How to Find Pike in A River? These Are The Best Spots!

Pike are one of the laziest fish in freshwater. They spend most of their waiting for prey which limits the location of where you can find your Pike, but it is still possible to find Pike in Rivers if you know where to look.

So, How to find Pike in a river? To find Pike in a river, you need to target them where they feed. Pike prefer to save their energy during the day and hide in holes or waterweeds while waiting to ambush their prey. Sometimes Pike hits the water surface to catch frogs or birds, which provides a chance to find them under lily pads.

Continue reading to learn more about how to find the right spots for Pike fishing and the best time to fish for Pike.

How to Find Pike in a River? 

a photo of a pike fish to show how to find pike in a river

Like any lazy ambush predator, Pike prefer to reside in low-stream rivers while waiting for their prey.

A good spot you can head to at the beginning of your fishing day is the river turns. This is where the lowest steam of the river is, which makes it a perfect place for Pike to lay waiting for any passing prey.

The river mouth is the second favorite for Pike, where there is an overgrown tree or water weed by the riverbank. That will give Pike the shade to cool their body temperature and hide inside the water weed to hunt for their next meal.

Sometimes Pike goes for a meal from outside the water, such as a frog or a bird. So, they might hide under lily pads, but this is not a common place where you can find Pike.

How to Choose the Right Spots for Pike Fishing?

Finding a pike fish is not that hard; you just have to plan well and know the right spots for Pike fishing. 

You can look for shallow and muddy spots by the river bank with a richness of plants. Make sure to mark these areas while you scout the river.

Now that you know Pike’s favorite spots, you may be wondering how exactly to find these spots’ locations? Here are some methods that will help you:

Bait test

This test will help you measure the water depth by marking the down length of a bit till it reaches the riverbed, which will give you a general sense of the underwater characteristics.


Aerial maps and depth maps are good fish detectors and excellent resources for pre-scouting.

Fish finder

Fish finder allows you to see the river without the water effortlessly, giving you a good idea of where to hunt for Pike. However, you need to pick the most suitable one for the Pike to get the best result. Learn more about how to pick a fish finder here.

You can also save yourself a lot of time and money by checking out my guide to the best fish finder GPS combos here.

What Is the Best Time of Day to Catch River Pike? 

The best time of day to catch river Pike is around the sunrises and sunset hours, specifically right before the sunrise when Pike are extremely hungry and looking for their first meal of the day. 

They will be located in the shallow water and by the bank of the river to ambush their prey. Once they see any live bait, their sense will drive them to your hook directly to satisfy their aggressive nature of hunting.

During the spring months, you can catch Pike in the daytime easily because of the warm temperature in this season. You can even catch Pike in the afternoon, although it is trickier than you think. You can learn how to catch fish in the afternoon here.

What Is the Best Weather to Catch River Pike?

The perfect weather to catch river Pike is in the fall when the temperature ranges between 72.7 degrees Fahrenheit and 26.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pike becomes more active when the water temperature is mild, especially in September and October. Fishing during these months will be more fruitful if you make use of live bait to entice the Pike to bite.

While live bait is the best to catch a pike, there is a period of the year when you can fish them better with dead bait. In late winter, when the water temperature is cold, Pike will be lazier than before, and they will be more motivated for an easy dead meal.

The finest dead baits for pike fishing are soft-rayed fish with a lot of natural oil in their skin and meat. These oils attract any pike that may be passing by, especially if it is a smelt, alewives, little whitefish, chubs, and the ever-popular sucker. Learn more about the best bait for Pike here.


Pike are lazy predators who like to save their energy. Instead of chasing their prey, they ambush it. You will always find Pike in the low stream spots of the river where they can hide to catch their prey.

Finding pike spots will require a lot of effort and search, but you can use bait tests, aerial and depth maps, and fish finders to detect their location. 

The best weather to fish a pike is in the fall when they are highly active looking for food, and also late winter is a good time to use the dead bait to catch your Pike. The golden hours of fishing are around the sunrises and sunsets.

Related Questions 

Do Pike Like Fast water? 

Pike do not like fast water. They are one of the laziest fish, so they do not like to fight against the water stream to catch their prey. Instead, they ambush their victims and spend the day hiding in the slow stream spots of the river while waiting for any passing prey to hunt.

Do Pike Like Bridges?

Pike do like brides as they always prefer the slow stream spots where there is a place they can hide in. Bridges also give Pike the shade to cool their body temperature while hunting their prey. Pike are frequently found around bridges in the margins, squeezed into small corners.

How to Catch Pike in A Small River? 

To catch Pike in a small river, all you need to do is look for the right spots, which are usually the deeper and slower areas of the river. Fishing for Pike in a small river is easier than it is in a large river as you have less water to cover looking for your Pike. 

Helpful Resources

River Fishing Tips

Get Started with Pike Fishing

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