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Pike Fishing – How to Bait and Catch Pike Fish

Pike fishing is one of the most interesting and exciting activities any fishing enthusiast could consider. Experienced fishermen see pike as one of the greatest fishing challenges of all time, and today, even beginners can try catching their first pike after learning a few (more or less) simple tricks.

Pike are predators, and this is one of the main reasons why they’re hard to catch. Despite their large sizes, they can be really fast and strong and they often play with their prey.

Pike fish (Exus) generally live in the freshwaters of the northern hemisphere.

Pike are carnivorous fish: they usually eat small fish and animals (frogs, mice, ducklings), but are also cannibalistic, sometimes feeding on smaller members of their own species.

References to these fish have been made from very old times: they are usually mentioned in mythology and literature as symbols of evil water spirits, probably because of their ”special” diet.

Pike are large fish, reaching a maximum length of about six feet and a maximum weight of more than seventy pounds. They may live many years, as humans are the only threat to their life.

Pike fish species:

  • Esox Americanus (Redfin Pickerel or Grass Pickerel);
  • Esox Lucius, also known as Northern Pike;
  • Esox Masquinogy, commonly known as Muskellunge or Muskie;
  • Esox Niger, or Chain Pickerel;
  • Esox Reichertii, commonly known as Amur Pike.


Fishing for predators is not easy and anglers are extremely interested in pike fish. Why so? Because trying to catch such a fish is rather difficult and it is widely accepted: the more difficult it is, the more interesting it becomes for sport fishing amateurs!

Live and dead fish are the most popular baits for pike.

If ”catch and release” angling is practiced, fisherman should be very careful about the way they handle the fish. Pike are not as strong as people may think. Even if they are widely known as merciless predators, inappropriate handling of a pike may lead to permanent injuries on its body, or even death!

Nevertheless, pike has very sharp teeth and you may be slightly injured if you do not know how to release it back into the water.

However, pike fish are very popular all over the world and thousands of people choose fishing trips in various countries (especially Canada), in order to experience this different way of fishing.

Pike handling

If you want to handle your fish properly, you ought to take into consideration some tips:

  • Before fishing, make sure you have everything you need for the proper handling of pike: a micromesh landing net, forceps, wire cutters, unhooking mat, scales, wire tracers, and bolt croppers;
  • Wire traces are very important when it comes to pike fishing. Even small fish may be relatively dangerous. The wire trace should be about 15 inches long;
  • You should use semi-barbless hooks: this way, it will be easier to unhook the fish and it will also be safer for it;
  • You will need one pair of strong forceps for unhooking the pike: Be careful and try not to touch the fish with dry hands.

Pike are very popular fish, and many conservation programs have been initiated for them. It is very important to prevent such an interesting fish from becoming extinct.

About Northern Pike and Muskie

Muskellunge (commonly known as muskie) and northern pike are two of the most well-known species and muskie are even some of the rarest types of pike, which makes catching one even more exciting.

Northern pike are common in Europe, as well as North America, being found in most of the 50 American states. Their color is typically olive green with yellow spots and fins that are either reddish or green with yellow stripes, and they are mostly found in lakes, streams and clear rocky waters.

Northern pike can grow to large sizes sometimes, reaching lengths of more than 4 feet. The heaviest pike ever caught weighed about 68 pounds, which says a lot about why fishermen consider these fish, as well as pike fishing in general, to be a real challenge.

Muskie are similar to northern pike regarding their behavior and appearance. They are also predators and live in lakes or large rivers. They can mostly be found in the northern parts of Minnesota or Wisconsin, as well as higher up north, in Canada, and while most of them are about 30 inches long, there have been rare accounts of fishermen who caught specimens that were larger than 50 inches.

Considering the length and speed of these fish, catching them is no simple matter, and you will need the best equipment for the job.

Pike Fishing Equipment

There are a lot of things you will have to keep track of, when planning to catch pike. Your equipment is probably the most important of them. What you need to do first then is to get yourself a rod and some fishing gear.

When it comes to pike fishing, your rod always has to be longer than average. This has a few important advantages like the fact that you can cover a larger area. Also, your hook will have to be very sharp. This is because pike have bony mouths, and you may have a great deal of trouble trying to catch them with regular hooks.

Since you have hooks, it may also be important to know how to remove them from the pike’s mouth. Make sure you have some pliers close by for this, since taking the hooks out with your hand is never a good idea.

Try to get the best bait you can find: propbaits, jigs, bucktails and spinner baits can all be great when you go pike fishing, but make sure you ask around for the best prices, as some of these can be expensive. You can get information from your local fishing store or even search around on the internet to find out what the best prices are for some types of baits.

Once you have all of this covered, you’ll be ready to catch yourself some pike; so let’s see what exactly you have to do to improve your odds. One thing is for sure, the fish will put up a fight, and if you’re not ready, you might have to face the disappointment of losing one of the largest fish you had ever caught.

Tips on How to Catch Pike

  • When sitting down for some pike fishing, the first thing you have to do is keep feeling the rod for vibrations, as this will tell you whether the pike is ready to bite or not.
  • Pike are predators, so they won’t be too attracted if your bait doesn’t move. If you don’t want the fish to lose interest, play with the bait all the time, and instead of slowing down when you notice the pike is following, jerk the rod to one side, and the pike will probably strike in that very moment.
  • If you are using a net, try to avoid the most common types of nets, as these may damage the pike’s fins. Instead, go for rubber ones.
  • When it comes to pike fishing, depending on whether you’re on the shore or on a boat, you’ll have to use different methods of getting the fish out of the water when it strikes. If you are on a boat, give the rod a tug when you feel that the fish is pulling on the hook, and try to land it swiftly into your net. If you’re on the shore, on the other hand, just drag it onto the shore until you’re certain it can’t get back to the water.
  • Last, but not least, try to have as much fun as possible, but always be ready for a good fight, because the pike will surely be. They will never give up easily, and this will give you a real thrill when you manage to hook one.

What is the Best Time to Catch Northern Pike?

Before you decide to go pike fishing, always check the fishing reports to see who is catching what and where.

The best time for catching northern pike is when the water temperatures reach about 65 F degrees. This is when larger pike become stressed, and start biting subsides.

There is, of course, a lot more to talk about regarding pike fishing, but you will find that if you follow some of the tips presented here, you’ll definitely be able to start catching some big ones once you get the hang of it.

Where to go Fishing for Pike

If you are keen on fishing, Canada is the perfect destination for a beautiful holiday: lots of fishing adventures are waiting for you. Canada seems to be a different world, far away from our daily problems. Do not hesitate to choose Canada fishing trips, because such a trip will offer you the opportunity to discover what professional fishing is actually about!

Reasons to choose a fishing trip in Canada

  • Canada is the land of fabulous fishing: endless freshwater lakes, beautiful surroundings, hospitable people;
  • You have countless options of fish/game fish to choose from: northern pike, muskie, salmon, trout, whitefish and many others;
  • You will have the chance to try catching ferocious predators – very tenacious and strong fish (muskellunge, northern pike), discovering a different, unique fishing experience;
  • There are lots of fishing resorts to choose from;
  • A fishing trip to Canada may be a dream came true for an angler;
  • Many great fishing resorts in Canada are accessible by air;
  • Canadians are worldwide famous for the exceptional fishing experiences they offer.

Canada fishing trips for all of us

Such a fishing trip may seem expensive and exclusive at the first sight, but there are trips for every budget. For example, accommodation options are very diverse: from camping, housekeeping cottages and fishing lodges to inns, family resorts and even luxury resorts. No matter where you choose to stay during your trip, it will certainly be unforgettable if you are willing to learn new things and have a good time with your family or friends.

The prices also depend on:

  • The means of transport you travel by;
  • The activities you want to practice;
  • The location you choose for your trip;
  • The type of services you choose for your accommodation.

Moreover, there are all-inclusive offers available. If you choose an all-inclusive trip, you will have everything you need during your holiday, for more money.

On the other hand, if you have a really small budget, you can still enjoy a great camping experience with your loved ones.

Eventually, fishing as much as possible is the most important!

Yukon fishing trips

When it comes to Canada fishing trips, one of the best choices is represented by the remote lakes from Yukon. Lots of well-maintained fishing camps are just waiting for their tourists. You only have to choose one of the nine Yukon lakes where you want to fish: it will be all to yourself!

The fishing season in Yukon lasts from late May to late September. Yukon is one of the most popular choices for fishing trips, because of its natural, wild beauty. Here, you can fish 24/7 if this is what you want. There will certainly be no regrets after a trip like this: nothing, but beautiful memories!

Of course, there are plenty of amazing fishing destinations in Canada. All you have to do is discover those beautiful places.

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