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Ontario has the finest northern pike angling on the continent, with waters where ducklings are nervous and 30-pounders (13.6 kg) prowl. Spring, early summer, and fall are peak periods in across Ontario for trophy northern pike angling.
At ice-out in spring, northern pike begin to spawn. This occurs in the weedy shallows as early as March. Prime locations to fish when pike season first opens are weed lines, flats, points, and creek mouths. Fresh off the spawn, these predator fish prowl at this time for baitfish. They haven’t seen a lure since last summer so fishing is at its optimum in the spring.
As the water heat ups, northern pike shift to deeper water with submerged weed beds or other forms of cover or structure. The famous Gord Pyzer offers this advice to narrow your search for a hot spot .... “confine your fishing to the same locations you would typically cast and troll for walleye. But use larger lures.”. So during this period, deep-water trolling is your best bet. The most effective places to fish during summer are along the edges of deep weed beds, drop-offs, points, islands, and humps.
In autumn, when water temperature drops, northern pike become very active again, returning to the weedy shallows, rocky bars, or below rapids in rivers or streams.
Effective northern pike lures include large spoons, noisy surface or diving lures, or bucktail spinners. You can also use live bait such as shiners and large chubs.
Ontario's record catch
Average size: Between 4 and 10 lbs (1.8 to 4.5 kg). Northern pike more than 20 lbs (9 kg) are considered trophies.
Temperature and habitat: Prefers water around 60°F (15.5°C) on rocky reefs and the edges of weedbeds.
Biology: Spawns in flooded areas and back bays in spring. Fertilized eggs are scattered randomly.
Range: Throughout Ontario in lakes and rivers of all sizes.