When small to medium size Northern Pike are feeding they are the easiest fish to catch. They will hit just about anything and will venture into any kind of habitat if they think there is food. Guests catch them in the thick weeds, in the thin weeds and even off rocky points and shoals, where you would expect to catch Walleyes and Smallmouth Bass. Catching the big Northern Pike, big meaning 12 to 25 pounds, needs tactics that are a bit more refined.
Near the beginning of August most big Northern Pike start to take off into deep water in really deep lakes and by mid-august they can be really hard to fine. They will spend their time down along deep water ridges from 15 to 30 feet deep. You don't have to worry about that at our lodge because all our best Northern Pike lakes are fairly shallow. The feeding patterns and depths that the Pike are found at stay reliably the same all season. This Pike fishing tips article will mainly concentrate on shallow water tactics.
The one thing you must remember about large trophy Northern Pike is they are ambush predators. They are not like Muskie. Muskie are hunters and will cover great distances along the shore or weed beds looking for food. Northern Pike are ambush predators and very territorial. They will stake out a spot that is favorable to Walleyes, Smallmouth Bass and Perch and wait for the food to come to them. Let's examine these favorable spots.
A small bay with thick weeds along the back shore that drops off quickly into deep water once you venture out past the points is the absolutely best spot for a trophy Northern Pike. Waves push the surface water up against the point. As the water moves around the point it calms down and drops plankton and bugs, which in turn attracts small minnows. The big Northern Pike will site off into the deep darker water just outside the bay waiting for the minnows to attract Walleyes and Smallmouth Bass. When the Pike decides to strike the Pike will swim to the outside of the points and then turn inwards towards the bay thus minimizing the escape route of the Walleyes. (see diagram 1) In this situation you want to position your boat toward the center of the bay out over deep water within casting distance of the points. If the Pike is off in the deeper water in might take several casts before the splash of your lure attracts him to see what is going on at the points. If you don't get anything after a few minutes try casting straight into the bay and as the water gets deeper stop reeling from time-to-time and let your lure sink deeper. In this situation is better to use heavier lures that will sink such as Daredevles, Mepps Cyclops or heavy spinner baits with low friction blades.