Pike aggressive in fall months

For an angler, the best thing about living in Sunset Country is all the great multi-species fishing opportunities that exist across our region.
It’s no secret that throughout much of the open water season, I have a lot of fun chasing bass around, but I also spend plenty of time fishing for other species, too.
For anglers who are looking for some fast action and a tough fight, there is no better species to chase right now than pike.
A cool-water species, the activity level of these fish has increased recently as the water has started to cool from the warmer summer months.
Not only are pike looking to feed up before winter, a lot more baitfish like smelt, shiners, and cisco are moving into shallower water and into the depth range of pike—putting them in the mood to eat.
The previous weekend at the bass tournament Mike Reid and I fished in Sioux Narrows, we started out fishing a section of Whitefish Bay.
We fished some shorelines and points leading out of some shallow bays, looking for smallmouth bass. Although we never really got on the bass all that great that morning, I was catching big pike faster than I have ever seen in my life.
I had about $75 worth of Rapala X-Raps bitten off because I wasn’t using a leader and landed another 15 or so fish. Over the course of two or three hours, I alone had more than 25 pike hooked up.
Mike was using a more subtle presentation and did not have as many encounters as I did. Had I been a guide trip that day, it would have been one of the best ever!
As far as location goes this time of year, pike are moving out of the shallow, weedy bays where they spend much of the spring and summer and are set up on rock reefs, points, and shorelines on the way out of those bays.
It’s all about experimenting each day to figure out where most of the action is. Sometimes it will be on the windy points and shorelines; other times it may be on deeper reefs.
Knowing that the pike bite was pretty hot, I hosted my friend, Jeremy Smith, of Lindner’s Angling Edge TV show from Brainerd, Mn., a couple weeks ago to target pike on Lake of the Woods. We launched in Kenora and ran down the central section of the lake.
We filmed a segment for their TV program trolling for pike in shallow water. We focused on rock reefs and channels, and trolled with #14 Rapala X-Raps and Flat Raps.
If local anglers catch the show this winter, they’ll likely recognize some of the buoys and channel markers in the background of where we were fishing.
The pike fishing was excellent and we caught a bunch of nice fish in the 32- to 38-inch range.
If you find that fish are in slightly deeper water or want to try jigging some humps, try a three-quarter ounce jig tipped with a large white plastic that will imitate a minnow that pike are targeting this time of year.
I like a life-like Northland Mimic Minnow Jig. Another fun bait option is using a large swimbait like the Storm Wildeye Minnow.
This nice weather just keeps hanging on for us and it looks like next week is going to be pretty good, as well, so get out there for a couple more trips in the boat.
After all, it’s a long winter!

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