Lake of the Woods Northern Pike Fishing

Northern Pike Northern Pike (Jackfish) are ferocious and share the top status as apex predators with Muskellunge in Lake of the Woods. They grow to great sizes in Lake of the Woods because fish adapt to their environment and generally the bigger the water system the bigger the Northern Pike will grow. The availability of trophy Northern Pike is due to the catch-&-release practices of most pike hunters that love these fish and want them to keep getting bigger. Many people think Northern Pike are similar to Musky and they are somewhat. They have no genetic relationship; rather they evolved in the same environment, which is why they look similar. A Northern Pike is genetically closer to a Walleye than a Musky.

Lake of the Woods is famous for gigantic Northern Pike and Harris Hill Resort is located in one of the top areas with guests catching a releasing trophy pike every day when they are targeting them. We are located on the south west side of the lake where wave action from prevailing winds produces more oxygen and surface food gets blown in attracting smaller feeder fish. That has given the Northern Pike a banquet to grow big and fat on.

Northern Pike grow much slower than Musky. A forty-inch Northern Pike would be almost twice the age of a forty-inch Musky. In warm-water lakes farther south, Northern Pike usually do not live long enough to reach great sizes. As you head into Canada, lakes become cooler and cleaner and never reach that critical warm temperature when pathogens dangerous to Northern Pike become concentrated in the pike's environment and put Northern Pike in danger. Lake of the Woods is over 200 feet deep in many areas with lots of deep cold water that moderates the temperature of the lake allowing Northern Pike to live long lives and to grow to great sizes.

Big lakes with the right structure, aquatic plants and water conditions produce big fish. Lakes with lots of food and the right type of food produce big fish. Lake of the Woods possesses all of these vital factors in its ability to produce giant trophy Northern Pike. Young Northern Pike have a high tolerance to water with low oxygen levels and high levels of nitrogen. As they get older they become less tolerant. Going into the backs of weed bays you can catch all kinds of smaller Northern Pike. If you want to target small pike you could often catch twenty in a day. Fishing farther out towards the edge of the weeds the Northern Pike will be bigger and catching twenty per day in the three to five pound range is not uncommon. These are the good eating sizes. The size limit in Zone 5 is none over 29.5", approx 7.5 lbs. Most pike hunters want a big trophy Northern Pike. You can catch them in backs of bays but you have a much greater chance concentrating on the rocky points leading into weedy bays. Giant Northern Pike also like to use patches of open-water Lily Pads and stands of Wild Rice as cover for their ambush strategies. Concentrating on rocky points and weedy areas is where you will get your trophy Northern.

There are many Northern Pike in the 35 to 40 inch range caught each week by our guests. If you are targeting pike religiously and you have experience with them, then your chances of catching a forty-inch Northern Pike or larger is very good. The bigger trophy Northern Pike like the weeds and cover but they have less tolerance to nitrogen and need more oxygen so concentrating on weedy areas that are not tucked away in small back bays will increase your chances. Each week on average we have a couple of guests catch & release trophy Northern Pike over 45 inches. Although the Ontario Master Angler Award size is only 30", Lake of the Woods is known for producing Northern Pike over fifty inches. You still have that chance of catching a bigger one in any of the 4 seasons as Northern fishing is open all year round, although Harris Hill Resort is now only a 3 season resort.

Northern Pike

Northern Pike Baits & Points to Ponder

Lures: Northern Pike are easy to catch. They hit anything from jigs to big lures to Musky plugs. Generally they go after baits that are flashy or acting erratically. The most popular lures are spinner baits, rattlebaits, Dardevles, Johnson Silver Minnow and Mepps Musky Killers. If you are working points leading into bays and there is not that many weeds then use any lure. If working weed cover try using weedless spoons. If you are fishing over a patch of Musky cabbage or in between patches of Lily Pads or Wild Rice try going to surface lures such as Spooks, Poppers, Spinner-Frogs and Jitterbugs. You can also cast floating lures such as Rapalas and Thundersticks. With floating lures, let them float up to the surface and give them a few quick jerks to make a splash and then reel in about five feet so the lure starts to dive and then let the lure float back to the surface again. This drives Northern Pike crazy because they think it is an injured fish and an easy meal.

Dardevles: Dardevles are by far the most popular Northern Pike fishing lure. On bright days use a silver-backed spoon and on dull days use a copper / brass-backed spoon. The two most popular colors are red-&-white and yellow five-of-diamonds, which is a yellow lure with five red diamonds on it. You can try any color. Sometimes the Northern Pike go crazy over chartreuse, green, dark green or brown, especially in areas with lots of frogs. The secret to Dardevles is to cast them up higher than normal and when they are about five feet above the surface of the water give your line a yank and make the lure slap the surface of the water. This will draw extra attention to your lure.

Jigs: When you are jigging for Walleye you need to jig very slowly and calmly or you will attract Northern Pike and lose your jig. With this in mind make sure you use a leader when fishing and try to find light jigs that have a big hook and feathers such as the old style Malibu jigs, then jig aggressively and radically to attract pike. Make sharp aggressive jigging actions and try to make your jig look like an injured fish.

Fly-fishing: Fly-fishing for northern pike is getting to be extremely popular. Let's say you find a shallow plateau, which is four to six feet deep over much of the area. You see patches of Lily Pads, Bulrushes, Wild Rice and thick strains of Musky Cabbage breaking the surface. Casting a lure can be annoying if you can only reel in a few feet before snagging weeds. When fly-fishing you can drop the fly in clear areas between the weeds, which is the prime spot for a big trophy Northern Pike. The most popular pike flies are said to be Barry Reynolds Pike Bunny, Rabbit Strip Pike Bunny, Mcmurderer, Mickey Finn Streamer and the English Pikefly.

Lake of the Woods is a top Northern Pike fishing destination that can provide you access to the best Northern Pike fishing anywhere in Canada. If you love Northern Pike fishing and are on a mission to catch a trophy fish, Harris Hill Resort is a perfect fishing base because our location is surrounded by fantastic Northern Pike habitat and guests can get right into some awesome fishing without having to travel far; as a matter of fact some nice 40-43" Northerns have been caught right in our Bay in front of the resort docks. Other fishermen travel to close-by Snake Island, Tommy's Rock or Elm Island - with others travelling further to fish by Gooseneck Island & around Bigsby Island.