Northern pike can often be found on shallow weed beds through winter. Chad Schilling offers up a few tips when sight fishing for northern pike.
Sight Fishing for Northern Pike
There are several key shallow water spots that will hold northern pike during the winter months.
The first is shallow water weed beds. These shallow water weed beds are often home to bluegills, crappies, and other baitfish that northern pike feed on. Sand flats with patches of chara (a.k.a. sand grass) and main lake points are other good locations to target pike in winter.
Depending on the lake’s water clarity, try to fish in depths between four and ten feet of water. On most clearwater lakes, that range will allow you to see down to the bottom and any pike that is making its way towards your presentations.
Most states and provinces allow for multiple lines during the ice season, because of this it’s often a good idea to have two different types of presentations down at the same time.
One combination that I’ve had a lot of success with is jigging a 5-inch or 6-inch fluke style plastic on a jig head, and then deadsticking a rattle bait like the Rapala Rippin Rap. I will usually use a size 6, because it has a good profile and size for targeting pike or any walleye and bass you may run into as well.
Somedays the plastic will outproduce the deadstick and same days it’s the other way around. It all depends on the mood of the fish, but it definitely pays to have both options ready to go.
Sight fishing for northern pike is an awesome way to catch them throughout the winter and is also a great way to learn and study the behavior of the fish.