Northern Pike – Seasonal Movements
Northern pike thrive in cool climates ranging from the upper United States, north throughout most of Canada. In warmer waters throughout the southern fringe of their range, fast growing pike tend to live fish and die young, seldom achieving more than a few pounds in weight. But in cooler northerly lakes and rivers, ferocious pike tend to live longer and achieve weights of twenty pounds or more!
In spring, pike commonly roam shallow bays and are routinely caught on lures like spoons, spinnerbaits, flies and minnow baits. During the heat of the summer however, pike, especially the big ones, tend to avoid the stress imparted by water temperatures above 70 degrees, vacating the extreme shallows if possible.
In Canadian waters, deep, cool mid-lake areas with abundant cisco and whitefish forage provide ideal summer pike habitat until water temperatures dip in the fall. At that point, pike commonly move shallow again, feeding along deep weeds at the mouths of shallow bays or along main-lake rock points.
Northern Pike remain quite active throughout the winter months, making them prime targets for ice fishing. Anglers typically suspend dead bait like suckers, smelt, ciscoes, herring or other large forage fish beneath tip-ups and wait for flag to pop, indicating a strike. Some of the largest fish of the year are caught at this time.