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Northern Pike Tips:

There are many places where you will find Northern Pike in Northern Ontario Lakes. Generally, you will find small to medium size pike in the back of bays where there is thick weeds, lily pads and wild rice. The small to medium size pike are feeding on small minnows, bugs, frogs and each other. When you come out to the edge of the weeds, the pike will get bigger because the pike have the food of the bay to their back and also have the chance of taking a small Walleye swimming by the outside of the weeds. So where are the big pike?

Big pike generally do not bother with small minnows, frogs and bugs. Their main food is Walleyes, small hammer-handles, Suckers, Chub and Whitefish. The big pike will hang out where they can ambush Walleyes. The prime ambush area is points leading into bays. They will also hang around rocky points, shoals, islands and other places where there are Walleyes. The best place to get a big trophy pike is at the mouth of a stream or river, narrows between islands and water-flow between lakes. The big pike just sit there waiting for Walleyes to swim through. Walleyes tend to migrate around a lake all year, whether it's moving to find cooler water, deeper water, more food or even finding their spawning grounds.

Of all the game fish you can catch in Ontario, Northern Pike are the easiest. Pike will hit just about any lure. The most popular lures for Pike are the "red & silver" and the yellow "five-of-diamonds" DareDevils. Pike also hit jigs, Rapalas and Thundersticks. Some of the biggest pike are caught with small jigs while Walleye fishing. It makes sense because the big pike will patrol the outer parameter of the schools of Walleyes.

Play with your bait:

Pike will play with your bait. It's not uncommon for a big Pike to hit and let go several times before the bait is taken. With this in mind you have to show some patience. If you get a big pike on and then lose him, just wait a little while and he will hit again. Their appetites are so ferocious that they forget quickly and start to feed again. There are many reports by fisherman of catching the same pike over again.

Casting A DareDevil

One very effective way to maximize the attraction of a DareDevils or other spoons is to slap them. What you do is cast towards your target zone but cast up high so your lure falls into the area you want to fish. When the lure is about 2 or 3 feet above the water, jerk your line towards you. This makes the lure slap on the surface. If you are doing it right, you can hear the DareDevil slap. The sound of a spoon slapping on the surface seems to attract pike and/or trigger a feeding response.

In Northern Ontario, there are generally three types of water. Some lakes are so clear that you can see the bottom 80 feet down. Other shallow lakes can me murky or muddy for days or weeks after a big storm. Many lakes have a wine-red color, which is caused by dissolved iron in the water. With clear water, the red and silver color works best. With muddy or iron-rich water, a yellow Five-of-Diamonds DareDevil seems to work better. In muddy or iron-rich water, rattle baits are even better as the pike can locate the lure by sound.

Musky and Northern Pike look very similar. Did you know that they are not genetically related? They look the same because they evolved in similar environments. Walleye (Yellow Pickerel) and the Yellow Perch are related even though they look very different.

Using Old Rapalas with your DareDevil

Do you have a Rapala that's all chewed up or the little plastic fin broke off? You don't have to turn it into a key-chain or throw it in the garbage. It's still very useful.

Nothing gets a big monster pike PO'ed more than watching another fish trying to eat. Northern Pike are extremely competitive and like to assert their dominance in the food chain. When a pike sees a fish chasing another fish, it's time for lunch.

With this in mind, take the hooks off your broken Rapala. Then attached a black steel leader. Then attach another leader to the back of the Rapala with a spring-slip-ring. Then attach your DareDevil or what ever you want to use.

This rig is another way of triggering that animal feeding instinct. It's an old Muskie fishing trick.

Kawartha Musky Rig With Big Minnows:

The big trophy Northerns are not feeding on bugs and little minnows. They are feeding on 1/2 to 2 pound Walleyes. A big pike will spend too much energy chasing little bits of food. With this in mind, it's time to look at your bait. Most bait stores will not carry 6 to 8 inch chub or suckers but that's what you need. Get some 4 pound test line and really tiny hooks and find a small stream. Walk down the stream until you come to a hole and fish for chub/suckers with a little piece of worm. Just about every small stream in Canada has Chub or suckers in it and they are easy to catch.

A big chub on a traditional Kawartha Musky rig is how you catch the big ones. To make a Musky rig, you need two steel leaders and two medium size treble hooks. Clip the hooks onto the two leaders. Then clip the two leaders together so that you have a hook at one end and a hook where the two leaders are joined. Tie your line to the eye of the top leader. Next you want to get a medium size float and put the float about 1 foot above the rig. With the end hook, put the hook through the bottom lip of the Chub. With the middle hook, hook the Chub at the base of the tail. Make sure you do not hook the Chub at the end of the tail or the fish will not be able to swim around.

How To Hold A Pike

If you hold a northern pike or walleye up by it's eye sockets like they use to do in the old days, you squeeze their optic nerves into their brain and they die a slow death.

Gas and Bug Spray

If you have touched a gas tank, gas line or get gasoline on your hands, scrub (wash) your hands with sugar. After you have put bug spray on, wash your hands with salt. Do this before you touch your lures to minimize transfer of undesirable scents. This will maximize fish strikes.

The Lake Is Turning

Have you ever heard someone say, "the lake is turning". What is happening, especially in northern Ontario, is the hot weather of July and beginning of August is being replaced by cool arctic weather coming down from the north. At this time of year, you can also get some very windy days. What is happening is the warm surface water is being pushed down to the bottom of the lake and cool water being pushed up, thus radically changing the 53 degree thermal layers, which is where the Lake Trout, Whitefish and other baitfish congregate. The warm water, which is heading deep, seems to bring all the shallow baitfish with it and the pike follow these baitfish.

Fishing for deep Northern Pike

We have caught pike down deep in 30 to 60-feet of water on a light action Lake Trout rig. We were using small trout lures like Williams Wabblers, Blue Fox Spinners and Cleos. We did not catch any Lake Trout but we where catching tons of small pike and kept losing our lures because we were not using steel leaders. You can not use steel leaders with a spoon on the 3-way swivel rig because it's too heavy. We put steel leaders on the rig but went to bigger floating lures like Original Floating Rapalas, J-11 Jointer Rapalas, countdowns and Thunder Sticks. These lures where also much bigger then the small trout lures thus we started catch big pike. Blue, Silver, Fire Tiger and Chartreuse seem to be the best colors while fishing down deep. Below is the 3-way swivel rig.

3-Way Swivel Rig:

The best way to fish down deep for Lake Trout is with 6-pound test line and a 3-way swivel rig. This technique is also excellent for big August Northern Pike, which are right on bottom in 30 to 60-feet of water.

You need 6-pound test because thicker line has too much friction with the water and it will be hard to find the bottom. You also need a 1-oz or 2-oz weight, a 3-way swivel, light steel leader and a lure that does not sink. I like to use an original floating Rapala, J-11 Jointed Rapala, Junior Thunderstick or a Countdown Rapala.

With Northern Pike, the rig is similar to a trout rig but the line ratios are different. You need a 3-foot lead line from the 3-way swivel to the sinker. Then you need a 5 or 6-foot lead line to your lure.

Get a strait slow troll going and slowly let out line until your sinker hits the bottom. Then real up a foot and wait. You only want to troll just fast enough that your lure starts working. Any faster and it will be hard to get down to the bottom.

When you set the hook, you have to set the hook hard and start reeling in right away as your line is going directly to the sinker, not the fish, thus there is a little bit of slack line you have to compensate for.