Shallow Water

Spring & Fall Are Best for Bigger Pike

Pike can almost always be found in the shallows.  Just after ice out, pike spawn in the shallow bays and anglers can target them in very shallow water.  This is the time of year where you can catch some of the biggest pike in some of the shallowest water. After water temperatures start to warm up, expect most of the bigger pike to go deeper. They may not be super deep, but instead of finding them in 3 to 6 feet of water, you may have to go into 6 to 12 feet of water.  It depends on the body of water, water clarity and a several other factors.  If you want to target pike in the shallows during the summer though, you still can.  Just don’t expect to find many big fish in the shallows during the summer. You’re going to catch a lot of smaller pike by targeting pike in the summer in the shallows.

Once fall rolls around though, cooler water temperatures will move bait fish back into the shallows and the pike will follow them in.  You can find a lot of good-sized pike with good numbers of pike in the shallows during the fall.  Once it gets cold from the end of fall through early winter, many pike would out into very deep water.  So, early spring and fall are the best times to target bigger pike in the shallows, but you can always find some action around shallow weeds in the 2 to 6 foot range from spring through fall.

Find the Weeds

The weeds will usually be what holds most pike in an area.  Early in the year after the pike spawn, you can usually still find plenty of pike in the shallows and as the weeds start to grow, you can usually find plenty of pike patrolling these areas.

Good Lures to Fish Shallow

Inline Spinners

Inline spinners are one of the best shallow water baits for northern pike.  Fish them around the weeds and you should catch plenty of fish.


Spinnerbaits are another great shallow water bait.  They work great around the weeds, especially for working in and around lily pads.

Topwater Lures

Pike won’t always come up and attack a bait on the surface, but at times, the topwater bite can be flat out awesome in the shallows.

Weightless Rigged Soft Plastics

A variety of soft plastic baits rigged weedless can be great when fished weightless in the shallows.  Work them along slowly or with an erratic jerkbait retrieve and you’ll catch plenty of shallow water pike.