The Pike Are In and Spots are Open For This Weekend’s Zippel Bay Spring Pike Tournament

Did you know the pike season on Lake of the Woods never ends?  That’s right, because we are border water with Canada, our pike season goes all year long.  That gives anglers a fantastic opportunity in April to take advantage of monster pike who are somewhere along in their spawning ritual.  And in Lake of the Woods, there are a lot of big pike!

Pike anglers have been pulling in nice pike out of Zippel Bay all week.  We know the pike are there, but will you be there?  The weather forecast is looking good for this weekend.  Zippel Bay is quite secluded from the main lake, thus anglers will not require the larger boats like on the main lake.  In speaking with Deanna at Zippel Bay Resort, the tournament still has spots available and all are welcome.

2016-04-27_Jace Luoma_Pike in Zippel Bay

Some anglers have had success with dead bait on the bottom or just off of the bottom with a quick strike rig.  There will be others in the tournament who prefer trolling shallow diving crankbaits or casting spoons.  Whatever your flavor, the pike will be ready.

Zippel Bay Resort is filled up as far as the lodging goes, but there are many resorts available in the vicinity less than 10 miles away.  Click Here for a list of Lake of the Woods Resorts.

MN DNR info from a 2013 fisheries lake survey verifies the presence of a healthy trophy pike fishery.   Lake of the Woods is managed for a high-quality northern pike population, with a significant component of “trophy” northern pike over 40 inches long. To monitor the size structure of the northern pike population, it is sampled every 5 years using trap nets at known spawning sites. The northern pike population continues to be one of high quality, with 19% of the adult population at least 35 inches long, and 5% of the adults 40 inches long, or longer.

During the spawning season, pike head to shallow bays, ditches and streams to find the right conditions to lay and fertilize eggs.  There are many areas around the lake and on the Rainy River pike spawn, and one of them is Zippel Bay.

Zippel Bay Resort has an annual pike tournament the last weekend of April.  This year’s tournament will take place April 30th and May 1st.  The tourney is made up of two person teams and is a two day tournament based on weight.

Last years Zippel Bay Pike Tournament was again a success.  Speaking with owner, Nick Painovich (pictured in the middle of the winners), over 400 pike were caught.  “A lot of nice fish were caught.  We didn’t see as many fish over 40 inches this year, only two.  We did hear of at least one big one getting away near the boat.  I am sure there were more”, explains Painovich.  “With so many males in the bay, we are led to believe some of the big females have not yet spawned, which means there is still some good pike fishing to be had.  The big fish that were caught were spawned out.”

Some teams trolled and casted crankbaits.  Others used dead bait under a bobber in 1 – 8 feet of water.  Everyone had a great weekend.

Katie Berg, Katie Pieper, spring pike, Zippel Bay

Two of the past three years the tournament has been won by the female team of Katie Berg and Katie Pieper.  Each year, they caught a pike over 40 inches to add to their winning bag of fish.

The northern pike regs on Lake of the Woods is as follows:

Lake Of The Woods and Rainy River to dam at international Falls
Northern Pike Continuous 3, all northern pike from 30-40″ must be immediatley released. Only 1 northern pike over 40″

Anglers are already getting their boats ready for this year’s tournament.  If you want to have a blast in April, check out the pike tournament at Zippel Bay Resort or just go fish pike on your own.  You truly have an opportunity to catch a pike of a lifetime.

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