Pike Fishing Tips

The Best Northern Pike Fishing Tips

Welcome to Apex Fishing Tips, this section of our website is dedicated to northern pike fishing. On this web page you'll learn all about northern pike and pike fishing. Anglers of every skill level will be able to use this information when their fishing for northern pike. Our northern pike fishing tips, tricks and tactics will help you catch bigger pike, in larger quantities, more often.

Below you'll find 8 pike fishing tips that will be useful at improving your chances of catching northern pike. Anglers, regardless of their skill and experience, will be able to use our fishing tips to catch more northern pike. If you would like to share some northern pike fishing tips or tactics will your fellow anglers, please contact us and share them.

In addition to 8 northern pike fishing tips we're going to teach you all about the northern pike. We've also listed below the current all-tackle world fishing record, both weight and length, for a northern pike. At the bottom of this web page you'll find more resources on northern pike fishing and some fun photos of pike caught by other anglers.

8 Pike Fishing Tips

  1. Useless you enjoy losing your setup every time you hook a northern pike; you'll want to use a leader. These leaders should be at least 12 inches long and have a 30 pound rating. Traditional monofilament and braided line will easily be snapped by a northern pike's razor sharp teeth.
  2. If you're going to use live bait to catch a decent sized northern pike you can leave the fathead minnows, worms and wax worms at home. You'll need to use bigger live bait to catch a northern pike. While you want to use something native to where they live, you'll find success with alewives, bluegills, creek chubs, frogs, large shiners, shad, suckers and yellow perch. Many of these you can catch in the same body of water where you're trying to catch a northern pike. Consider using a bait cast net or bait trap to stock up on these northern pike favorites.
  3. Using the right live bait fishing rig to catch a northern pike is important. If you want to use a bobber, you'll want to use a slip bobber rig so you can control your depths. Make sure you use a large bobber and heavy slip shot; this will help keep your live bait stationary. The three-way rig, the drift rig and the fish finder rig are perfect for presenting your live bait at the bottom. We prefer to hook bait fish through just their upper lip, through one nostril. This keeps them alive much longer, lets them swim better and increases the odds of hooking a northern pike.
  4. Bait and tackle companies have created an endless supply of lures, spoons and spinners targeting northern pike. We're not going to pretend we know what's best or push you to a specific one. Instead, we recommend that you purchase ones that mimic both looks and movement of the typical bait fish northern pike prey upon. It's tempting to try out some of these awesome products, but the most successful ones will mimic the look and movement of bait fish.
  5. Northern pike are notorious for playing with bait. Since their an ambush predator they wait for something to come along and then dart out to eat it. This means it might take them a few attempts to fully catch your live bait or lure. In fact, northern pike are known to catch their prey sideways in their mouth, which can make it difficult to set the hook. When you start getting action give it a few moments to fully engulf your live bait or lure before you try and set the hook. If you miss setting the hook, leave your live bait or lure in that area, it's typical for northern pike to strike a second or third time.
  6. Small to medium northern pike usually hunt around heavily weeded areas where they can ambush prey. Large northern pike typically hunt in deep water where they can ambush larger prey. If you keep catching small northern pike, you may need to go deeper to find the big ones. That's not to say large pike don't travel into shallow water, they due when they spawn, but you're just much more likely to find them in deep water.
  7. Many anglers are annoyed that they can only catch small northern pike. This is usually due to them using the wrong size live bait or lure. Northern pike are predators and they go after bait relative to their size. Yes, it's possible to catch a large northern on a smaller bait or lure, but it's not common. Predator fish go for prey that is either extremely easy to catch or is big enough to be worth the effort (energy expended) to catch. Try upsizing your live bait or lure to catch a bigger fish.
  8. You should always handle a northern pike with care, both for your and the fish's safety. Northern pike have strong teeth and a powerful jaw, especially when they're on the larger size. Never put your fingers in their mouth or bring them close to your face. They're strong and can turn your awesome selfie into a trip to the emergency room. Handle pike careful and support their weight, their large size and elongated bodies make it easy for them to get hurt while you're handling them.

About Northern Pike (Esox lucius)

Northern Pike (esox lucius)

Northern pike (Esox lucius), sometimes just called pike, is a popular game fish among anglers. The average adult northern pike can reach a length between 16 and 22 inches. They're an ambush predator and can be found in many different bodies of freshwater in the Northern Hemisphere. Pike normally have an oil green body, but yellowish-white spots along their elongated body.

Northern pike are commonly confused with muskies, but there are two easy ways to tell the two apart. Northern pike have rounded tail tips, while muskie tail is pointed. Northern pike have light spots along their body, while muskies have dark stripes. A wide variety of fish and frogs are the typical diet of a northern pike. They have been recorded attacking small mammals and birds.

Northern Pike Fishing Records

The below International Game Fish Association (IGFA) northern pike world fishing records are up to date as of 2019.

Pike Fishing Pictures

A pike caught while fishing

A picture of a northern pike (E. lucius) caught on a ice fishing trip.
(Credit: Larry Reis / Flickr)

A northern pike caught while fishing

A picture of a 28" northern pike (E. lucius) caught on a fishing trip.
(Credit: bwj_isu91 / Flickr)

The teeth of a northern pike fish

A close-up picture of the teeth of a northern pike (E. lucius).
(Credit: Mike Nielsen / Flickr)

Pike Fishing Resources