Northern pike will move into deeper water during the summer and fall.  Quick drop-offs with some weed growth are usually the best spots to fish.  Points with deep water are also great places to target pike, especially if there are some deep weeds available.

The Thermocline Will Position Fish

Before the thermocline sets in, you may find pike anywhere from 12 to 35 feet deep.  Once the thermocline sets in during the summer, pike will usually be found just above the thermocline.  You may end up fishing 25 feet to 50 feet of water and find that all of the bigger fish on your fish finder are around 20 feet down.  There is a good chance that these fish are pike and the thermocline has set in about 20 feet down.  Steep ledges that drop off around the same depth as the thermocline will usually hold some big pike during the summer.

Gradual Drop-offs

A gradual drop-off usually isn’t as appealing as a steeper drop-off, however, the gradual drop-offs will usually hold more fish in the spring and fall, so you shouldn’t rule them out completely.

Steeper Drop-offs

A steeper drop-off that gets into deeper water is almost always better for pike fishing once the spawn is completely over and fish move out into their summer patterns.  Pike will be found on these drop-offs through the fall as well.  Find some water that drops into 20 to 30 feet of water close to shore or some underwater structure like a hump or reef and you have a spot worth fishing.


Ledges are completely different that steeper drop-offs.  These are literally a cliff.  Imaging casting a lure off the side of a building that is 20 feet high.  On some lakes, there are distinct ledges and these spots can hold a lot of fish.  Pike will move in to feed on the smaller bait fish.  When fishing the ledges, don’t just fish the bottom because fish will suspend up and down the ledge.  Use your electronics to help you find the best depth.

Fish the Edge of the Drop-off

Whether it is 5 to 8 feet of water or closer to 20 feet deep, a lot of fish will relate close to where the drop-off occurs.  Fish along the edge of that drop-off and you will get a lot more bites.

Fish Vertical

Fishing vertical is one of the easiest way to fish some of those deeper water drop-offs.  It makes it easier to get your bait right on the spot and keep it in the strike zone. In murky water, once water is 10 feet or more, fishing vertical can be very effective.  In clear water, you’re looking at depths closer to 16 feet or deeper when going vertical.  It all depends on the water clarity.

Troll Along the Drop-offs

Trolling is another great method for targeting pike along these deep water drop-offs.  Crankbaits are great, but other baits will work too.

[wpinsertshortcodead id="fmwgp5f8dadd05f585"]