Jump to content

Ice out northern pike


Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

ive come to learn that one of my local lakes which looks like not much worth fishing has quite the population of 24-36” northerns, so much so that the state trap nets some in the spring for their breeding program. Also, this lake has a kayak ramp and im getting one shortly.  So for my early season fishing I’m going to target the northerns here.

 

Anyone else target ice out, pre-spawn northerns and how do you do it?  I have the location on the lake, I’m thinking more about baits and methods.  I’d love to be able to cast big spinners or soft baits and avoid bait. 

 

thanks

rick

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ice out can be tricky - they may be spawning.  If they are, they won't eat much.

If they are post spawn, and the should be if the ice is gone, and hungry, you can toss just about anything in there and get an eat.

In no particular order, my top three pike/musky baits for gear are:
 

  1. #5 Mepps.  I like red/white and brown trout, though green black can be a great combo on a lot of out water here.
  2. Doctor Spoon - that time of year I'd tilt towards the 3 3/4" version, but the 4 1/2" will work too.  Just needs a heavier rod.
  3. Strike King Smokin' Rooster, Texas rigged over wire with a 1/4 oz. weight.  This'll be tough because Strike King stopped making them, I have to pour my own.

For flies...just about anything subsurface in the 6" - 8" range that moves some water, and has some flash.  Colors are whatever works in your water.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've caught them after ice out in the shallows over a dark soft bottom. Think 1-3 feet. Some say they're trying to get warm.  I've caught them on streamers, spoons and lures. No need to go expensive. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, 50° surface temps seem to be the trigger for increased Esox activity around here.  We once found a bay like @WyomingArtmentioned that was a couple degrees over 50° while the rest of the lake was in the low or mid 40s and caught bunches of pike for hours.

Nothing big, but we had a blast!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys. This lake is a big bowl, natural lake, that is mostly 6-8’ with one sliver that drips to 12. Where I’m told the pike congregate is a beach like area in 1-4’ of water so that ties up.

 

so it looks like I’m looking for the water to hit the mid 40’s before I start fishing in earnest. I’ll post pics when I catch them. 
 

thanks

rick

Link to post
Share on other sites

I never target pike in NW Indiana lakes I fish, but catch them not infrequently on black plastic trick worms, wacky rigged. When I do catch a keeper, I usually bring it home and make “poor man’s lobster”.  Except that one I put in the live well, and with one quick flick of its tail, it sailed 3 feet through the air, “Free Willy” style, and stuck a 10.0 dive back into the lake. He deserved to live. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I also like Mepps and Dardevle type spoons either casting or trolling. Usually the slower the better in cold water. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/24/2020 at 12:27 PM, WyomingArt said:

I've caught them after ice out in the shallows over a dark soft bottom. Think 1-3 feet. Some say they're trying to get warm.  I've caught them on streamers, spoons and lures. No need to go expensive. 

Dead sticking live, dead or even cut bait at that time and conditions can pay off well. Very early pike and Muskie will scavenge dead or dying bait fish. Often this occurs in wide shallow dark bottomed bays that in warmer time are thickly weeded. Now they are dark bottomed and warm first. Also flowing feeder stream mouth areas can be good target areas. Late season Ice fishing can be very good just laying dead bait on or just elevated off the bottom or tops of vestigial weed bed remnants (or new sparse emerging weed.

      Give it a shot some time, I've even done well fishing grocery dtore bought headless, cleaned smelt when I couldn't find any regular live bait available.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...