As every fishing enthusiast can tell you, every fish is a predator. Northern Pike are no exception to this rule as their primeval morphology has not drastically changed over the 60 million years. Their sharp needle like teeth, vacant eyes, thick sticky slime and serpentine shape has them suited to be one of the most dominate freshwater predators to take reign in the freshwaters of the Northern Hemisphere.
While there are several species of Pike in the Nearctic and Palearctic realms the most common in Ontario is the Northern Pike (Esox lucius). They reside in places like the French River where aquatic life and wildlife are abundant and have little in the way of natural predators for Northern Pike. Because of this, they are very populace and average around 4 -10 lbs (1.8 – 4.5 kg) but are considered a trophy when over 20 lbs (9 kg).
Prime times for fishing Northern Pike on the French River Delta are in the Spring, Early Summer & Fall seasons. Being one of the first species to open in the spring, finding the more elusive trophies like their Musky (Muskellunge) cousins the best place to start fishing is in shallow back bays with preferably dark bottoms where the waters would warm up first. Good indications of this is seeing weed growth around the edges of these areas as it provides these predators cover when hunting other game. If there are no weeds or weedbeds the next best solution is finding treefall or rocky structures for their cover.
What Fishing Gear Should I Use?
Since Pike season on the French River opens on the 3rd Saturday of May, Bear’s Den Lodge recommends using:
Bait casters with on heavy duty spinning rods
12 – 20 lbs monofilament line
Steel Leaders at 6 – 12 inches (approx. 15.25 ~ 30.5 centimeters)
Light colours such as: White, Chartreuse & Yellow to resemble struggling food fish
Flashy Blades such as: Polished Steel, Chrome, Silvery, Chartreuse & Orange
Other Baits include but not limited to:
5 of Diamonds
Red Eye Wobbler
In-Line Spinners at 1/6 to 1 ounce sizes:
Surface Plugs around 4.5 to 6 inch: