minnows, bugs, frogs, insects and other smaller zoo-planktons. As you come out to the edge of the weeds towards deeper
waters, the pike will get bigger and meatier, because the pike have all the food of the bay and also have the opportunity of eating small fishes swimming by the outside of the weeds.
Big pike generally do not eat small minnows, frogs and bugs. Their main food is Walleyes. The big pike will usually hang out where they can ambush and devour Walleyes. The prime ambush area is points leading into shallower bays. Big pikes are guerilla leaders on their own. They will also hang around rocky points, shoals, islands and other places where there are plenty of Walleyes. The most obvious place to get a big trophy pike is at the mouth of a stream or river gullies between islands. The big pike just sits there quietly, waiting for Walleyes to swim past them.
Northern Pikes are known to be very easy to deal with; it will hit just about any lure. The most popular lures for Pike are the "red & silver" and the yellow "five-of-diamonds" Daredevils. Pike are also known to hit jigs, Rapalas and Thunder sticks. Some of the biggest pike have been caught with small jigs. It makes a perfect sense because the big pike will patrol the outer parameter of the schools of Walleyes.
Pike loves to play with your bait. A big pike has the habit of hitting the lure and bait many times before falling to the bait. So you need to be very patient till you catch that elusive Pike. If you get a big pike on and then lose him in the process, just wait a little while and he will hit again for sure. They are so voracious, that they forget quickly and start to feed again.
Most anglers try to use Dare devils and one very effective way to maximize the attraction of a Daredevil or other spoons is to hard slap them. What you attempt to do is cast towards your target zone but cast up very high so that your lure falls into the area you intend to fish. Jerk your line towards you when the lure is just above 2 to 3 feet above the surface. This makes the lure slap on the surface. If you are doing it perfect, you can hear the Daredevil slap. The sound of spoon will trigger a feeding response. With clear water, the red and silver color lure works best. With muddy or iron-rich, clogged water, a yellow Five-of-Diamonds Daredevil seems to work better. In muddy or iron-rich water, rattle baits are far better as the pike can locate your lure purely by sound.
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