Pike prefer to eat. Subsequently they spend most of their time on main food-gathering areas, which for essentially the most half means a significant construction like a bar (shoal). Sunken islands are bars, too, and factors, in fact, could also be parts of bars. In a reservoir with massive creek arms, pike key on bars in a creek arm. In flowing rivers, they maintain on or close to bars inside river lakes, backwaters, or facet channels. And in lakes or reservoirs with out main creek arms, one of the best spots are typically mixture areas with bars, factors close to bays, or small creek arms.

The bigger and extra outstanding the construction, or higher but, mixture of constructions, the extra doubtless these areas are to persistently appeal to forage that persistently appeal to pike. One huge structural factor I fished not less than 5 occasions on journeys to a distant lake in Manitoba lies inside a giant bay off the primary lake. This one-acre sunken island rises from 45 to 10 ft of water. A 25-foot-deep saddle connects the island to shore. The highest of the island affords numerous rocks and some weeds. The weeds, nonetheless, aren’t vital to this construction. 

The mixture of the saddle and hump protruding midway throughout the bay, like an extended arm, gathers wandering baitfish and pike. Six of the eight huge pike I’ve caught right here (18 to 23 kilos) have been utilizing the drop-off breakline on the saddle facet of the island. Two fish have been within the saddle. 

Whereas Ice fishing pike, I by no means have seen a particular saddle portion of any main structural factor not appeal to essentially the most pike, even when the surface or sharp-dropping portion of the island appears to be like good, too. Saddles are that vital. If the saddle weren’t current, the deep fringe of the bar would have been extra vital.


Distinguished structural components collect pike. West Okoboji is a deep clear physique of water misplaced within the panorama. It is considered one of North America’s most intensely used our bodies of water, rivaling Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota. The quantity and common measurement of the pike is lowered in comparison with my Manitoba sizzling spot, however the structural story’s the identical. Main structural components appeal to the pike. With many such components to fish, two bars that block the doorway of two main bays, Smith’s Bay and Emerson’s Bay, persistently draw fish. The pike transfer alongside weededges, rock edges, and drop-off edges on the within and out of doors of the bars.

Structural Selection—After contemplating the prominence of a structural factor, think about its structural selection. Weedgrowth attracts forage. So does rock-rubble and different rock mixtures. Weeds and rock together with sand transitions in shallow water draw pike shallow throughout parts of the winter season. However when pike drop deep, as they typically do throughout midwinter, rock-rubble drop-off edges and particularly deep rock humps close to shallow cowl often are the place they maintain.

Pike droop in some lakes. However most droop relative to outstanding structural components. Don’t be concerned about people who do not, as a result of I do know of no constant solution to discover them. Fear, although, about pike motion primarily based on the portion of the winter season. Suppose shallow, deep, and deep and shallow throughout early-, mid-, and late-ice.

Seasonal Motion

Early-ice, assume shallow—Early-ice often means good fishing. Some pike are deep as a result of some forage is deep. However at early-ice, most pike—a lot of them massive—have settled right into a routine centered round outstanding shallow foraging areas.

Shallow at early-ice means plankton, which implies zooplankton, which implies small fish, which implies bigger fish. Because the season progresses and the ice thickens, mild penetration decreases together with water temperature. Shallow is now not so inviting or advantageous.

One more reason pike are typically shallow early is as a result of for months they have not been bothered by fishermen or boat visitors. Exercise on open water or on ice makes a distinction. Pike and different fish populations drift deeper because the season progresses. Deeper water means stability to hold fish by way of midwinter. However lack of fishing strain and exercise on the ice lengthens the time pike keep shallow. Stress hastens the retreat to deeper water. By midseason, solely seldom-fished lakes have many massive pike holding shallow.

Early within the season, consider shallow edges on or alongside outstanding bars. Once more, bars embody sunken islands. The skin or deep facet of the weededge often is the important thing. Improve the percentages of contacting pike by fishing pockets (inside turns) and factors within the edge. Weedless pockets in weedgrowth on high of bars, typically effectively away from a drop-off edge or the surface edges of a weedline, additionally appeal to pike.

Suppose mixtures. Factors or turns in bars or weedlines that coincide with all-time low and drop-offs appeal to pike. Search for factors that drop off in stairstep trend versus factors that crash instantly into deep water. The most effective weededges do not develop to the sting of a pointy drop-off, however have a transparent ­holding-ramp type of space earlier than the drop-off. Timber, by the way in which, could substitute weeds as a major supply of enticing shallow cowl. And do not forget present areas early, though their productiveness declines shortly and does not decide up once more till late-ice.

Midseason, assume deep—Pike fishing typically turns tough. Search for deeper rocks and usually neglect weededges. Search for rocky drop-offs or rock humps close to shallow holding areas. Remoted midlake humps could also be price fishing if apparent areas are being pressured. Pike fishermen who do not fish deeper rocky structural components often catch smaller pike. An alternative choice is a visit to a distant lake the place the pike have not been bothered, which is the rationale we typically journey to Manitoba.

I’ve jigged pike from 55 ft (fishing for walleyes), by the way in which, and caught them on tip-ups set 50 ft deep (fishing for pike). Agreed, nonetheless, that in most prime lakes, most greater pike come from 15 to 35 ft of water throughout midwinter. Granted, too, depth is relative. Twelve ft is comparatively deep in a physique of water the place weedgrowth ends at 6 ft and most depth is 25 ft. 

Late season, assume shallow and deep—In lakes the place the pike season runs till ice-out, search for greater pike to steadily abandon deep water and roam shallow once more as ice-out ap­proaches. Deeper weededges on ­sections of bars adjoining to shallow spawning bays are good spots. Test weedgrowth close to present, too. It is probably the greatest occasions of yr to catch an enormous pike.

The place?

A outstanding structural factor like a bar with a wide range of habitat together with factors that drop off into deep water are the first key to pike location throughout winter. Distinguished bars collect baitfish and pike, and mixture habitat holds them. 

Massive bays additionally collect touring baitfish and pike. If there’s sufficient deep water and sufficient mixture habitat, pike could use a bay all winter. The largest pike have a tendency to make use of bays throughout early and late season, nonetheless, and like main-lake habitat throughout midwinter.

Feeder Creek A—Present attracts pike at early-ice and late-ice. Think about the weed breaks on the mouth of the creek.

Bay B—Good depth main into this bay. Huge pike doubtless use the weededge all winter. Primarily a first-ice and late-ice spot, nonetheless, for throughout midwinter, bigger pike have a tendency to maneuver to main-lake areas.

Bar C—Mixtures right here embody weeds, rock, and sand on a bar that protrudes into the lake, plus rocky factors that drop into deep water. Structural mixtures plus the mixtures of Bay B close to Bar C make this space probably probably the most constant pike­producers within the lake. 

Bar D—Ought to maintain pike all season. Loads of weededges, rock edges, rock drop-offs, plus two rocky sunken islands for midwinter pike use. Anglers might spend your complete season exploring the choices on this bar. 

Bar E—One other good one, however with out the full mixtures of Bay B, Bar C, or Bar D. Value fishing provided that higher areas are pressured by different anglers.

Bay F—Due to its measurement and depth, this bay may very well be thought-about a separate lake. Throughout early season, fish the within nook close to the outlet and the weed level. Strive the saddle between the weed level and the sunken island, and the sunken island throughout midwinter. Or attempt the weededge within the not-so-prominent inside activate the north shore. 

Island G—Too small and remoted to carry many pike, however price checking throughout midwinter when outstanding lake areas get numerous fishing strain. The secret’s fishing it earlier than anybody else catches the few (however doubtless massive) pike holding there.

Island H—Identical as Island G. Nonetheless, Island H is a extra traveled space. Pike holding close to Creek A or in Bay B, for instance, might transfer to Island H as winter progresses.

1 Yukon River, Alaska

Outsize pike lurk within the bays and grassy backwaters of the Yukon River and its tributaries. Possibilities for fish from 25 to 30 kilos or higher are good within the cool, slow-moving waters. The Yukon has implausible alternatives for fly-fishing. At Midnight Solar Trophy Pike Adventures, a houseboat with lodging for six anglers serves as your wilderness base camp, with three guided ‘satellite tv for pc ‘ boats taking you into much more distant areas. They reported fish to 55 inches final yr. ­Contact: Midnight Solar Trophy Pike Adventures, mstpa.com.

5 Taltson River, Northwest Territories

Penny considers the higher Taltson River to be the highest vacation spot for big pike in North America as we speak. Extra kilos per inch than wherever else in North America, he says, the pike listed here are the hardest he is encountered. Huge walleyes, too, together with magnificent surroundings. Contact: Aurora Nights Lodge, ­auroranights.ca, 867/394-4001.

7 Misaw Lake Lodge, Saskatchewan

Straw says Misaw Lake in northern Saskatchewan has a number of the most constant trophy pike fishing he is ever skilled. The Schwandt River, a wonderful big-pike venue, runs out of Misaw Lake close to Misaw Lake Lodge. Misaw produces pike over 50 inches lengthy most years, and the lodge affords fly-outs and hikes to different lakes stuffed with trophy pike that do not get fished for years. Contact: Misaw Lake Lodge, misawlakelodge.com.

8 Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan

Wollaston Lake, the biggest lake on this planet that has outflows in two completely different drainage basins, produces numbers of trophy pike within the mid-40- to 50-inch vary yearly. Sight-fishing shallow is a high tactic for early season, with an limitless variety of factors, bays, and neckdowns that maintain pike by way of summer season. The lodge lodging and eating are firstclass, and seasoned and educated guides are on the high of their recreation. ­Contact: Wollaston Lake Lodge, wollastonlakelodge.com.

10 Colorado Reservoirs, U.S.

Eleven Mile, Williams Fork, Spinney Mountain, and Stagecoach reservoirs all are high waters for large pike, says Matt Smiley, gross sales supervisor for Eagle Claw primarily based in Denver. Final September, his pal Mike Stark caught a 461„2-incher simply ounces shy of 30 kilos, a state-record caliber fish. All these reservoirs have 30-pound class fish that develop huge on a weight-reduction plan of trout, he says. Information Nathan Zelinsky specialised in trophy Colorado pike. He says peak occasions are Could and late September and early October. Ways embody trolling with planer boards in addition to casting jerkbaits, swimbaits and tubes. There’s additionally a tremendous topwater chew in July or August, he says. Contact: Information Nathan Zelinsky, Tightline Outdoor, 720/775-7770; Colorado Parks and Wildlife, parks.state.co.us.

2 Lac La Martre, Northwest Territories

In-Fisherman contributor and trophy pike skilled Jack Penny likes Lac La Martre for 20- to 30-pound pike. With spectacular sight-fishing, it is a fly fisherman’s dream, he says. Fish stay shallow all yr. Crystal clear water with bonus big lake trout. Contact: Lac La Martre Adventures, nwtfishing.com, 810/334-9381.

3 Nice Slave Lake, Northwest Territories

Among the many high spots in In-Fisherman Subject Editor Matt Straw’s record is Trout Rock Lodge, on the north shore of Nice Slave Lake. It is positioned in an archipelago shaped by a whole bunch of islands, which defend a number of the most expansive far northern pike habitat on earth. Straw says you will discover numerous ‘kraken, ‘ because the locals name pike over 40 inches lengthy. And he studies extra 50-inch pike are caught right here yearly than wherever he is been. ­Contact: Trout Rock Lodge, enodah.com.

4 Athabasca Lake, Saskatchewan

This huge water, stretching over 230 miles, with massive linked rivers and plentiful pike habitat, has super fishing for large pike, Penny says. Largely identified for large lakers, the pike fishing is ignored. A lot of traditional weedy bays with clear water. A number of the greatest pike in Saskatchewan await anglers. Contact: Laker’s Limitless, lakersunlimited.com, 780/853-1151; Blackmur’s Athabasca Fishing Lodges, athabascalake.com, 877/922-0957.

6 Reindeer Lake, Saskatchewan

At over 180 miles lengthy and as much as 60 miles large, Reindeer Lake is filled with traditional pike habitat, with 1000’s of islands, structural components, and weedy bays. Final season, Lawrence Bay Lodge recorded their largest catches of massive pike from 18 to 35 kilos, and a few over 35. Sight-fishing is a high technique in some areas. Fishing deeper construction and weededges additionally produces big pike at sure occasions. Bonus lake trout, walleyes, and grayling. Contact: Lawrence Bay Lodge, lawrencebay.com.

9 Wet Lake, Ontario

The placement of quite a few TV segments for In-Fisherman Tv, Wet Lake on the Ontario-U.S. border stays one of many high drive-to locations in North America. Pike within the 10- to 15-pound vary are frequent, with possibilities at 40-inch-plus fish. The weeks after ice-out discover postspawn pike in shallow weedy bays­ — prime time to focus on pike with flies. Later into June, pike transition to deep weedlines, and plenty of fish transfer to rocky constructions in fall. Contact: Woody’s Wet Lake Resort and Pretty Dependable Information Service, fairlyreliable.com; Camp Narrows Lodge, campnarrows.ca.

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