Do Pike Eat Shrimp? [A Guide to Catching Pike with Shrimp]

Do Pike Eat Shrimp? 

Anglers have been pretty creative with baits for northern Pike. You can catch Pike with things you never think about, like hot dogs and frogs, but what about the simple shrimp? Can it work as bait? 

Do Pike eat shrimp? Pike do eat shrimp; it is a great bait to catch it. Pike scavenger food and opportunistic fish that will never hesitate to take advantage of an easy shrimp meal, whether alive or dead.

In this article, I will explain how you can catch Pike with Shrimp (in more than one way), so keep reading … 

Do Pike Eat Shrimp? 

shrimp as bait on hook to answer do pike eat shrimp

Freshwater lively shrimp are part of the food chain that Pike like to eat, and many medium-sized fish species will do too. 

Actually, shrimp face a variety of sea predators, but they have developed their self-defense mechanisms to protect themselves in the deep sea.

The most effective self-defense mechanism that shrimp have developed is bioluminescent, which means if a deep-sea predator attacks the shrimp, they will puke a highly illuminated mass into the predator’s face. 

This way is effective in facing their enemies special those who use their sight sense to hunt.

How to use shrimp to catch Pike?

Pike eats anything smaller than their size, and for a fish, that scavenger food shrimp is a good bait. It’s even better to fish for Pike in the same water you have caught the shrimp in.

If you want to catch Pike easier, use a live shrimp to bait their aggressive nature. Shrimp can stay alive for up to two hours and remain active on a hook for a while, enough to catch a pike’s attention. 

Dead shrimp won’t be your best bait if you are fishing Pike, especially in summer while Pike is active, aggressive, and looking for live prey to trap or chase.

What other freshwater fish can you catch with shrimp? 

Live shrimp is an excellent bait for game fish such as catfish, trout, panfish, and bass, while dead shrimp can be effective with catfish, bluegills, and crap because it is a natural part of their food chains. 

I actually have a guide on how to use Shrimp to catch trout here, so make sure to check it out as well.

Also, when you use a dead shrimp for fishing, it is better to remove its shell.

What other live bait can you use to catch Pike? 

Pike fish can eat any fish that is smaller than their size, but they have some favorite foods, and those make for the best baits. 

These are the best live bait for Pike:


Go big for a pike; Bluegills are an excellent food source for a big hungry pike. Also, bluegills are tough for Pike to catch by themselves, making them quite an effective bait. You can learn how to use Bluegills to catch Pike here where I discuss my methods in great detail.


Cisco is a very common live bait in freshwater. However, they live deeper than the easy casting net range, but they are one of Pike’s favorite food.


While cisco is pick’s favorite food, suckers are their second favorite food. As a result of suckers size, which can grow for more than a foot long, it’s regarded as a filling meal for Pike.


Any game fish would love to catch a shad. There are many species of shad, and the best bait species for Pike are gizzard and threadfin shad. 

Yellow perch

Live yellow perch are excellent bait for hungry Pike. Also, muskies and walleye love perch too. You can learn more about the best baits for Muskies here. 

Golden Shiners

Northern Pike won’t hesitate to consume a golden shiner fish once they see it. 


Alewives are a less favorite food for Pike, and that means this won’t be your most effective bait for them, but they like it too.

Fathead Minnows

If you are a recreational fisherman who is looking for small young Pike, fathead minnows are good bait for small fish. You may also catch crappie, bluegill, trout, yellow perch, and small bass as they all really love minnows as well.

You can learn how to use Minnows for Trout (and other fish) here.


While big Pike prefers to eat from the deep sea and sea frogs are not enough for a meal, there is some medium and small pike find it fun to catch a juicy frog. Here you can find my guide on using Frogs to catch Trout, you can use the same methods to catch Pike with Frogs.

Wrap up

Pike do eat shrimp, especially the northern shrimp, and they use many senses to catch food and sight is the primary sense they use for catching shrimp, so if it’s alive and moving, it has better chances of catching their attention. 

A live Shrimp is one of the best live bait to catch game fish such as catfish, trout, panfish, and bass, while dead shrimp can be effective with catfish, bluegills, and crap. Fish with shrimp you catch in the same water. You can also use live Bluegills, Cisco, Suckers, Shad, Yellow perch, and Golden Shiners to catch big Pike, alewives, fathead minnows, and frogs to catch small and medium Pike.

Related Questions 

Does Northern Pike eat Freshwater Shrimp?

Northern Pike does eat freshwater shrimp. The northern shrimp has a vibrant pinkish color with an average of two to four-inch length making it a perfect food for Pike that use their sight sense to find their prey and they can see vibrant colors better than pale ones. 

Can you use canned shrimp for bait?

Canned shrimp can be used for bait, this will work if you planning to fish bluegills, perch, catfish but they are too soft to stay on the hook and they are a favorite food for bait thieves. So they can eat the bait without your noticing.

How to keep shrimp on a hook?

Fresh shrimp can stay on the hook much better than canned shrimp. Don’t hook a live shrimp from the brain. Use circler hook it will keep shrimp on better than J-hook. The best way to keep shrimp on a hook till you catch a fish is to hook it through the bottom of the mouth coming up through the top of his head.

Is canned shrimp good bait for Pike?

Canned shrimp is not a good bait for Pike, it works better for catfish because they are partially blind and use their whiskers to detect food, canned shrimp has a more fishy flavor and odor than raw fish which make it perfect bait for catfish.

Helpful Resources 

How to catch Northern pike

Get Started with Pike Fishing

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