If you find yourself standing on an ice sheet that’s 36 inches thick, it appears absurd to assume that spring is within the air. However it was. And I might really feel it. It was the final week of March, and Pete Palony and I had deliberate our journey to Minnesota’s famed Lake of the Woods to be right here at this exact time. This sprawling inland sea is house to huge numbers of big pike.

The primary flag went off a half hour into the day. A pike attacked a stay sucker pinned 6 ft off the underside in 14 ft of water. Inside minutes, 14 kilos of beating fish hit the ice. We launched it after a few fast pictures.

Then one of many cisco-baited tip-ups went off. I set the hook, and it felt as if I used to be tethered to a transferring truck. The fish exploded in a powerful run; for just a few seconds I anxious that my 50 yards of principal line may not be stout sufficient.

The pike made three lengthy runs earlier than I might coax its huge head by way of the 10-inch gap. When the tip of its nostril appeared out of the slush, I reached in to seize a gill plate. It’s a must to stand as much as raise 44 inches of pike from a gap within the ice.

Easy methods to Discover Pike

Though one have a look at a pike’s toothy maw confirms that it developed to feed on different fish, right here’s what chances are you’ll not find out about northerns: They’re scavengers that feed on useless stuff, too. And in late winter, there are many useless issues within the shallow again bays of lakes that see oxygen ranges plummet over the lengthy winter.

Embracing this a part of pike conduct was tough for me. As I realized to focus on huge pike, nonetheless, I began to grasp the numerous variations between hammer-handle fish and studs.

The usage of underwater cameras just like the Aqua-Vu Micro AV has accelerated my studying. For instance, I’ve found that huge pike are interested in vertically jigged rattle baits and can journey a whole bunch of ft to analyze them. Flutter spoons are equally engaging. These skinny spoons are extremely popular with the Nice Lakes trollers that focus on trout and salmon. In contrast to conventional spoons, these gentle baits sink slowly on the drop, attracting pike as they flutter down. Rig these lures in tandem with stay or useless baits.

Learn Subsequent: Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders

Each useless and stay baits produce beneath tip-ups. A fast-strike rig won’t solely help you safely launch fish, however it should additionally significantly enhance your strike-to-hookup price. I exploit 40-pound fluorocarbon for my chief, with about 30 inches between my principal line and the bait. Smaller trebles—I exploit No. 4 nearly solely—supply higher touchdown charges than bigger ones. Skinny, uncoated seven-strand wire can be a preferred chief materials for stopping bite-offs by toothy pike. Most anglers I do know use 18- to 27-pound-test to construct their rigs.

I like a thick, robust principal line for large pike. You don’t want 50-pound-test to land them, however heavier traces are best to deal with with chilly, moist arms. Berkley’s Gorilla Braid is made with each Dyneema and Dacron, and it gives the most effective traits of each. It not solely sinks, but it surely’s additionally straightforward to manage and might stand up to the sharp edges that kind round ice holes.

Ice Fishing for Pike Suggestions

You’ll be able to catch the random pike by throwing out a tip-up nearly wherever you catch panfish. However if you wish to constantly catch bit pike, comply with the following pointers.

  • Late-season pike roam a lot greater within the water column than most anglers understand. Usually, my finest baits are these pinned only a foot or two beneath the ice.
  • Comply with the bait to search out huge late-season fish. In waters with a robust panfish forage base, hunt down the shallow bays that appeal to them and also you’ll discover pike.
  • In waters dominated by open-water forage reminiscent of whitefish, shallower rocky factors will be nice pike spots, significantly close to spawning areas.
  • As a result of present attracts and concentrates fish, incoming creeks and rivers are a plus.
  • If you’re not discovering fish shallow, give attention to pike staging areas, like deep water near spawning bays.
  • When you hook a large, enable it to run. The very last thing you need is a inexperienced fish on the backside of the outlet, the place it might bury your hooks into the ice.

READ NEXT: Pike Spearing: How to Spear the Biggest Pike of Your Life

Let the Massive Ones Go

Pike, particularly winter pike, are glorious consuming fish. However plan on letting big pike go. Have a jaw spreaders and fishing pliers able to go for a fast launch. Giant feminine pike are high breeders and it pays to have giant predators in a fishery. Plus, the mid-sized pike, within the 24- to 28-inch vary, are higher for consuming anyway. If you happen to’re caught catching small pike, contemplate pickling them with this pickled pike recipe.





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