Ontario Northern Pike Tips

Onario Northern Pike


A favorite game fish found in Ontario is the Northern Pike.  This carnivorous olive colored fish with tones of yellow or white along its belly is dubbed as the alligator of the north primarily because of its predatory nature.  The Northern Pike is distinguishable by way of the short bar-like markings on its flank and the dark spots on its fins.  Unlike comparable-looking muskellunge, northerns have predominantly dark bodes tinted with light markings.  They grow to as much as 59 inches (150 cm.) in length and about 55 pounds (25 kg) in weight.


Northerns are a favorite among pike anglers because of the challenge they pose.  Although they will bite just about any bait, once lured, look forward to seeing them leap and thrash the water as they head on to make a number of powerful runs.


Seasonal Activity


Springtime is feeding time for the northerns.  Fresh off the spawn, expect them to nurture a big appetite.  Sparkling spoons, noisy buzz baits, and spinner baits are the best way to go in terms of lure choices for spring pikes.  Proper rods and reels are essential for hauling that northern in your boat. Medium to heavy action 6-7 foot rods with spinning or bait casting reels usually work best. Because they are a toothy critter many pike anglers choose braided line in the 20-30 pound range coupled with steel, fluorocarbon or titanium leaders. For best results, cast your baits in shallow water and keep them moving fast and irregularly.  Be sure to clutch on to your rig for northerns will almost always give you a hard fight.

In summer, you will find northerns seeking the shade and comfort of weed and pad beds, and some might even find their way in deeper waters.  Being the ambush predator that they are, northerns often linger near the edges of weed lines as they wait for their prey to swim by.  Because they mimic the prey northerns feed on, minnow baits are the ideal lure to use during the hot summer months.

The best time to catch big northerns is during the fall months as most are up and about as they prepare for the coming winter season.  This period is their trolling time.  Expect them to be in deep water where they follow schools of baitfish.  Do make sure you use this tidbit of info to your advantage.  Increase your odds by using crank baits and spoons that match their prey color, size, and action.


Final Note


Typically, northerns prefer large preys as opposed to several smaller preys.  Making a meal out of one to two pound walleyes is not unheard of.  Expect your patience to be tested for these pikes are infamous for toying with their meal.  Often, they hit and let go a number of times before finally taking the bait.


This article was written by the
contributing staff of OFT and its
group of amateur and pro Ontario anglers.

Copyright 2007. Ontario Fish Trips.