northern pike fall

Trolling for Trophy Northern Pike in Fall


Northern Pike in Fall

North American waters contain four members of the genus esox ranging from the largest species: musky to it’s smallest two cousins: redfin and chain pickerel. Between these size extremes lies the most widely distributed member of the long and lean toothy critter clan: the northern pike!

Ranging from Alaska to Nebraska, to the Maritime provinces of eastern Canada, pike abound in a wide array of cool-water environments. Trophy pike fishing is often associated with fly-in fishing excursions to remote Canadian outposts, yet fish of surprising stature are also available in drive-to destinations if you know where to look and how to catch them.

In fall, cooling water temperatures entice big pike to return to mid-depth weed and rock areas, back within the traditional range of angling efforts. Steep-dropping portions of healthy green weedbeds, shoreline points, neck-down areas and off-shore humps attract both baitfish deserting the shallows and hungry pike on the prowl. As big pike gather along the outer edges of main lake structures, they are hungry for anything that swims within their range, be it ciscoes, suckers or large lures fished within their strike zone.


In this video, Jeremy Smith and Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson are fishing Lake of the Woods in Northwest Ontario. At that particular time in early September, they theorized that the pike had moved off the shallow flats and were starting to use rock extension like you would typically fish in the fall. (see screenshot below)

The water temperature was still fairly warm, so they were able to scoot along fairly quickly, covering water trolling with the big motor. The great thing about this time of year is that it’s so easy to visit a new body of water and find fish quickly with different trolling tactics. This tactic will also allow you to target the larger fish.

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