Extraordinary Trophy Pike Through the Ice
The northern pike is one of Minnesota’s largest and easiest fish to catch. Found in in nearly every Minnesota lake and river, the northern pike is a voracious predator known for powerful runs that strip line from your reel. Though somewhat challenging to fillet, the northern pike is excellent table fare. If you haven’t fished for northern pike you should. It’s a cool fish. This is quoted from the Minnesota DNR. Ice fishing for northern pike | Minnesota DNR (state.mn.us)
Pike Season on Lake of the Woods gives anglers something to shoot for every season of the year. As the winter season starts coming to an end in this border region, anglers hit to the bays and start using tip-ups to catch fast fighting fish called the Northern Pike. The mixture calls for the tip-up, a lawn chair, a bucket for your catch, sunshine, sunglasses and enthusiasm for the catch.
The best way to catch northern pike in winter is to use a tip-up rig. A tip-up rig is different than a rod-and-reel combination because there is no rod at all. Instead, a tip-up is an apparatus in which the reel is placed in the hole you drilled, and when a fish unspools line a signal flag “tips up.” Tip-ups can be purchased at virtually any bait shop or retail fishing outlet.
Once you have lowered your tip-up line into the water it is largely a waiting game. It is smart to check your sucker or shiner minnow every half hour or so, and even to jig it once in a while. Still, northern pike tip-up fishing is mostly waiting for a flag to pop up. Check out Facebook for the Igloo Bar and see what the bartender has pulled through the holes this winter. Many many trophy pike!
Lake of the Woods is known as a trophy pike lake with many, many big pike over 40 inches caught each year. Right now as the ice is soon going out and the pike are beginning to stage for the spawn is a popular time for anglers to catch pike in their pre-spawn areas as the not only get congregated, but the feed bag is on.
Pike season on Lake of the Woods is open all year long. As mentioned, right now during the pre-spawn, ice fishing for huge pike is happening with good results. As the ice starts to move out, bays come into play. Back bays of the Rainy River, 4 Mile Bay, Bostic Creek, Zippel Bay and shoreline areas with ditches along Muskeg Bay near the Rocky Point areas can be big pike magnets.
One of the local resorts offers an Ice-Out Northern Pike Tournament where people from all around team up to catch these great fighters. Now Lake of the Woods is known for its walleye and there are anglers who don’t want to save the northerns, however, this writer knows first-hand how great those cold water northerns can taste in that fry pan. Check out one of our recent blogs at www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com for tips from Target Walleye on using tip-ups for the catch.
March is a month pike are putting the feedbag on for the upcoming spawn. They congregate adjacent to spawning areas. The pike season on LOW does not close. One angler said this, “I recommend taking a break and get up to Lake of the Woods and hook into a fish of a lifetime!!” Remember ice stays on Lake of the Woods well into April most times and portable ice houses can be used during this time frame. Otherwise, use your snowmobile or your four-wheeler and head out for some great fishing.
Open water will soon be upon us also and those northern pike love to chase after dare devils on the end of your line. They fight a great fight being dragged into the boat and give the angler a thrill to land that fish. Whether small or large, the northern pike feels like you’ve caught a log but, in actuality, this fighting monster brings a thrill for a lifetime adventure. Come looking for your trophy this spring and come again with your boat for both pike and the wonderful walleye.
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