Tips for Catching Northern Pike in the Early Fall

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Are you looking to get some fall fishing in this weekend? Do you want to experience the thrill of catching a fish that will put up one heck of a fight? If so, you may want to consider setting your sights on a Northern Pike. Northern Pike are cold water loving predators with razor sharp teeth and a penchant for devouring vertebrates and invertebrates. If you want to catch one, I have found that the early fall is one of the best times to get out onto the water and give it a go. With that said, here's a quick rundown on a few of my fall pike fishing tips:

Bait and Tackle Suggestions

Before you head out onto the water, you'll want to make sure that you have the right bait and tackle for the job. Based on my experience, a 7 inch heavy action rod with a baitcast reel (7.0:1 gear ratio), an 18 inch wire leader and a 50 pound test, no-stretch braid line tends to hold up to the rigors of Northern Pike fishing the best. I'd also suggest that you consider selecting lure colors that mimic the fall foliage as well as the Northern Pike's normal prey choices. Lures that have proven successful for me in the past include Daredevils, bucktails, buzzbaits and minnow imitating crankbaits.

Weather Related Issues

Once you've made your bait and tackle selections, I'd recommend that you take a good look at the weather forecast. I have found that Northern Pike are known to feed the most when water temperatures are between 59 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. As such, you may want to bring a temperature gauge with you. That way, you can seek out the cooler sections of the lake. I have also found that Northern Pike tend to prefer calm water and shun strong UV rays. Hence, when those weather conditions exist, the pike are likely to seek the shelter of deeper, shady waters.

Suggestions on Where to Look

Last but not least, you'll need to know where to wet your line. I have found that the best way to find Northern Pike in the fall is to think about the species' biology and behavior. Northern Pike, especially those under 2 years of age, are tolerant of low dissolved oxygen conditions. Some have even been known to survive in water with dissolved oxygen levels as low as 0.1 mg/l for a limited amount of time. Older, beefier Northern Pike are typically not as tolerant. Thus, once a lake's vegetation areas start to die off, the bigger Northern Pike tend to head towards deep water drop offs that provide sufficient oxygen, cool temperatures and ample opportunities to ambush walleye. In my experience, even though the big pike go deeper, they are still likely to remain above the thermocline. The smaller Northern Pike, on the other hand, may opt to remain in the shallows around dying, submerged and emergent vegetation just a bit longer than their bigger brethren.

Killeen Gonzalez enjoys fishing with her family. She has also traveled extensively.

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