Pike do relate to the bottom due to the fact that the bottom has cooler water and many of the fish they eat relate to the bottom. As water temperatures warm up in the summer time, fishing deeper water near the bottom is one of the better ways to target bigger pike. On rocky lakes and rivers, pike will usually relate to the bottom as well on deeper shorelines, around points and near reefs. The easiest way to fish for pike when they are near the bottom is with a jig and minnow. Some anglers do well with a jig and soft plastics. Crankbaits that dive down deep will also do well. These are some of the more popular ways to fish around the bottom and they will help you put more pike in the boat when the situation calls for it.
Casting for northern pike is one of the most efficient ways to target them. Grab a baitcaster or medium-heavy spinning rod, pick up your favorite northern pike lure and start casting all over around cover, points, weeds and any other areas that look good. You can usually do just fine by casting a variety of lures and bringing them in with a steady retrieve.
Dead sticking is a popular ice fishing technique for northern pike. It is kind of just like fishing for catfish. Anglers rig up cut herring, or full suckers or chubs and they just let the dead bait sit on the bottom. Pike will eat these baits and you can catch some big pike too. It seems weird fishing with dead bait for pike, but for some reason, it tends to be productive when water temperatures are cooler.
Drifting is a very popular method when jigging or for fishing with live bait for northern pike. When you have a decent breeze, drifting is a great way to cover a little bit of water while fishing slowly with live baits. Carolina rigs, jigheads and drop shot rigs are some of the more popular ways to fish for pike when drifting.
Drop shotting is a term used for fishing with a drop shot rig. The drop shot rig isn’t very popular among most northern pike anglers, although, this rig does work well to fish deeper water with live baits such as large shiner minnows, chubs and suckers. Some soft plastics will also work on a drop shot rig. Large grubs, minnow baits and big curly tail worms will work for pike, but live bait is more popular on a drop shot rig for pike fishing.
Flipping & Pitching
Flipping and pitching is not a very popular technique for pike fishing, but you can totally fish this way and be very successful if you want to fish with this technique. Pike love hanging around reeds and lily pads and these areas are great for flipping and pitching. It’s just like bass fishing except you want to make sure to use very heavy tackle. Some very big pike will be in these areas and it’s extremely difficult to get big pike out of the reeds. The lily pads aren’t as difficult, but you still need some heavy tackle. 40 to 50 pound line is standard for fishing this way and some anglers even go heavier.
Jigging is one of the best ways to target northern pike when they are deep and when they are around rocky structures. Whether you are jigging a lively minnow, soft plastics or a jigging spoon, all of these baits will work great for targeting pike while jigging.
Trolling for northern pike is one of the most popular ways to catch them once they go deep. Anglers troll a variety of lures, but crankbaits, spinner rigs and spoons are probably the most popular. Troll around offshore structures, deeper shorelines, points, islands and deep weed edges and you should be able to catch northern pike.