Ice Fishing Pike: Tips and Tricks

The Esox Lucius northern pike is a common predator in freshwater rivers and lakes where ice fishing is very popular. The pike, with its sharp, forward-facing teeth and sleek, olive-green body, is a nightmare for other fish, but it’s also the source of many dreams for anglers. They are a winter favorite and are a great test of your fishing skills when you use rod and reel.

You must chase these predators and have a good grasp on their hunting behavior to catch them. This means that you will know more about crappie, bluegill, and perch than you do about pike.

Tips and tricks for pike

  • Get bigWe love micro-lures in ice fishing. You have the chance to catch pike with large lures, as they are hungry predators that seek out large meals. We recommend that you look for tubes, spoons, and swimbaits with a length of at least 4 inches. This will reduce your chances of accidentally hooking a smaller species, and you’ll be more likely to catch aggressive adult pike.
  • Be aggressive recommend that you use a gentle touch when jigging. This is done by using tiny wrist movements to produce delicate action. For pike, however, it is often more effective to tear the lure out of its contents and let it fall. Pike don’t fear you and won’t be scared away. They can even be enticed to attack your lure by ferocious Jigging.
  • WaitWait! The pike will often grab the bait horizontally and move on to the next fish. You can increase your chances of success by giving the fish time to place the hook in its mouth.
  • A leader is a good choice like are a vision-oriented species that don’t mind straddling lines and don’t tend to be finicky. To prevent them from wreaking havoc on your gear, use a strong leader.
  • Aim high remember that pike can often be seen just below the ice. Remember to check the entire water column, particularly later in the season.
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Basics of Pike

The relationship between pike, vegetation, and their lives is complicated. Immature pike is both cannibalistic and aggressive, so dense weeds are necessary to keep them from being eaten by other species. Even though they are tiny, they will eat small fish and any other food that is available to them.

Once they are mature, however, the vegetation becomes a home for their prey. Pike, who are ambush predators, prefer to be near rocks and submerged trees. They love edges, including the borders of weed beds and drop-offs.

Pike are indiscriminate predators and will eat anything that they can. They will eat small mammals, birds, leeches, and fish of any kind. Pike, unlike other predators, lack a strong sense of smell. They rely instead on their vision and very sensitive lateral lines to detect vibrations within the water.

Their attraction can be used to your advantage by flashing and sounding to your advantage. Alternatively, you can rely on instinctive aggression to strike.

Pike under the Ice: Where and When to Find It

Finding their prey is the key to finding pike. This knowledge will allow you to make these predators easy targets.

Pike Feeding Behavior: Vision & Aggression

Pike are usually content to wait for their prey to come near, but they can become territorial. The larger the pike is, the more area it will claim. However, this doesn’t mean they stop moving. In fact, they cruise large areas searching for prey and then follow them. These predators cruise below the ice looking for prey, especially in winter.

Pike will follow perch and other prey species to their spawning grounds by spring. These seasonal variations are a result of the migrations perch, crappie, and shad.

Pike is a relative species with a weak sense of smell and keen sight. They also have a sensitive lateral line. They can sense flashing spoons, and the vortices caused by long-range erratic movements. They can be summoned by the sound of large spoons or aggressively jigging rattle baits from hundreds of yards away.

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Because pike is active night-hunters, however, they aren’t as active at night. They will instead turn on when other fish go to sleep, and they often feed at midday when the sun is shining brightest. For example, pike can be found actively biting in the afternoon before other species like crappie and perch get started.

The Edges of Pike Hunting

Pike will seek out food when the sun rises. This is important because pike will not eat if there isn’t food.

Prey items should be found where they are most concentrated, such as in dense vegetation, among living weeds, or around an island or hump.

They won’t be sat in the weeds by themselves, but don’t let that fool you. They will be watching for fish and they’ll be quite close to the edge. You can take advantage of this by finding the edge of weed or the limit to dense cover and drilling holes there. You will find pike waiting for you if your lures are placed just at the edge of this habitat.


Tip-ups, a traditional way to catch pike are very effective. A large shad tied to a stout line with a lot of bait can kill these predators, provided it is legal. Ideal bait species are those that exceed 5 inches in length. Pike don’t like to be fussy but they love a good bite!

A braided line is not recommended for tip-ups. It can cause skin irritation when fighting a large pike. We prefer monofilament of large diameter or fluorocarbon with three feet of tileable wiring as a leader. You don’t want your fish to cut line with aggressive teeth like the pike. We recommend no less than 20 pounds of the test. Some anglers prefer more because it makes it easier to use your hands.

Our Top Picks for Pike Lures

Tip-ups can be a great friend for ice anglers. However, if you fish in an area that does not allow live baits, they are pretty useless. To catch these giants, you will need to rely on your reel and rod, as well as strong gear such as the JawJacker Ice Rod.

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Rattlin’ Rapala

The Rattlin’ Rapala is small and looks almost like a baitfish. It has a rattling chamber that produces amazing noise and vibration. This lure can be used to call up the pike from another county in larger sizes, such as the 3 1/8-inch and 3/4-ounce models.

Flash Spoons

Dardevle Spoons

Dardevle spoons can be used to treat pike, especially in larger sizes such as 2 ounces (4 1/4 inches) We like to have several options. These lures are especially deadly when they flutter down. Pike will eat them.

Swimming lures

Rapala Jigging Rap

Rapala Jigging Rap 07 Fishing lure, 2.75-Inch, Perch

Experienced anglers will know that we highly recommend Rapala’s Jigging Rap. We prefer the longest size for pike (9 inches), which is approximately 3 1/2 inches in length. If it is properly trained, it can dart and hover, turn and flounder like a wounded shad.

Salmo Chubby Darter

Salmo 1 3/4 inch Chubby Darter Lure, SIL/RD/ORG Although the Chubby Darter lure is small, it’s as effective as our larger lures. Its size doesn’t deceive you. The Chubby Darter’s chunky shape and strong action mimic a distressed baitfish. This is a great addition to the Rapala, as it offers a completely different look and action.

Soft Baits for Jig Heads

This unusual choice can kill pike. This combination is one of the most deadly for pike. The 5 1/2-inch No products were found. The rigged on a 1/4-ounce Bait Rig’s Oddball Jig. The pike will rush to grab minnows from cover when they are fished right next to a weed bed.

Last Thoughts

It’s exciting to fish for pike, and hooking one can make your angling adventures unforgettable! A large pike caught on rod and reel in Finland is a sign of a true master.

We love to chase Pike in the hard water. Here are some tips and tricks that you can use, as well as studying their behavior and learning the patterns of their prey.

Leave us a comment to share your pike fishing adventures with us!

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Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.