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Outdoors: Early season pike

Learn how to target these big fish in the spring

Pike are pretty much the epitome of what is called a predatory fish. At least, they are the most aggressive fish in our waters. They can be caught all season long.

No matter what you're fishing for or what technique you are using, you're almost always likely to hook into some pike while on the water. Targeting these fish after ice out and early spring is the best time to hook into sheer quantity and big quality fish.

As the ice melts and open water hits, pike look to some of the shallowest water they can find. Look for shallow, soft-bottomed back bays that lose ice and warm up the quickest. Back bays that have a large flat, around three feet of water, maybe with a creek feeding into it, with cane or weeds will be a prime area to start.

It's also where a lot of the bait migrate to, and pike will follow and eventually spawn. You should find a pretty large group of fish in these shallow areas early in the season when the sun gets high, but their size might not be the best.

Smaller pike tend to group up together earlier in the day, while the big fish tend to be a bit more solitary and spread out. If you’re looking for a trophy fish, try to get away from the groups and find some darker water, where that first small drop in depth is in the bay.

Big fish will tend to hang out in deeper water until the warmest part of the day, when they will then move up, usually much later in the day.

- Kevin King

Read the full article about spring fishing for northern pike.