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NORTHERN PIKE FISHING TIPS
Main Northern Pike Fishing Page

Upon your arrival, your host, Richard, will spend time reviewing a map of Sandybeach Lake to show you where to go on the lake for northern pike fishing. Richard will mark the "hot spots", explain the depth of water to fish, and explain which lures and colors are currently the most productive. Even in Canada, you can not fish just anywhere. You need to be northern pike fishing in the right spots, because 80% to 90% of any lake does not support the fish population.

NORTHERN PIKE FISHING TIPS - Spring

Northern pike fishing in the spring can be phenomenal, especially when there are no spring weather fronts. We get spring thunderstorms just like you do. One of the first three weeks will generally be one of the best weeks for numbers of Master Angler and Trophy Fish for our entire season. Check-out our list of trophy fish and you will understand why northern pike fishing is the main attraction at our Ontario fishing lodge. This is Ontario pike fishing at its best. The ice comes off Sandybeach Lake around May 7th and we start northern pike fishing at our Ontario fishing lodge the third Saturday in May. The large mature northern pike will spawn under the ice on Sandybeach Lake. There is no northern pike fishing during the main spawn at our Ontario fishing lodge.

From ice-out until mid-June, red fin and white suckers will spawn in the current of five creeks flowing into Sandybeach Lake and at the river flowing out of the lake. Northern pike fishing is best in these areas, as the big pike feed on the suckers. The northern pike fishing will take place in less than three feet of water most of the time. Our anglers need to use the right lures for northern pike fishing in this shallow water. The anglers fly-fishing for northern pike have the most success in this shallow water. Bunny leeches and rabbit strip flies from 3" to 6" are favorite flies for fly-fishing northern pike. Black colored flies seem to be the most productive, but other colors work better at times. Some of our fly-fishermen will wade the shallow water at the creek inlets, and find they catch more northern pike the more they kick-up the muddy bottoms. The water at these creek inlets is already muddy and stained and not clear, like the rest of Sandybeach Lake.

The conventional anglers need lures that will not hang-up on the bottom. Mepps in-line spinner baits, Johnson Silver Minnow weedless spoons, floating Rapalas and other floating stick baits, and Texas-rigged soft plastics like 3" to 5" flukes or grubs do well in the early spring for northern pike fishing. Floating stick baits, like the Original Floating Rapala #18, can be cast into the shallow water at the creek inlets. These stick baits will float and can then be twitched to dive a foot or less below the surface and not get hung-up on the bottom. The Texas-rigged soft plastics work exceptionally well at this time of year. The water temperatures are cold and spring weather fronts can make the northern pike sluggish, so a slow presentation can be one of the most productive for northern pike fishing. The Texas-rig to a jig or a worm hook makes the soft plastic weedless in the shallow creek inlets. If you are unfamiliar with the Texas-rig; your host, Richard, will be glad to show you how to rig a 1/4 to 1/2 ounce lead-headed jig or worm hook. Flukes, like a Bass Assassin or Zoom Salty Super Fluke, imitate the look and action of leeches, smelt and minnows and have been a favorite for years on our lake. Be sure to pack some in your tackle box for northern pike fishing and smallmouth bass fishing.

Northern pike fishing at these creek inlets has always been the most productive in the spring, but some anglers will fish the wind blown rocky points. Our wind is normally out of the south or southwest; therefore, the points on the north or northeast part of the lake receive the warm water from wave action first in the spring. Our spring fishermen tend to fish the north end of the lake for this reason.

The color of lures that work best in the spring for northern pike fishing are fire tiger, fluorescent orange, chartreuse, blue, white, silver, gold, and many colors of soft plastic. In the months of May and June, the smelt in Sandybeach Lake will feed close to the surface. Northern pike will strike at anything white or silver during this smelt feed, so include lures in these colors. Some smelt will be found floating on the surface and pike are feeding on these dead or dying smelt, so bring a few top water lures with white or silver bottoms.

Read more on Fly Fishing

NORTHERN PIKE FISHING TIPS - Summer

In mid-June, the sucker spawn is over and the pondweed (cabbage weed, moose weed, etc) is growing. Northern pike fishing transitions from the shallow bays around the creeks to the pondweed growing in 6' to 15' of water. This submerged weed growth will be the structure for northern pike fishing until the pike go deep at the end of September. Fishermen need to ignore the pencil grass and bullrush growing along the shoreline at this time of the year.

Richard will mark-up your lake map to identify the major weedbeds for northern pike fishing. The angler can go to the identified weedbeds, position his boat in 10 feet of water, and cast toward shore to cover the 6 foot edge of the weedbed and toward the middle of the lake to cover the 15 foot edge of the weedbed. If the weedbed is narrow due to a sharp dropoff, the angler can hold the boat in 15 feet of water and cast to the 6 foot edge of the weeds. The angler can decide the depth of water to position the boat by watching the Humminbird 596c HD DI fish finder with down imaging and when 15 feet is reached; the angler looks at how far from shore the boat is positioned. If you can cast to the shoreline or to what you think is 6 feet of water, hold the boat at 15 feet and begin fishing toward the shoreline. If you get to 15 feet and it is a couple of casting lengths or more from the shoreline, move the boat to 10 feet of water and cast into and away from the shoreline. All kinds of lures and colors can work in the summer for northern pike fishing.

Give Richard a phone call 7 to 10 days before your trip to find out what lures are working the best. Northern pike fishing lures are shown at the bottom of this section. This time-frame will be the most active northern pike fishing, because the weedbeds hold forage bait and the crayfish will be molting. The molting crayfish are orange in color; therefore, you want an abundance of orange colored lures in your tackle box. Choose the summer if you want the most action for northern pike fishing at our Ontario fishing lodge.

The two biggest mistakes in fishing for northern pike at our Ontario fishing lodge during the summer are "fishing too shallow" and "fishing too slowly." I know an angler is casting to extemely shallow water at the shoreline, when they report only catching small pike while northern pike fishing. I ask "what depth water have you been fishing"? I know the angler is northern pike fishing shallow (less than 6 feet) because the little pike are shallow, hiding from the big pike. Fishermen from the South are accustomed to casting the shoreline, when fishing their local lakes.

We will have anglers that fished shallow during a spring trip and think it will work during their summer trip as well. In the summer, the angler needs to fish the submerged weedbeds in 6-15 feet of water to be fishing the correct structure. Forget about the pencil grass and bullrush growing above the surface of the water in the summer, because it grows in very shallow water. Anglers are reminded of my advice to position the boat in 10 feet of water over the pondweeds and cast toward the shore to fish the 6 foot edge of the weedbed and cast toward the middle of the lake to fish the 15 foot edge of the weedbed in northern pike fishing. At our Ontario fishing lodge, you should not be northern pike fishing in shallow water in the summer.

Northern pike fishing "too slowly" can occur two ways at our Ontario fishing lodge. Anglers can be fishing too slowly, if they do not move their boat enough. For the angler that throws out an anchor, I can assure you the northern pike are not swimming around the lake looking for your boat. The more water you fish, the more northern pike you will catch. Big pike are aggressive; therefore, they do not congregate in large numbers. You need to move the boat to locate big pike. The angler can let the wind drift their boat across the weedbeds, use the trolling motor, or use the outboard motor to keep moving.

If you think the outboard motor will make too much noise and spook the northern pike, you are wrong; and YES, your dad was wrong when he told you to be quiet in the boat! Noise can excite pike and improve your northern pike fishing. Noise is your friend in Canadian northern pike fishing.

Have you ever been adrift in a bay catching nothing and another boat motors into the bay and you start catching fish? The noise of the other anglers' boat excited the pike. Do not be afraid to start the outboard, rev the engine, and turn it off when the northern pike fishing slows down.

An angler can be northern pike fishing "too slowly" by retrieving a lure too slowly at our Ontario fishing lodge. A northern pike has a burst of speed up to 30 MPH, so you do not need to worry about retrieving too fast when northern pike fishing. Some lures will not produce enough flash to attract a northern pike if retrieved too slowly.

As an example, a Johnson Silver Minnow spoon can be retrieved too slowly to wobble and flash. If your Silver Minnow does not wobble from side to side, you need to speed up your retrieve to increase your success at northern pike fishing. The exception to a fast retrieve is after a weather front moves through.

After a weather front, the northern pike are sitting on the bottom and a slow presentation with a jig and soft plastic are effective. Under most circumstances, speeding up your retrieve will help your northern pike fishing in the summer at our Ontario fishing lodge. Anglers that can not speed up their retrieve may find trolling versus casting as a better option for improving their northern pike fishing experience.

NORTHERN PIKE FISHING TIPS - Late Summer & Fall

This is the time frame for trophy pike fishing. In mid-August, numbers of trophy size large northern pike move from the cold very deep water in Sandybeach Lake to the pondweed growing in 6 feet to 15 feet of water. These big pike are aggressive as they feed prior to going very deep again for the winter.

The big aggressive northern pike will chase the smallmouth bass and smaller northern pike out to the very deep water. We advise anglers not to book at this time if you want smallmouth bass and quantity of northern pike. Between mid-August and mid-September, the largest northern pike of the year is normally caught. Choose this time of year if you want to catch big northern pike, and you are okay with catching fewer northern pike.

If your goal is catching trophy pike in the 40" plus range, we would advise choosing this time. The opportunity to catch northern pike this big, is why northern pike fishing is the main attraction at our Ontario fishing lodge. Mepps makes a 3/4 ounce #5 dressed Aglia with a blue blade and a purple dressed skirt, just for our Ontario fishing lodge. This is the #1 lure for monster northern pike fishing during this period. Musky lures from 6" to 9" or other large profile lures can be good lures for trophy northern fishing, if you like casting big lures.

Fishing for trophy northern pike in the late summer/fall time frame is in the same locations on the lake as the summer fishing. The submerged weedbeds on the north and south end of the lake may account for 80% of the big northern pike. This is due to the prevailing south or southwest winds and the north winds at this time of year. The bay right in front of our dock will be one of the hottest spots on the lake. It is not unusual to see four or five of our boats drifting the big bay to fish the numerous weedbeds scattered throughout the bay. Call 7 to 10 days before your trip and find out if a particular lure or color is working the best.

NORTHERN PIKE FISHING TACKLE

I am often asked, "What rod and reel should I bring to your Ontario fishing lodge to go northern pike fishing?" I recommend you bring what you are comfortable in casting. If you only use a Zebco 33, you do not want to bring a bait-casting reel and fight backlashes your entire northern pike fishing trip.

We have guests fish northern pike with 6 pound line and ultra light rod and reel, but I would recommend 12 to 20 pound test line. I also recommend a 30 pound 12" steel leader. I do not think northern pike look at whether the color of the leader is black or chrome when attacking a lure at 30 miles per hour. We recommend Grandt Rods for a great custom rod made in the U.S.A. with an Unconditional Lifetime Warranty. If you mention Pine Cliff Lodge, you will receive a 20% discount from all online pricing.

Visit Grandt Rods, Inc.

All American Pro Series (mid modulus rods)

  • C08 - 6'6" Medium Heavy Bait Casting
  • 008 - 6'6" Medium Heavy Spinning
  • C11 - 7'0" Heavy Bait Casting
  • XLH70 Series (high modulus rods)
  • XC166MH - 6'6" Medium Heavy Bait Casting
  • XS166MH - 6'6" Medium Heavy Spinning
  • LURES FOR NORTHERN PIKE FISHING

  • Mepps #5 Dressed Aglia any color
  • Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon oz gold, silver
  • Mepps #2 Syclops Spoon any color
  • Dardevle Spoons to 1 oz any color
  • Doctor Spoon #275 gold
  • Rapala Original Floating - #11 and #18 any color
  • Rapala X-Rap - #10 any color
  • Soft Plastic Flukes 3" to 5" any color (example)
  • Soft Plastic Grubs 2" to 5" any color

    Our Ontario fishing lodge carries $8,000 in tackle inventory to support your northern pike fishing trip.

  • NORTHERN PIKE FISHING LIMITS/SEASON

    Season: Open all year
    Limit: 4 in your possession
    Size Restrictions: All Northern Pike 27" or over are catch and release only.

    Click for Dryden, Ontario Forecast

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