When fishing emergent vegetation, your best bet is to fish the weed edges. You can fish over the top of the weeds and in the pockets, but you need to go with real heavy line. Some of the rice beds and lily pads that are found up north are perfect for fishing the pockets. You’re going to catch a lot of pike if you can fish the weed edges, especially the deeper weed edges that drop into 4 to 10 feet of water just off the emergent vegetation.
The reeds that have some deeper water can be very productive. It doesn’t have to be much depth either. Some of the shallow reeds will be in water just 1 to 3 feet deep, so this is definitely a shallow water presentation. You may catch some fish in these spots, but you’re going to have better success for better quality pike as you get into the 4 to 6 foot spots with reeds. If there is some deeper water nearby, that will also help. For example, if you pull up to an island and the reeds are in 2 to 6 feet of water and then there is a drop-off into 12 feet of water and then even deeper, this spot could be a great spot to find some quality fish. Pike will move up into the reeds to find an easy meal and then they will move back into deeper water to rest.
The lily pads can also hold some nice northern pike. The shallower lily pads will usually hold plenty of smaller pike. The key to finding better areas for pike around the lily pads is to find some areas with some depth. It doesn’t have to be super deep, but 4 to 6 feet of water on the outside of the lily pads is plenty enough to hold quality pike and good numbers of them. Any deeper edges will usually be even better.