Winter Pike Fishing
Updated: Jan 24
Pike can be caught throughout the year.
Pike are less active in the winter months as they spend time conserving their energy in cold water conditions, however, many avid Pike anglers target these fish from October to March outside the spawning season. If you are aiming to catch Pike it is often wise to do some recon, check out the water you intend to fish, this will give you an idea of the areas to target, you can check the depth of water to find deeper holes or structures which you may get snagged on, a simple way is with a weighted lure or spoon with the hooks removed to avoid snags. Also, a session of fishing for other species will give you an idea of which baitfish to use to entice the Pike.
In the Winter Pike can be found in the deeper holes as well as in the shallows around tree trunks, under moored boats and in dense weed-lines, much the same as the rest of the year.
Stealth is a must at the water's edge in order not to spook fish hiding in front of you. In Winter Pike can be quite lethargic and unwilling to chase a lure, so use Deadbaits such as Bluey and Mackerel, these are amongst the oiliest fish that produce the smell and high oil content which Pike can rarely resist. You can use oils and dyes as bait enhancers to increase the attraction given off by your baits.
You may consider yourself patient enough to persevere at one particular spot by the river or lake, but often moving about to other areas provides better results. Consider the weather, different weather conditions affect not only the Pike but also the baitfish they are feeding on. Dusk and Dawn are the most productive times for Pike fishing. Using the right rig is very important too, a wire trace is essential whether you are ledgering or floating a deadbait. There are a host of different Lures you can use to tempt your target fish all manufactured to imitate Pike prey in a range of sizes, soft curl tail eels, soft shads with varying types and sizes of swim tails, hard jointed lures, sinking lures, floating lures, Ducklings, Bats, the list goes on and on.
Choose a lure that best imitates the existing prey fish present in your chosen location and test different speeds when working your lures, sometimes in winter choosing a bright coloured lure can make a big difference to the outcome of your Pike session. Not every lure will catch a pike every session so make sure you have a good selection to choose from.
Despite the ferocious appearance of the Pike, it is a delicate fish and much less hardy for handling than a Carp for instance. Handle your Pike with care, if you can not unhook the pike while it is in your net use an unhooking mat, when removing the lure/hooks. Hold the pikes head upwards, the pike will naturally open its mouth making the location of the hooks easier. Pike expend a lot of energy in the fight against being caught, be sure to help your fish recover when returning it to the water, hold just in front of the tail with one hand and support at the belly with the other, your fish will let you know when it is ready to vanish again into the depths by firmly flicking its tail.
Treating your catch with care and respect helps to ensure the survival of the fish whatever the species, and who knows you may both meet at the water’s edge again one day.