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Pike habits in the winter

by , Posted to on 01/16/2007 12:31 PM | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 08/31/2006
Location: ND
All summer long we cruise the lake shores looking for the weedy bays in 8 to 12ft and play with the pike until we are tired of paddling the kayaks. Sometimes we drift the windy points and drop offs. They seem to be mostly ambush feeders. What do they do in the winter when the weeds are gone and the bait is elsewhere? Iv'e pulled small pike from the shack 2ft under the ice this week, but the bigger fish were closer to 8ft deep. They all have large bait in their stomaches shiners or eyes in the 10" range. But I cant see a pike out chasing walleyes in 40fow! Is there a biologist in the house?
Re: Pike habits in the winter
by on 01/16/2007 12:36 PM | Reply #1 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/16/2001
Location: ND
I have caught large northerns in 25-30 FOW at Devils Lake ice fishing for walleyes and perch. I have also caught them suspended over deep water while trolling for walleyes. I don't think that pick preticularly care about the depth of the water as long as the temperature is bearable and especially if food is present.
Re: Pike habits in the winter
by on 01/16/2007 12:43 PM | Reply #2 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
I am interested in this thread...anybody else know pike real good? More opinions and thoughts?

What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Pike habits in the winter
by on 01/16/2007 12:50 PM | Reply #3 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/06/2002
Location: ND

I to am very interested in this topic. If you get
information of any kind, I would sure be interested
in reading about it. I will do the same, ok?

Take Care Stizo........Good Fishing to Ya!

"The louder you scream, the faster we come"



Re: Pike habits in the winter
by on 01/16/2007 1:59 PM | Reply #4 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 07/13/2003
Location: ND
I have caught pike anywhere from 1 to 30 fow.

This time of year they seem to prefer deeper water drop offs within close proximity to shallow feeding areas of perch and walleye. But they can be found anywhere really.

Your best bet is late ice, late February thru March. Look for bays with creeks running into them, put tip-ups with smelt, herring or creek chubs from shore out to deep water. We've caught pike with barely enough water under the ice for them to swim in.

For really big pike use the biggest smelt you can find, 12 inches or more. Place the smelt anywhere from right on the bottom to 4 feet up, depends on how deep the water is. For shallow areas I like to have it right on bottom, deeper water I like 1 to 4 feet up.

Good Luck!
Re: Pike habits in the winter
by on 01/16/2007 2:08 PM | Reply #5 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/16/2001
Location: ND
I know a certain fisheries bioligist that just took 2nd place at the last PWT champtionship in Bismarck. I will post this question to him. CP
Re: Pike habits in the winter
by on 01/16/2007 2:26 PM | Reply #6 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 08/31/2005
Location: ND
here's some info I found:

With first ice, lakes are at their most fertile. Green weeds remain. Oxygen levels are good throughout the water column. Forage populations are at their highest. Minimum snow cover means maximum light penetration. Pike, like other gamefish, are on the prowl. They search the shallows looking for baitfish holding beneath the ice around the last remnants of cover. During this prime time, tip-ups set above the weed flats produce, but when the weed flats stop producing, anglers incorrectly protest that the big pike have stopped feeding. As the season progresses, light penetration, weed growth and oxygen levels all decrease in the shallows. Forage becomes less available and more widely scattered. Big pike abandon the shallows by mid-season and follow the forage. Pike suspend off structure over deeper water and follow the remaining baitfish. Before winter draws to a close, pike return to areas adjacent to shallow dark bottom spawning locations. With forage becoming increasingly scarce, pike take advantage of dead bait that has not survived the harsh winter conditions and has settled to the bottom. To catch these big pike, one must actively pursue them. Be mobile. Cover a lot of water. Locate concentrations of remaining forage in the system and actively jig lures to trigger pike.

hope this helps

"Colorless green ideas sleep furiously"

...People who don’t understand sarcasm are awesome !?!

Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198

Re: Pike habits in the winter
by on 01/16/2007 3:01 PM | Reply #7 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 02/01/2006
Location: SD
Yelojackt, that was excellent information. There are several factors that leadt to the location of the large pike in the winter time. factors such as presence or absence of weed beds, turbidity of water, dissolved Oxygen levels, abundance and location of prey fish, mean and max depth of the water body. thickness of ice, and snow cover on the ice.

During early ice when the ice is thin and little or no snow cover submergent plants can still receive enough light to survive and maintain. At this time the prey fish use these areas as protection, with the pike following close behind.
As the ice thickens and covers with snow, the submergent plant life goes dormant and cover is reduced. this is when everything changes. The prey fish will tend to find deeper waters, and if conditions are right the pike will bee there as well. The pike do rely on water turbidity (how murky the water is), and shadows to compliment their speed for the element of suprise. Also, if the Dissolved Oxygen levels are down it the lake, fish will naturally try to find an area with natural springs, or a deeper hole to sustain life. This is usually a factor when the mean depth of the lake is 8 foot or less and has a max depth of at least 6 feet greater than the mean depth.

Best rule of thumb to find large pike now is to fine where the bait or prey fish are and set up on the outside of the schools for the Esox that is looking for a stray fish to attack.

Re: Pike habits in the winter
by on 01/16/2007 3:08 PM | Reply #8 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 08/31/2006
Location: ND
This explains better why I have always had better luck spearing on the deep shelfs & reefs later in the season. I guess I forgot about the dropping oxygen levels over decaying weed beds too. I noticed the little jack pike Sally speared yesterday was turning red already. Iv'e been told this is a result of less oxygen.
Well I was thinking of moving the shack to a deep water 14 - 20 shelf just a hundred yards away. I guess 2ft of ice is easier to chisel than 3ft. Next year I get a 20" bar on a new chainsaw!
Re: Pike habits in the winter
by on 01/16/2007 4:55 PM | Reply #9 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/06/2002
Location: ND
Yellowjact and Wildlife,

This is very interesting info, some of which
I've been but alot of which I have not seen.
Maybe THERE is hope after all!!!! Guess a guy
just has to go deeper to find them sharks.
I KNOW they are there, I just need to find them.
Guess I will be trying some new places and look
for a little different structure than what I have
been fishing.

I'll give it hell and see what happens.........
Thank You again for the valuable info.

Good Luck to All!!!!!!!

"The louder you scream, the faster we come"



Re: Pike habits in the winter
by on 01/16/2007 5:19 PM | Reply #10 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 01/09/2002
Location: ND
Natural springs are inflows to the lake from groundwater.

Groundwater is extremely low in dissolved oxygen. So if you are fishing a "spring", I would be very surprised to find a lot of fish activity there. The dissolved oxygen will tend to be less than 0.2 mg/L (in the spring) and this is far below what fish need to survive.

If anything, fish just away from the spring wher ethe groundwater will have a chance to mix with water containing higher levels of dissolved oxygen.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain
Re: Pike habits in the winter
by on 01/16/2007 5:36 PM | Reply #11 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 07/13/2006
Location: MT
We always started out fishing the back end of the bays(3-8 feet) with early ice and good oxygen levels and as the winter progresses we start moving toward the main lake(6-16 feet). We also generaly go with the bigger the bait the bigger the pike theory, or we cut a smelt in half using the front half on a treble tipped with a live minnow hooked through the lips on the same hook, works pretty good kind of gives that wound bait action. Another thing we have used alot on Fort Peck is the Cisco that we have removed from the stomachs of fish we have cleaned.
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Posted On: 01/16/2007 12:31 PM
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Tags: pike, winter, habits, 12ft, sometimes, looking, cruise, weedy, bays, kayaks
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Region: North Dakota

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