Fall Northern Pike: Aggressive Fish Demand Aggressive Tactics

Making the case for creature plastics, jigs and crank baits when hunting the pike of autumn.

The cold-water period provide some long-sought fishing stability for multiple species, including pike. That usually means more aggressive pike, too! Concentrate on weedy flats near deep drop-offs. The big key is forage food sources for these fish. Of all the fish, pike are the most aggressive.

Terry Tuma

That said, as water cools down, we should slow our retrieves, techniques and presentations because their metabolism has slowed.

These aggressive, positive fish will be riding the top part of the weed growth. Negative or neutral fish will be near the bottom or up against the weed edge. They want overhead cover or heavy weed growth.

There are many ways of catching these fish, starting with crank baits near the weeds. For more neutral fish, try jigs with 4- or 5-inch plastics. Use creature plastics such as lizards or something that will provide a lot of movement.

For a tough bite, run live-bait rigs up against the weedline. Construct (or buy) these rigs with wire or the pike will bite them off. If using minnows for your jigs and rigs, shiners are the No. 1 baits, followed by 4- to 5-inch suckers.

I’ve also caught a lot of pike through the years using jig spins — a jig with a spinner blade, a Power Grub and sucker minnow, trolled very slowly. And use one with a wide hook gap to really set that hook.

I’m often asked, “What are top fall pike fishing conditions?”

Your best days to catch northern pike are windy, cloudy or misty days. Good duck hunting weather equals good pike hunting weather!

Shop The Sportsman’s Guide for a fine assortment of Fishing Tackle.

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