Fishing For Toothy Critters, Like Northern Pike
Header Image Caption: Jeffrey Jurgens, Moose Lake Resort guest, caught this nice northern on Moose Lake.
Tom Neustrom, highlghts fishing for Northern Pike in Grand Rapids this week. Looking for a Fall Fishing Guide, check out the Visit Grand Rapids Lakes & Fishing Page. Tom is the owner of professional fishing guide service: MN Fishing Connections.
Toothy Critters like northern Pike have been a fish that seldom gets the respect it deserves. Sure there are anglers that pursue pike for reasons of pure catch ability and the ferocious strikes they can provide. Slimers, snakes, and other disrespectful adjectives have long been names that some will call them, but they are a fierce fighter and good table fare when cleaned properly. I’ll match a 4-8 pound pike with fighting ability to almost any other species of similar size.
Photo Caption: Renee Neustrom with a nice northern she caught in the greater Grand Rapids, MN area.
Lakes To Consider
One thing about northern pike is they are not shy about biting and have their own habits that are unmistakable. As with any species of game fish their sole pursuit in life is eating. Having said that, then why aren’t all pike 5-20 pounds you ask. As we have learned genetics play an important part in their existence. Some lakes just have big populations of stunted pike. Most pike lakes with a strong population of different sizes are deeper in nature and have food sources that can add weight to their bodies such as dwarf ciscoes, tullibees, smelt and other rich, fat producing forage. and they can grow up quickly. Lakes with just perch and bluegills for forage most often don’t produce decent size pike but can on occasion..
Some of the lakes in the Grand Rapids area that have strong populations and sizes are Big Splithand, Pokegama, Swan, Trout in Coleraine, Big Winnie, Moose, Wabana, and Big Ball Club. Each one of the mentioned lakes have good populations of different size structures of pike and have the makeup to provide good opportunities for anglers. Many times throughout the season when fishing other species of fish I will hook up with Mr. Pike. Most often when walleye fishing with live bait or trolling crankbaits they show up to tangle. They will give you everything they have from a brief struggle to long powerful runs. Cabbage weed beds, rock beds, and areas where bluegills hand out are great places to look for pike. Read more about Northern Pike Lake Zones.
Photo Caption: Doug Petrousek, Moose Lake Resort Guest, casting at sunrise on Moose Lake.
Bait Systems For Catching Northern Pike
Northern Pike are extremely attracted to flash and colorful style baits, ones that have rattles, extreme tail movement like swim baits, jointed baits, top water, spinner baits and in line spinners. Live bait choices usually will be any minnow types but especially sucker minnows and shiners. It’s their preference but they will attract to anything that replicates something that’s alive. In the winter poke, especially large ones, will chase and grab dead baits equally. But that’s a subject for another time. Thin wire leaders are a great idea especially when trolling or casting lures. Pike are notorious for striking sideways or behind which without a leader may cost you a lure or at least a fish.
Stout tackle is recommended with stiffer than normal spinning or casting with 10-20 pound line. Braided line has made a huge difference with line diameter and strength for its weight. 20 pound Sufix 832 has the diameter of 10 pound mono. Easy to cast and won’t get bit off even by the biggest “Toothy Critter”. St. Croix makes a dozen rods that fit perfectly and Daiwa has reels with smooth as silk drags for long run bruisers.
Cleaning Northern Pike
Cleaning pike efficiently is a credit to the eating fare of pike. Learning how to take the “Y” bone out is critical to enjoying the firm white meat of pike. If you hang around a fish house near a resort or public landing watch a guide clean one and you will learn the best ways. Besides frying blackened or grilling another way to enjoy pike are pickling. There isn’t a better species of fish for pickled fish I am aware of.
Northern Pike are a great battler and will provide great action on slow days for other species. Also a great way to attract young people to fishing with a fish that’s easy to catch and will definitely bend the rod.
Watch Itasca Community Television on how to Debone a Northern Pike below.
Book Your Fall Fishing Trip Now
If you are looking for a memorable fishing trip book your Fall Fishing Trip in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. With over 1, 400 area lakes there is lots of lakes to choose from and catch fish! There are several Grand Rapids, Minnesota Fishing Resorts that still have openings, but you need to book early. Because fall is such a short season (fall season is early up north from beginning of September to middle of October) you will want to call and book your lodging early to ensure you get the dates you want, and the property on the lake you want! Review Grand Rapids, MN Lodging Options.