Northern Pike – Spring Lure Selection

Northern Pike – Spring Lure Selection

Northern Pike – Spring Lure Selection

by April 24, 2013

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Northern pike are a great species to fish for in Southern Ontario. As an avid Bass angler I need to find other species to chase after during the closed bass season. Northern pike and musky are my choices.

Lure selection for northern pike varies depending on the time of the year and habitat.  Here are some general rules that I follow in the spring when the season first opens for me..

SpringPike-LureSelection - header

Match the Hatch

Use color patterns that mimic natural prey for pike in the lake you are fishing. This may be perch, bass, or smelt patterns. It pays off to do some light research on the body of water you plan to fish.

Downsize During the Spring

Pike are more likely to hit smaller baits during the spring. Smaller baits mimic small fish that my have hatched that year, or are in the areas pike like to hang out during the spring months.

Slow Down

Colder water generally make fish more lethargic and a slower bait is more likely to entice them into striking. Add long pauses and choose baits that will move slowly through the water and stay in their strike zone for maximum effectiveness.

My Top Spring Pike Casting Lures:

Rapala Husky Jerk

I like to use silver-black, perch, or gold-black for sunny days. The suspending qualities of this bait make it ideal for long pauses in water 8-10 feet deep. Beware of using leaders that change the buoyancy of this lure as steel leaders will cause suspending stick baits to sink nose first! Try suspending dots, heavy mono filament leader, or lighter leaders to minimize this side effect.

Rapala X-Rap

This is a great suspending bait as well. Rapala offers a lot of different colors for this bait that aren’t available with Husky Jerks. The X-Rap has a dressed treble as well that presents a slightly different offering. Its weight will allow for long casts and I recommend the XR-12 for size. I like to use clown, glass ghost, perch or yellow perch.

Rapala Original Floating Lure

This bait is great when fishing very shallow bays. You can crank it down to about 11.5 ft and let it float up. This bait is wonderful for catching those pike that are very shallow sunning themselves. I like to use pike, shiner or firetiger colors depending on conditions.

SpringPike-LureSelection - Rapala

(Photos: Rapala.com)

blue-fox-vibrax-double-spin-spinnerbait

(Photo: BlueFox.com)

Blue Fox Super Vibrax Double Spin Inline Spinner Bait

I like to use the #5 size. Usually I would recommend to slow your presentation down a lot, but I find that the huge double Colorado blades of these baits make them super slow. You can easily slow roll these in line spinner baits and create a lot of commotion in the water. The vibration that this bait gives off also makes it very noisy and it is sure to attract curious pike. I really like the Gold/Gold/Brown and Silver/Silver/Black colors. Depending on cloud cover I always keep one of these two colors tied on. This bait also comes with an optional siwash hook in the package. If you are fishing very weedy areas you can change out the treble hook to the siwash hook to increase its weedless properties.

Spring Pike Swimming Jigs:

Swimming jigs are one of my personal favorites any time of the year, although they are great for bass, they are deadly on northern pike as well! I usually use a 3/8 oz. jig in watermelon or black with a like colored skirt to mimic small bass. I use a craw chunk with swimming claws for action. The Gambler Lures Twin Tail in green pumpkin is a great choice for swimming action.

(Photos: Gambler-Lures.com, StrikeKing.com)

(Photos: Gambler-Lures.com, StrikeKing.com)

Swimming jigs are ideal for pike because you can add a stout leader and not have it affect the action too much. Depending on the pattern you can swim it in shallow bays over weeds slowly, pop it along the bottom, through the weeds or burn it through vegetation. Because of the violent strikes pike often deliver I use swimming jigs with heavy hooks such as Strike King’s Hack Attack heavy over swim jig  Last thing I want is for a 40′ northern to open my hook!

Alternatively you can use a bladed swim jig. The noise and vibration produced is often plenty to drive curious northerns into attacking your lure. Colors such as white or chartreuse with a paddle tail swim bait trailer work wonders!

Northern pike are great in the spring and this time of year is your best bet for a trophy. The big girls will be shallow in weed beds and back bays, so better get out there before the water warms up and they go back to deeper water where it’s comfortable.

See you out on the water in May!

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