Learn About Northern Pike

Learn About Northern Pike


Northern Pike, also known as “Northerns”, are one of the most aggressive predators in the lake. They can eat up to four times its weight through out the year. Not only do they eat other fish, they have been known to eat frogs, birds and other small mammals.

They are very popular fish because they are always up to the challenge of hitting your lure or bait. Northern Pikes can exceed 20 pounds and can range up to 40+ inches. Anglers love fishing for Northerns because they aggressive and really make them work for their catch. Larger Northerns tend to stay in deeper water, which is why anglers like to search for them.

Smaller Northerns also like the challenge and anglers find them easier to catch in shallow water and weedy shorelines.

Northerns have light horizontal markings on a dark green surface. They have scales on the lower part of their cheek. There are about five pores on each side of the lower part of it’s jaw. It’s tail has rounded fins vs. pointed fins like its cousin the Musky. They have needle like teeth, so some anglers use puncture proof gloves to handle them.

These fish can move quickly, which contributes to attacking their prey. Because the Northern uses so much energy everytime they attack their prey, they don’t waste their time with smaller feed. They put all their efforts in larger feed.

They commonly eat perch, bass, sunfish, minnows, suckers, leeches, frogs, crayfish and other smaller Northerns.

The DNR is always working on the protection of fish habitat and maintaining a good balance of fish and lake environment in an effort to keep fish well for anglers.


During late March to early May Northerns spawn in small streams and flooded marches where the water temperatures are between 39 to 52 degrees. Females can lay up to 100,000 eggs. Some will stick to the vegetation for a couple of weeks before hatching.

Smaller Northern like to stay in shallow weedy water most of the year, because the water tends to be warmer. The larger Northern likes to move into deeper water during the summer months. They do this because staying in warmer water makes them sluggish and they tend to not eat much when the become sluggish.


Since Northern Pike are one of the most aggressive fish, anglers use medium to medium-heavy rods and reels with 10-14 pound test lines. Spinner baits, spoons, lures and live bait are common for fishing Northerns. Each angler has their own preference, which makes fishing for these aggressive fish successful.

Tips for Fishing

Since Northerns are aggressive strong fish, if fishing for smaller Northern it is recommended that you fish were there are drop-offs and where there are more weedy beds. If fishing for larger Northerns, it is recommended that you fish in deeper water as Northerns will fight more in deeper water once they have been hooked. This makes it a sport. Northerns can be caught from morning to night. Aggressive fish will definitely make you work for them. This type of fish is what really hooks someone into fishing – as once they hit your line and you reel them in, your adrenalin kicks in.

Anglers practice Catch N’ Release, however, trophy catch are saved as a reminder of their success.