Archive for the ‘Northern Pike Fishing’ Category

Pike Lures: Good Time to Go Big

Monday, October 5th, 2009

As the fall weather increasingly turns colder, its a good time to go bigger with your presentations while fishing Northerns. While some fish will be slowing down while the water temps drop, pike love this stuff, so go big on your baits. Specially minnow imitators like cranks and topwater stuff.

Nothing like seeing a big Jitterbug going over the the top of a weedbed, only to disappear in a surface explosion.  Although most folks think of topwater baits as an early morning or late afternoon into evening type bait, these cloudy days throw that philosophy out the door.  These windy, cloudy type days are perfect for hitting the surface with tops all day long over the right structure.

The only thing that could put a wrench into this fall thinking for attacking big pike is the full moon phase we are presently going through.  What can still give you hope is the amount of cloud cover at night.  Even through a full moon cycle when the moon allows for feeding all night long by the predators, lots of cloud cover means there will still be a fair amount of  daytime action for anglers.

Fall time is also a big cranking time of the year, pike are looking to fatten up for the winter months.  Big greasy golden shiners are a popular fare on their feeding agenda, so imitate their needs with big minnow baits.  In SE Michigan, golden shiners are on the table so find some golden metalics and start tossing. In the Upper, its chubs and suckers, so darker baits work well. Minnesota and Canada, go blues and silvers because they will be chasing ciscos to fatten up on.

Do not put  your jerkbaits away during this fall period either.  A crank here, a sharp whip action of the rod tip there, followed by a pause in the action can be a signal caller to bring in aggressive northerns from a long way off. Specially if your baits have rattles inside the lure body.  One of my favs are the big Pointer 120′s from Lucky Craft.  Expensive yes (DEFINITELY), but this series comes in the colors that the fish are looking for in any region of the pike range.  They suspend,  they have a wider body than a Rapala and they come with super sharp #2 or #4  treble hooks, guessing they are VMC’s. On some of my baits I have changed out the hooks for blood red Triple Grips from Mustad.  Just to change up the colors and to make the minnow type bait look injured.

Change up your speeds to see what type of action the pike want, and just get ready for some heavy fall time northern pike action.

Pike Lures: Search and Destroy

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

I love pike fishing, give me a toothy critter slashing at bait in clear water so I can see all the action first hand.  It gets your heart pumping to see the roll of a white belly or the turbulence on the lake’s surface.  Rearing back on the hook set and feeling the weight of the fish at the other end.  This is where I would insert the Tim Allen grunt from Tool Time, if I knew how to spell it.

As I get geared up for the annual trip to the Upper Peninsula, many of you are doing the same thing.  Its fall, or will be shortly depending on what the calendar says and big fish are chomping at the bit to put on the feed bag. Whether it be Canada, Michigan, Wisconsin or Minnesota some tactics hold true no matter where you go.

Search and Destroy is a method I like using a new lake, and also one of the most effective ways of not only learning a new lake quickly, but landing more fish as well.  On a new lake, you want to cover water fast, not spend the whole day trying here or trying there….wasted time that you just do not have a week long trip.

Best thing to do is get a map of the lake(s) you are fishing and study up before the trip.  Circle likely areas based on contours, likely weedbeds and drop offs.  Second best thing to do is have your boat equipped with a GPS map chip on your fish finder,  you can scan a lake quickly, but does not give you the chance to really study the lake.  You can also go in blind, and this is where search and destroy plays its biggest part.

My fav search lures are spinnerbaits, inline like the classic Mepps or hairpin style, which is just a beefed up bass bait on roids.  Have a variety of blades on the spinners like the colorado, indiana, french, muskie flute and willow.  Give the fish what they want, but for searching quickly on fast retrieves, stick with the willow bladed baits.  Less resistance, quicker to come back to the boat.

Now do not get hung up on sizes and names associated with these baits.  Just because it says muskie bait on the package does not mean it is just made for the Northerns larger cousin.  Pike do not care, if they can take down a muskrat, they will have no problem taking a 9 inch inline Harrasser spinnerbait running along the surface.  They are eating machines,  and will bite at things 2/3 rds their size without a second thought.

My favorite pike spinnerbaits are the following, and there are more out there to try.

Northland:  Magnum Reed-Runner’s, Bionic Bucktail Spinners and Spinnerbaits.

War Eagle Spinnerbaits: 3/4 oz

Windells Harrassers: Both pike and muskie sizes

Terminators:  with their titanium wire, 3/8ths of an ounce is not too small, and a good size to avoid tangles and snags in shallower edges and bays.  Also use the 1/2 oz and muskie sized baits too.

Mepps:  Been around for years; #5 french blade, muskie thrillers and killers, both sizes of the marabou baits as well.

Get a variety of colors to pitch and you cannot go wrong on your next mission into dissecting a lake for these fantastic fish.

Witch Tape and Willow Blades

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Sometimes you just have to try something when it seems like everyone is using a trick to catch walleyes, giving willow blades a shot isn’t any different.  Now its not entirely new to the scene, in fact willows have become popular over the past 6 years with the tournament anglers I know, but really have just hit their stride the last two years for anglers hitting the big waters on the weekend.

I am a do it yourself nut, and if I can take something and make it better than it was originally, and save a few bucks in the process, I am all over it.  I prefer the term frugal, but if you want to call me cheap, go for it. 

In the picture below I took some standard #4.5 silver willow blades.  The key is not to skimp on the metal, get your silvers, golds and coppers (when you can find them).  Skip the nickels and brass blades, the shine just isn’t there.  Now comes the fun part, creating your own designs with WTP’s Decorator Tape.  You can buy right online.

decorator_tape1

You get three sheets per package online for only $2.29.  Its plenty of tape get several blades finished in whatever patterns you want to try.  If something is working like on a crankbait, spoon or diver, and I can create the same scheme on a blade I will do it.

I took several colors available in Witch Tape’s “crushed” ice series and got to work last night on these designs.  In the top left of the pic, I made a “crushed ice” pink lemonade.  I used pink, flo. yellow and transparent stips and cut them to fit my willow blade.

Just using a pair of  standard scissors laying around the house,  I laid them out on the blade, and trimmed around the edges as I went.  First the pink, the flo. yellow and finally the transparent which allows the silver to shine through on the belly of the blade.

For the bottom left corner I took a green crushed tape and that same transparent tape and copied one of my favorite colors for walleye while ice fishing.  Actually have tried several spoons in open water while trolling with good success as well.  So why not create a similar pattern for my willow blades?  What works, simply just works.

Over in the top right corner, I have to have my yellow and orange combination.  Its a standard, when all else fails, these blades flat out produce fish.  Call it the red and white Daredeville of my walleye lures, old reliable.

On the bottom left corner of the pic are my cushed glow blades I have made up.  I love glow lures for walleye fishing.  Early…EARLY… in the morning or later in the evening hours, these blades produce.  They will catch fish during the day, but really shine early before the sun comes up fully, or as she is setting down in the west.

21

Do not limit  yourself to just the walleye world if you want to dress up some of your blades.  Look at your bass, pike and muskie spinnerbaits.  Enhance their colors to match up with their skirts or hair bodies.  Match the hatch!

MI DNR: New Pike Proposals

Friday, April 10th, 2009

This spring the DNR has two new proposals out dealing with pike and muskie populations.  This one deals with northerns, there is a PDF file with the whole draft, and an email address if  you want to comment.

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/PikePlan_270285_7.pdf

DNR-PikePlan@michigan.gov

Pike Fishing in the Spring

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Since the last two posts vanished into cyberspace, will change direction a bit and take a look at spring pike fishing.  Northerns like many fish who spawn early are on the prowl right after ice out.  And although they are seeking out food sources, their metabolism isn’t quite caught up with the weather just yet.

Spring northern fishing has two main rules to follow, think big and thing slow.  Even though northerns are a cold water fish species,  they are cold blooded.  So when the water temps are still chilled after ice out, these fish have yet to catch up to their normal aggressive manner. 

Its big crankbait time!  Even though my favorite bait for pike and their cousins the muskie are spinnerbaits,  northerns are looking for big meals, easy meals right now.  A large bass crankbait or smaller muskie version are good table fare.  Big Rapala’s, Grandma’s, Ernies and Bombers are all good choices this time of the year. 

Slow down that presentation, or at the very least alternate the speed of your retrieve.  Give the bait a slight wobble, just where it rocks back and forth.  Pause occasionally, if the bait floats let it rise slightly before beginning the retrieve again.  If it is neutrally balanced it will suspend or hang momentarily, then start cranking again.  Often this will trigger the fish into swiping at  the bait.

When the season opens be ready to target those shallow areas where other fish will be coming into spawn.  Mix it up in areas where the gills and crappie spawn, where you know the fish will be there lurking for an easy meal.  If not the shallows, look for weed edges or close by drops.  These are the areas where the pike will be lying in wait.

Weekend Fishing Report

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Lots of different option wait for Michigan’s winter anglers; bluegills, crappie, walleye and pike are hitting wherever you decide to head too.  Locally there are so many opportunities happening right now, Lake Erie to the east, Irish Hills to the west.  For those willing to travel a couple of hours, Saginaw Bay is popping right now.

Lake Erie from 18 to 20 ft of water in Brest Bay is producing well, with reports of a 10 lber caught on Saturday.  Lots of panfish being caught on Wamplers, Round, Sand and Devils Lakes.  Sag Bay is producing eyes in a variety of sizes in 14 to 18 fow.

Get out, go fishing folks.

Spearing Ice Season Extended

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Part of the ruling that came down along with the new three rod limit anywhere in the state, also included an immediate extension of Michigan’s winter spearing season.

Pike and Muskie spearing now will last from December 1st through March 15th. Check your local regulations in the DNR handbook as far as spearing muskie goes.

Time to go shopping: 3 rods approved

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Was checking the DNR website, and looked up the proposed 3 rods for use anywhere in Michigan. So, starting April 1st, this new regulation will go into effect. Bring on Spring! BUT, still hoping for a long winter on the ice. There have been some additional changes, and below I have posted the announcement taken from the DNR website. Only question now, is where do I put the extra rod holders on the boat!

New Fishing Regulations Expand Opportunities, Limit Smelt Harvest
Contact: Todd Grischke 517-373-1280
Agency: Natural Resources

Nov. 7, 2008
Michigan anglers will have several new opportunities, but also will face a new restriction, because of fishing regulation changes approved at the Nov. 6 Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing.

Department of Natural Resources Director Rebecca Humphries signed fisheries orders that extend the spearing season through the ice for pike and muskellunge in certain waters, extend the whitefish spearing season on the Great Lakes and connecting waters, allow all anglers to use three rods, and establish a two-gallon limit on smelt.

The spearing season for pike and muskie will now run from Dec. 1-March 15, instead of just January and February and the whitefish spearing season will now be open year-round. The new seasons are the result of legislation enabling the DNR to set spearing regulations. These regulations take immediate effect.

Anglers have been allowed to use three rods when fishing for salmon on the Great Lakes for a number of years, but were restricted to two rods elsewhere and when pursuing other species in the Great Lakes. A survey of anglers showed overwhelming public support for three rods. The new regulation, which takes effect April 1, 2009, allows anglers to use three rods on all waters and in pursuit of all species, though the DNR retains the authority to reduce the rule to two rods if necessary.

The two-gallon limit on smelt, which historically have been unregulated, is designed to prevent waste during periods of high abundance and offer some protection to smelt as an important forage and sport species. The limit applies to both dip-net and hook-and-line anglers. This new regulation also takes effect April 1, 2009.

Fall Toothy Critters

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Been talking so much lately about Perch,  it made me think of how we use them in the Upper for bait for Pike and Muskie.  Which for some reason made me think of minnow baits, which led me to the fall bite.  Don’t worry, I am still trying to follow my own logic sometimes.

Fall is when I really switch over my baits to the larger minnow type lures.  Large Rap Floaters, Shad Raps, Ernies and Lil’ Ernies, Grandma’s of all sizes, Believers….etc.  The waters are cooling off, and it seems like the slow n’ steady approach of a minnow lure catches more fish this time of the year.

Its feeding time for these big fish, time to put on the winter fat for what could be a long cold winter.  I know, I don’t believe that global warming garbage either.  All idicators point to a very cold winter, hopefully with lots of ice.  Can you tell I am thinking ice fishing already????

So these big ol’ fish are looking for easy meals, sometimes BIG easy meals.  With the colder temps at night, and even though these fish are cold water fish,  they don’t feel expending a whole lot of energy to get their meals.  Do not be hesitant about throwing some mid-sized muskie lures while fishing for pike.  Two years ago, one of my 37 inchers came on a 9 inch Suick (Jerkbait).

Jerkbaits, and even topwater baits are also good choices this time of the year. Love the XL Jitterbug for topwater baits.  Suicks and Cisco’s are good jerkbaits to use as well.

Locally you can head for Lake Hudson for some nice muskie, or now that all the jet ski or personal watercraft are off of Devil’s Lake (Manitou Beach) there are some pretty healthy northerns to be had over there as well!

Pike and Muskie Locations

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Well this is the first blog in a while, not sure how I picked up the flu last week,  but here goes.

When fall comes around the corner,  the big fish are starting to bite.  Looking for their winter stores of nutrition, the fish really turn on. When hitting a new lake, there are certain areas that an angler can key on that will more than likely hold fish.

Look for inlets and outlets in the lake.  Current attracts the bigger fish because of the cooling effect and oxygen levels.  Its also stirs things up, which brings in bait to feed, and drawing in the big fish.

Inlet

 

Look for points that either drop off or have small flats before the bottom plunges down.  Not sure if you can make out the difference in the water shades, but this point had a nice drop.

Point an drop

 

Also, be aware of any changes in the weather patterns.  A sudden front coming can make a big difference in the mood of the fish.

fronts

 

If you follow some simple indicators,  chances are you can find nice fish too.  Have no idea why this pic came out so small, but you get the idea.

muskie