Pike Fishing Tips
Northern pike are aggressive and toothy. Their diet is mainly other fish although they will not turn down the occasional rodent, amphibian, bird, snake or anything else they can get their jaws around. They are fun to catch but, like any species, they can be tough on any given day. Pike hang out in shallow water much of the year lying in ambush for anything edible that comes close enough to munch. That makes them good candidates for tubers and tooners. The one major consideration is that they need to be controlled as quickly as possible when you get them near your craft. Their long sharp teeth can do some damage to both the angler and his ride. More and more fly flingers are discovering that pike like big gaudy flies, especially during and just after the early spring spawning period. The fish are usually shallow and can often be seen and stalked. If you have a pontoon with high seating…or a standing platform…seeing them and casting for them is much easier.
Not many tubers and tooners deliberately fish for pike. Most of the ones they catch are caught on baits or lures meant for other species. Unless the pike is hooked in the outer parts of the mouth you are likely to be cut off before getting the fish to the net unless you are using wire leader. Most anglers who fish pike infested waters have their own personal stories about getting a strike, feeling a brief bit of weight and then reeling in a lureless line with curlycue ends.
Pike is one of the best fish to catch and especially during the spring season. Pike are known for their predatory habits and are therefore easy to catch using both imitation and dead or live fish baits. You should use heavy leaders such as 12-inch wire, 20 to 30-pound leader as these are ideal for you fishing experience. The secret in catching pike is in keeping your distance when fishing as this could mess up with your fishing experience. Remember pikes are highly predatory and can easily bite you but at the same time you must exercise patience as pikes are known to play with bait before it is taken.
Live baits are ideal and especially if you a beginner as they greatly help in catching the highly elusive pike fish. Live fish and minnows are suitable if you are after large fish but if you are targeting smaller fish, consider using worms as these works perfectly well. Large pikes will easily eat other smaller pikes and therefore you can use them as your bait.
Pikes can be lured using doctor spoons, daredevils or even William warblers as these works perfectly well in deeper and shallow waters covering larger areas within a very short time. Luring pikes require baits that trigger much action as this triggers a lot of strikes in return.
In addition, you should employ the right fishing equipments when trying to catch pike fish species. A long rod that is approximately 7ft with a heavy or medium action will do just fine. Make sure that the rod is strong enough to handle the weight of pike fish but also swift on the top part for precise casting.
Spoon lures, jigs, spinner baits and buck tails are also very effective when catching pike and especially if dead and live baits aren’t working for you. You should however choose the fishing spot carefully and especially where walleye are found or at the mouth of rivers and streams.
Utah Lake has had northern pike in it for decades. However, there have never been
enough of them to create any kind of recognized fishery. They have always been a rare
catch and have not figured prominently in the overall ecology.
Northerns are on the long list of species introduced to Utah Lake by DWR to see
how well they might do. That list also includes Chinook salmon. But the northerns
apparently fared better than the salmon. At least a few of them have showed up over the
years. No salmon were ever seen again.
One of the last northern pike from Utah Lake officially recorded by DWR was in
the 1980s. But not all anglers report their catches to DWR. Other pike may have been
quietly taken home to show off and/or to be eaten without fanfare.
Until about 2011 they seemed to have disappeared from the Utah Lake. However, in
2011 and 2012 there were suddenly multiple catches of northern pike…from several spots
around the lake. And the sizes have represented different age classes, suggesting that the
fish are reproducing.
Most knowledgeable folks believe that the current crop of northerns is more likely
the result of illegal dumpings of fish from other pike habitats rather than as the remnants
of a long-ago DWR planting. This is even more plausible given the coinciding increase of
northern pike in Yuba Reservoir to the south. It would be easy for someone with a live well
on their boat to transfer a few northerns north to Utah Lake.
Regardless of how and why these toothy predators are suddenly more abundant in
Utah Lake, they have DWR folks highly upset. First, they hate illegal transplants in
general. Second, the pike are apex predators that eat virtually all other species in their
habitat. In Utah Lake that includes the June Suckers…currently the subject of a great
restoration project and lots of federal money being spent on them.
So…in spite of northern pike being a great game fish…and a popular targeted
species in the waters in which they reside…they are not welcome in Utah Lake. At least by
DWR folks. Since most anglers love them they would probably enjoy a greater population
of the aggressive predators. But that does not matter to regulatory officials.
Northern pike in Utah Lake are now listed as a “mandatory keep and kill” species.
It is illegal to release any pike back into the lake.
If you want to do your part to help reduce the pike population you should gear up
with about the same lures, rods and reels you would for bass…and fish about the same
general types of habitat. Northern pike are also ambush predators that use structure to
hide them while they wait for smaller prey to come close enough to rush out and chomp.
Most of the northerns caught in recent years have been taken by anglers that were
fishing for other species…inside harbors, around structure or around sunken vegetation or
reed beds. There is not as much of that kind of cover available in low water years so it
becomes more difficult to find the fish.