Ranking System for Best Destinations by Species of Fish
We use a different ranking system when we are listing the best destinations for each species of fish. While we do factor in the business services in the area, destinations can rank higher or lower for each species of fish depending on the potential for numbers of fish, trophy fish, fishing guides in the area, etc.
For example, we rank Eagle Lake a 9.5 as an overall fishing vacation destination, but when it comes to just northern pike fishing, it scores a perfect 10.0.
Lake of the Woods (MN & Canada) – Rating 10.0
Lake of the Woods is huge and the pike fishing is good throughout the lake. On the Minnesota side, there are good numbers and big fish are available. On the Canadian side, anglers usually report better fishing for northern pike compared to the Minnesota side. Whether you choose to fish Kenora, Morson, Sioux Narrows or Nestor Falls, you should be able to catch a lot of northern pike and there are plenty of big pike pushing 40 inches that can be caught. On the Canadian side, there are tons of islands and bays that anglers appreciate when the wind picks up. Many anglers choose to come to the Canadian side because the windy days can keep you off the lake when fishing the south shore of this lake on the Minnesota side.
Lac Seul (Canada) – Rating 10.0
This lake has so many islands, reefs, weedy bays, narrows and points that anglers have so many options for targeting northern pike. If you want to target pike here, finding the weedy bays is a good place to start, however, there aren’t as many weedy bays here as in many of the other good pike lakes in Canada. Fish the rocky shorelines, points and reefs you should be able to catch plenty of northern pike and fish up to and above 40 inches are definitely possible here.
Eagle Lake (Canada) – Rating 10.0
The northern pike fishing is very good on Eagle Lake. Anglers that target pike here around the weeds can expect 20 to 30 fish days being the norm. Pike in the 36 to 40 inch range are common on this lake if you know how to target them. Pike over 40 inches are caught throughout the year as well, so don’t be surprised if you run into a fish pushing the 45 inch range.
Red Lake, ON (Canada) – Rating 10.0
Red Lake, Ontario is located north of Lake of the Woods, Eagle Lake and Lac Seul. The most popular lakes to fish in this area are Red Lake and Gullrock Lake, but the Gullrock Chain of Lakes is made up of 5 lakes and they all offer good fishing to anglers. Northern pike can be caught in good numbers with some trophy-sized pike up to and above 40 inches available too.
Rainy Lake (MN & Canada) – Rating 10.0
Rainy Lake has some good northern pike fishing available. If you know how to target pike, you will should definitely be able to catch some on a trip to Rainy Lake. This lake also has a lot of big pike. There are other lakes in the state of Minnesota where you will catch more pike, but this lake gives you the chance to catch some good numbers of them with a chance to catch a trophy-sized pike. Most anglers report much better fishing for pike on the Canadian side with fish over 40 inches reported fairly regularly throughout the season.
Canada Fly-In Fishing Resorts – Rating 10.0
Most fly-in fishing resorts are so much better than the drive-to lakes. Because of the minimal fishing pressure, there is a good chance you will catch very good numbers of pike to go along with some big pike. Some lakes are known more for numbers, but most of the fly-in destinations will have a big fish pike lake for you to fish too.
Ely, MN – Rating 9.5
Northern Pike are common in many of the lakes in the Ely, Minnesota area and there are plenty of trophy-sized pike as well. Most of the anglers that fish in this area will usually target walleye and smallmouth bass, so pike definitely aren’t highly pressured in this area. On some of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area lakes, it is much easier to catch good numbers of pike in the spring and fall because these fish can usually be found much shallower than in the summer. In this area, it can be more difficult to find the deep water pike because you will most likely be fishing from a canoe or a boat with a smaller motor on it depending on the lake that you are fishing. Don’t be discouraged though because the pike fishing is outstanding on many of the Ely, Minnesota area lakes. Basswood Lake is probably the most well-known pike lake in this area and there are truly some trophy fish in this lake. Pike in the upper 30 inch range and even up to 40 inches are consistently caught in Basswood Lake.
Lake Vermilion (MN) – Rating 9.0
Lake Vermilion is known as a big pike lake and the most recent gill netting reports that as well. If you know how to fish for pike, you have a good shot at catching some big pike on Lake Vermilion. There aren’t huge numbers of pike in Lake Vermilion, but if you know how to target these fish, you should be able to catch them. Most anglers catch them on accident while fishing for walleye or muskie.
Alaska – Rating 9.0
Alaska is home to some of the most incredible northern pike fishing on the planet. The only thing keeping us from ranking this state a 10.0 is the accessibility factor and how much it costs to make some of these areas accessible to anglers. It’s not easy to get here and you’re most likely going to have to go with a guide here, however, if you’re looking to catch pike in the upper 40 inch range with some up to and over 50 inches, this is a good place to be.
Mille Lacs Lake – Rating 9.0
Mille Lacs Lake is home to some very good pike fishing for numbers and size. It’s a big lake and it is wide open, so you don’t want to be here when the wind picks up, but if the lake is calm enough to get out here, you can experience some very good northern pike fishing here.
Upper Red Lake – Rating 9.0
Upper Red Lake is a big, shallow, wide open lake and it is has some outstanding fishing available for northern pike. There are good numbers in this lake, but what gets most anglers excited about this lake is the size of the pike. This lake puts out a lot of big pike. If you can find them, you can catch fish in the upper 30s and into the 40 inch range as well.
Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York
Some of the best northern pike fishing destinations are up north. Canada is as good as it gets when it comes to northern pike fishing, but for those of you looking to stay in the country, take a look at some of the best pike fishing destinations in Minnesota, Michigan, New York & Wisconsin.
- Alexandria Lakes
- Brainerd Lakes
- Cass Lake
- Detroit Lakes
- Grand Rapids
- Lake Winnibigoshish
- Leech Lake
- Mille Lacs Lake
- Otter Tail Country
- Park Rapids
- Whitefish Area
- View All Minnesota’s Best Fishing Destinations
- Lake Mendota
- Door County
- Green Bay
- Big Cedar Lake
- Lake Delavan
- Lake Geneva
- Lake Pepin (MN & WI)
- View all Wisconsin’s Best Fishing Destinations
- Baseline Lake
- Bays de Noc
- Cadillac Area (Lake Mitchell & Cadillac)
- Fletcher Floodwaters
- Houghton Lake Area (Houghton & Higgins Lake)
- Huron Bay
- Keweenaw Peninsula (Portage Lake, Lac La Belle & Keweenaw Bay)
- Lake Charlevoix
- Lake Gogebic
- Lake Independence
- Lake St. Clair
- Long Lake
- Manistique Lakes
- Saginaw River
- Shiawassee River
- Vaughn Lake
- View all Michigan’s Best Fishing Destinations
Out West (Alaska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota)
There are actually some outstanding northern pike lakes out in the western states. We are putting together a list of these lakes and we will add them shortly.