Top tips for Catching Pickerel River Northern Pike!
There is nothing quite like hooking a large Northern and staring into the eye of one of our waterways top predators. We actively promote catch & release at Pine Grove, but LOVE to receive photos of you and your catch from the Pickerel River, no matter what the size. If Northern Pike are what thrills you...following these tips will help you reel in your own river monster.
There are many locations along the Pickerel River that are exceptional habitat for Northern Pike. Drop off's or a shelf are key spots when searching for underwater predators. Large pike tend to hang out in deeper water near the shallows where they can wait for prey fish to move in and out of the shallow parts before they strike.
Pike are often found near weed beds or areas with logs and or driftwood where they can camouflage themselves or hide in a darkened area before propelling themselves forward to engulf prey within striking distance.
When fishing for Northern Pike...the most logical place to start is to go where the fish are! As a predatory fish, pike are found where their prey fish are. Finding prey fish depends on temperature of the water & time of year, but you can be fairly certain they will be near the rockbass, sunfish and other tasty sportfish. When the water is warmer the prey fish spread out through shallower areas, which means the Pike can be hiding close. When the weather and water temperature cools in the fall, pike can be found in deeper water near shallows and this is where you need to find the location of the drop offs. Maps/depth finders are an asset here.
a: The Dardevle spoon also called the Red Devil by some, is an iconic item for the tackle box, and one of the most famous lures of all time! The wiggling wobbly action, combined with the colouring is hard for Northern Pike to resist.
b: Mepps Black Fury- The spinning blade and flash of colour makes this a very enticing lure for every type of fish, be it bait or sportfish.
c: The Pikie Minnow-This might be a vintage style lure, but it is one that has lasted through the ages. Few lures are as synonymous with big lunkers as this old standby. Northern Pike & Muskie simply cannot resist this gem. Lure was introduced in 1919, and still carries the iconic design. A battle scarred lure of this type is a prize possession in an anglers tackle box.
d: Buzzbait- This gurgling surface bait may have been designed for bass, but not many Northern Pike can resist the action of this lure.
Live bait are also a very popular way to lure this predator.
4. The Strike
Some speak of letting the bites develop as pike test your lure, while others are firmly in the camp of setting the hook firmly as soon as you get a bite. The challenge is that you do not want the pike to actively swallow your lure as it makes it far more difficult to remove treble hooks that have gone deeper than the pikes throat.
Fish gloves & long needle nose pliers, are essential for your angling kit. Northern Pike can have a slimy feel and you do not want them hurt if they are thrashing around. Minimal handling, and removing lures in the water make it less stressful for catch & release. Be mindful that pike have very sharp teeth and can easily cause damage to fingers. If taking a photo of your big catch it is best to hold them up, rather than string them up, and get them back in the water asap to fight another day.