Northern Pike are a spring spawning fish and the anticipated high water levels are going to be great for early season pike anglers.
Almost immediately after the ice goes out, big pike swarm the back ends of the shallowest bays on the lake and for the most part they are going to be aggressive. The reason the high water is so good is that it floods a lot of old vegetation that pike love to get into to do their thing. When they are in this stuff not only are they easier to spot and sight fish, they are also more predictable in their location. Edges of old reeds or bulrushes and isolated clumps of emergent vegetation are high percentage places that big pike will patrol waiting for an easy meal.
White for Pike
When it comes to baits, soft plastic swimbaits or jerkbaits are great because they have a large enough profile to get the attention of big fish yet they are subtle in nature and totally weedless. I’m talking five, six and seven inch soft baits. Anything white in colour is good because they are easy to see and pike like white, everywhere!
Plenty of water in both Manitoba and Northwest Ontario offer chances at 20 pound plus pike so it’s a good idea to be prepared with the proper gear to handle big fish. I like to use a medium heavy flipping stick designed for bass fishing. The Shimano Crucial line has a great model that I have been using for this situation over the past few years. Match it was a good casting reel and some 30 pound Power Pro braided line and you’re all set.
A sleeper body of water to keep in mind for big pike (as well as bass and walleye) is Rainy Lake, located a couple of hours south of Kenora. You can launch in Fort Frances and head into the north arm of the lake to find some of the best pike fishing on the planet. Rainy is right up there with Lake of the Woods for me as one of my favourite bodies of water so if you get the desire to take a trip, check this place out!
When you get out on the water this spring, keep in mind, many of the fish that are spring spawners will be in those warmer, shallower bays for the first part of the season so that is where you want to be spending your time fishing. Beyond that, let the conditions tell you what to do and you will catch plenty of fish.