Pike Success on Lake of the Woods
Fishing for northern pike is an exciting time spent on the water. When a big, toothy pike attacks your lure, a surge of adrenaline shoots through your body. It feels as if your fishing outfit is going to be ripped out of your hands and landing a big pike will cause a grown man to act giddy. This is pike fishing at Lake of the Woods in Minnesota.
Lake of the Woods in Northern Minnesota is known as “The Walleye Capital of the World”. And for good reason. Lake of the Woods has exceptional walleye fishing throughout the year. What many anglers fail to know is just how good the fishing for Northern Pike can be.
Pike fishing on the ice is phenomenal, but anglers are missing out if they are not in the bays, on the Rainey River, the Northwest Angle and the main basin early in the spring after the ice is gone. The pike are beginning to stage for spawning and the chances of catching the pike of a lifetime are in your favor. This is not to say that you can’t catch a giant pike through the ice. Ice fishing for trophy pike on Lake of the Woods, especially the Rainy River is exceptional.
Lake of the Woods is working hard to be a place to go to catch a trophy pike. The truth is that they already are, but anglers often only think of LOW as a walleye fishery. To help maintain their trophy pike status, the lake has implemented a limit for pike at 3 fish with one fish being 40+ inches and pike 30-40 inches must be immediately released.
The Lake of the Woods website (lakeofthewoodsmn.com) has tons of information on lodges in the area, fishing regulations and other outdoor activities in the area.
So, you know the area is a big pike fishery but with so many lures on the market geared towards pike fishing, how do you know which one to use? At times, northern pike seem to bite at anything in its presence. Other times, they are very finicky eaters. For success, you must have the right lure for the right circumstance.
Bass fishermen have known from the beginning the potency of spinnerbaits, but pike fishermen is missing out if they are not fishing with spinners.
Spinnerbaits are easy to fish, provide a good visual attractant and offer plenty of vibration. All these combined make them one heck of a lure.
Northerns can be caught on bass size spinners, but like most fish, the bigger the lure the bigger the fish you are likely to catch. Because of this it is easier to find spinnerbaits customized for the northern pike.
Large willow leaf blades attract fish from a distance with their flashy movement. I prefer either silver or chartreuse colored blades with their flashy movement. I prefer either silver or chartreuse colored blades.
Yellow, white, and orange skirts either made out of buckskin or rubber work well. The main thing with skirts is that they are large enough to give the pike a good target to focus on.
I have had many pike lost because they short bite my spinnerbaits. For this reason, I always add a trailer hook which helps me land more fish that I would otherwise miss.
Pike anglers have always used spoons in the pursuit of catching big northern pike. I started catching pike many years ago on a red and white Daredevil spoon and still use one today with good success.
When looking to purchase a spoon, you might become overwhelmed with the choices you have. They are available in many shapes, sizes, and colors. I have found the best pike spoon to be between 4 and 6 inches in length and weigh 1 ½ ounces. This size will keep casting comfortably over a longer period of time, and the action works the best than other sizes.
Even though shape and size are important, the most important consideration you should have is its overall shape. The bend in the spoon is what gives it the attractive element that pike are looking for. The more of the bend in the spoon, the more wobble it has as well as more vibration.
Like I mentioned, the red and white spoon has produced fish for anglers for decades, but do not overlook silver or gold spoons either.
Muskies love jerkbaits, and so do northern pike. Jerkbaits are one of the best replicas of a wounded baitfish out there and this is what will intrigue a big pike to bite.
Finding a good jerkbait is not hard. The best choice is a long and thin lure in the six-to-eight-inch range. Finding one with a short to medium size lip and you are set.
When selecting a color choice try to go natural as well as bright colors to see what works best for the body of water you are fishing. I have had the best luck with silver, gold and chartreuse colored jerkbaits. One last thing I believe is a must with jerkbaits is that they make noise. Make sure the one you buy has a rattle. If it does not make noise, keep searching.
I would be amiss if I did not mention the Mepps #4 and #5 dressed Aglias bucktail. Many northern pike have been boated by my family and me with these lures. Either lure with a brown skirt with a gold/red-white blade is an amazing lure that I strongly recommend. The #4 weighs one-third of an ounce and the #5 weighs ½-ounce.
Fishing for pike at Lake of the Woods Minnesota is an experience every angler should experience. I cannot say just once, because once you get the excitement flowing through your blood you will likely be hooked for life. Having the right lure, just makes it that more enjoyable.