Northern Pike are found in many rivers.  Deep, slow rivers are more adequate for northern pike, but pike can also be found in many rivers and streams that have more current.  The slower moving rivers will usually have better numbers of pike than the faster-moving rivers.  When searching for northern pike in rivers, current breaks are very important.  Backwater areas, inlet and large pools of water with little current will hold greater numbers of pike, while a current break from a big boulder or bridge may hold an occasional pike from time to time.

Depending on the size of the river, there is a good chance that the productive spots you find will produce throughout the year.  If a river comes out of or goes into a lake, the peak times for the river will typically be early spring after ice out and fall.  During the summers, pike may end up moving into the nearby lakes.  It all depends on where you are fishing.  There are so many different types of rivers with its own variables that will affect when, where and how to target northern pike.

Fishing Tips

Fish the Current Breaks and You Will Find Pike

Most pike that are found in rivers will be found out of the main current.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t catch some pike in current, but you are going to consistently find more of them by staying out of the major current.  Current break can form many different ways. Look at the sides of the river and search for big boulders throughout the river.  These areas will be the most typical current breaks that you will find in most rivers.

Fish the Main River Channel for Big, Deep Water Pike

The river channels that have a slow to moderate current can be home to some of the biggest pike in the river system.  Many anglers catch these fish on accident while targeting walleye. Give these fish a try and you’ll catch bigger fish on average.  You may get less bites overall, but the size of the fish will make up for it.

Fish the Dams & Spillways to Find Pike

Dams and spillways can always be good places to find pike.  Sometimes, you’ll find fish in the current, but most of the time, pike are going to be found around the current breaks. Look for some slack water on the side of the dam or find some big boulders on the bottom. These current breaks can hold some quality pike depending on the river.

Fish the Backwaters, Creeks or Bays to Get Out of the Main River Current for Pike

Pike will usually be found in the areas of the river with less current.  The backwaters, creeks or bays on the rivers can provide some very good pike fishing.  Once you get out of the current, fish these spots like you would fish a shallow water lake.