Northern pike fishing is exciting for many anglers. These fish species present a challenge to catch because of their sharp teeth and also their tendency to easily bite through anglers’ fishing lines.
To increase your chance of landing more northern pike, you need to choose the right gear setup including includes rods, reels, lines, and most importantly baits and lures.
Pikes prefer artificial bait and lures which come in a wide range of designs and colors, so it might be difficult to choose the one that’s most suitable for the water conditions and your fishing technique.
To narrow down your options and help you make the best choice, here’s a compilation of some of the top-rated northern pike fishing baits and lures available on the market.
|Eppinger Daredevle||Spoon||1.4 – 3.4 ounces||Plastic|
|Rapal Blue Fox Vibrax||Spinner||1.25 ounces||Brass blades with Silver and Copper Plating|
|Johnson Silver Minnow||Spoon||1.25 ounces||Brass blades with Silver and Gold Plating|
|Guideline GTN Slayer||Spinner||1.5 Ounces||Brass blades|
|Booyah Pikee||Spinner||1.5 Ounces||Vibra FLX wireframe|
Table of Contents
List of the Best Pike Baits in 2021
1. Best Overall – Eppinger Daredevle Spoon
The top recommendation on our list is the Eppinger Daredevle Spoon. Although it’s not flashy in appearance, it has been effective in helping anglers land more northern pike.
This spoon bait is made from high-quality materials and features a strong treble hook that can withstand the pike’s aggressive strikes. It has a simple design that makes it easy to cast and retrieve which is ideal for beginners.
The unique wiggling and wobbling action this bait creates can successfully grab the attention of pike fish which allows for many bites.
It’s suited for fishing in areas with weeds where northern pike are known to gather. It’s also available in a variety of colors and sizes to suit different water conditions and effectively target pike of all sizes.
Pros Vs Cons
- It’s made from high-quality durable materials
- It features a strong treble hook
- It’s available in a variety of colors and sizes
- It’s easy to cast and retrieve
- It creates strong action to grab pike’s attention
- It’s ideal for fishing in weedy areas
- It’s heavier compared to other pike baits
The Eppinger Daredevle Spoon is the best choice for you if you’re looking for a high-quality bait that’s easy to cast and will effectively grab the attention of northern pike fish.
2. Second Runner – Rapala Blue Fox Vibrax
Another top-rated bait for northern pike fishing is the Blue Vibrax lure from Rapala. It is one of the best spinner pike lures on the market.
It’s highly durable as it features a strong treble hook and a built-in free-turning brass gear that helps prevent any line twist.
It creates a vibrating action that attracts northern pike fish to your bait and triggers them to bite.
The Rapala Blue Fox is designed with stamped blades that are made of brass with silver or copper plating. It is available in many different colors and has an iridescent shine that will surely attract trout
Pros Vs Cons
- It’s made from highly durable materials
- It’s available in a variety of colors
- It’s good for fishing in rivers and lakes
- It’s designed with a machined brass main body, plated blades, and a treble hook
- It creates vibrating action that attracts pike
- It features free turning gear to reduce line twist
- It’s slightly heavy for a spinning bait
The Blue Fox Vibrax bait from Rapala is the best choice for you if you’re looking for high-quality bait with excellent flash and action abilities to attract more northern pike.
3. Best On a Budget – Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon
This Silver Minnow Spoon from Johnson is one of the best pike lures especially if you’re on a budget.
It’s the most ideal for fishing for pike in weedy areas because it’s designed with a highly efficient metal weed guard and a single hook that’s tucked sleekly behind the spoon itself. This allows the bait to effortlessly move through thick underwater weeds
The lures effectively mimic baitfish as it creates a natural vibration action that will surely grab the pike’s attention.
It also features brass blades that allow you to cast the bait for longer distances. The blades are plated with pure silver or 24k gold, giving a brighter flash to attract more northern pike.
It’s available in many colors and sizes so it’s suitable to work in different water conditions.
Pros Vs Cons
- It has excellent casting abilities
- It’s ideal for fishing in areas with weeds
- It features a metal weed guard and gold plated brass blades
- It creates a natural action that mimics baitfish
- It’s available in many colors and sizes
- The material of the hooks is not very durable
The Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon is the best option for you if you’re looking for a northern pike fishing bait that comes at a very affordable price without sacrificing quality or efficiency.
The Guideline Slayer Spinner has a proven success rate when it comes to landing northern pike. It’s one of the best pike lures out there.
This spinning bait is made from durable materials and the design is simple which makes it easy to cast and retrieve.
It features a solid brass spinning blade and a flashy multi-colored tail that will grab the attention of northern pike fish and get them to bite.
It’s available in four essential colors and two sizes – single and tandem. Single lures feature one treble hook while tandem lures feature two treble hooks.
You can choose the color and size that best suits the water conditions you will be fishing in as well as the size of the pike species you’ll be targeting.
Pros Vs Cons
- It’s made from high-quality durable materials
- It features a brass spinning blade, a multicolored tail, and strong treble hooks.
- It’s available in 4 colors and 2 sizes
- It’s easy to cast and retrieve.
- It can effectively grab the attention of pike
- It’s not the best for fishing in weed areas
The Guideline Slayer Spinner is the best choice for you if you’re looking for a time tested and reliable northern pike fishing bait that provides excellent quality and durability
The Booyah Pikee spinnerbait has always been a popular choice among northern pike anglers for the many qualities it provides. It’s one of the best inline spinners on the market.
It’s designed for easily navigating thick weeds, it can work for all water depths and it’s available with multiple color options to suit different water conditions.
It’s made from an ultra-tough Vibra FLX wireframe which provides increased durability to withstand aggressive attacks from pike
It features a Silo-Tek tail skirt which provides impressive flash and vibration to trigger even the laziest pike to bite.
It also features a 12-inch steel leader to ensure the pike won’t bite through your line.
Pros Vs Cons
- It’s made from highly durable materials
- It’s available in multiple colors
- It works in all water depths
- It can navigate areas with thick weeds
- It provides impressive flash and vibration
- It comes with a strong steel leader
- It tends to get tangled with the leader
The Booyah Pikee spinnerbait is the best option for you if you’re looking for a strong bait that’s specifically designed to attract northern pike in weedy areas
How to Choose the Best Bait for Catching Northern Pike?
As mentioned before, pikes tend to prefer artificial bait that can mimic real baitfish.
Choosing the perfect bait for Pike fishing will rely mostly on the water condition you’ll be fishing in.
If you’re fishing in shallow water, it’s recommended to go for topwater lures. These can imitate mice and rats which has proven to be effective with pike.
If you’re fishing in cold water, it’s recommended to go for lures that will easily sink such as heavy plastic lures and crankbaits.
That is because the movement created by the lip of a crankbait lure can be so effective in getting pike to bite whether you’re trolling or casting and retrieving. This bait can also mimic baitfish or forage within a specific area. You can learn more about crankbaits in this crankbait vs spinnerbait comparison.
If you’re fishing muddy unclear water, it’s recommended to go for a spinner or a spoon bait.
Spinners and spoons do not directly mimic any specific kind of fish or forage, however, they produce vibration which is often effective in triggering a response in pike fish and getting more of them to bite.
Keep in mind that the wavelength of the vibrations created can vary depending on their size and shape. So, it’s a good idea to experiment with different models to see which works best with your technique.
What You Need to Know About Northern Pike Fishing
After you choose the best bait and lures for targeting pike, there are some basic facts anglers need to learn to successfully catch them.
Pike species are one of the most aggressive ambush predators out there. They are also often known as freshwater sharks, water wolves, gators, dragons, or toothies.
These predators are large, fast, and can put up a fight. They have long sturdy bodies and strong jaws full of razor-like teeth. They also have serrated gill plates that can be dangerous to touch.
How Does Temperature Affect Pike Behavior?
The most important factor to keep in mind when you’re fishing for northern pike is that their behavior changes depending on the weather.
That is because the temperature of the water affects the pike’s activity levels. So, as the temperature of the water increases, the pike’s activity increases.
The temperature of the water can also affect how deep into the water pike fish can swim. When the temperature gets colder, pike will swim from shallow waters to deeper areas.
You can learn how to fish for pike in the winter in my guide to cold weather pike fishing here.
What Do Northern Pike Fish Feed On?
Northern pike are known to be opportunistic feeders. They aren’t picky and there’s very little that they won’t eat.
Their diet mainly consists of smaller fish including these include yellow perch, bluegill, minnow fish, sunfish, suckers, herring, shad, and any other smaller fish. They also eat crustaceans such as crayfish, amphibians such as frogs, and sometimes even birds and mammals.
Where to Find Northern Pike Fish?
Nearly all states in the northern tier of the country have pike lakes. Vermont is considered to have the best pike fishing in the whole area. New York is an excellent pike state, as are Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
You can mostly find pike species in water streams, freshwater, and weedy areas in any of these states.
When Is the Best Time of the Day for Pike Fishing?
The best time to fish for pike would be the early morning because Pike fish tend to be more active and hungry during this period. During the afternoon, the pike becomes less active and will head to deeper water as the temperature will get higher.
What Kind of Gear is Best for Northern Pike Fishing?
When targeting strong fish like Pike, the gear you choose can have a strong impact on your performance and success in catching them.
Rod and Reel
For the rod, it’s recommended to go for a fast action rod that’s 8 or 9 feet in length with medium or medium-heavy power
This kind of rod will provide you with more leverage when casting and allow you to cast for longer distances with much less effort.
When it comes to the reel, it’s recommended to go for a baitcaster because it’s lighter in weight and has a fixed spool which will provide you with more control over casting distance and accuracy.
You can start with these budget baitcasting reels here that are excellent value for the money and will give you excellent performance without costing you a lot.
When it comes to choosing the fishing line for pike fishing, both monofilament and braided lines make fine choices.
Braided lines are stiff with a higher break strain which allows them to carry more weight and prevent Pike from biting through them. They also do not stretch which is good for casting further and with better accuracy.
- If you’re going to use braid for pike fishing, it’s recommended to go for a pound test of 30 pounds.
You can also use a monofilament fishing line, however, it needs to be much thicker and stronger for it to carry the weight of the pike. You can check the best braided lines here.
- If you’re going to use monofilament, then it’s recommended to go for a pound test of 12 to 15 pounds.
You can check the best monofilament fishing lines here.
You will need to use a leader when you’re fishing for pike. Since they have extremely sharp teeth, they may bite through monofilament or braided lines. So, by using a leader, you will definitely reduce the risks of losing your catch.
There are two main kinds of leaders that are ideal for pike fishing – fluorocarbon and wire
Fluorocarbon is strong enough to handle the pike’s teeth and its weight without breaking easily. It’s also perfect for fishing in clear water because it’s almost invisible underwater.
- It’s recommended to go for a 15-30-pound test or heavier when using fluorocarbon.
On the other hand, a wire leader or wire trace is attached to your bait to keep the pike from biting your mainline. However, it would be more visible underwater and might scare the pike fish away.
- It’s recommended to go for a 6-12-inch wire with a 20 to 24-pound test.
Tips for Safely Handling Northern Pike
After successfully landing your pike, you need to be very careful with how you handle it as they can bite your fingers just as easily as they can bite through your lines.
Make sure to wear thick gloves and long sleeves when you put your hands near the pike’s mouth. Also, make sure to have a well-stocked first-aid kit on board in case of any injuries
Do not attempt to remove the hook from the pike’s mouth using your bare hands. Make sure you’re following the correct unhooking method and using the proper tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Spinning Reels Good for Pike Fishing?
Yes, spinning reels can be for pike fishing, especially if you’re a beginner. That is because spinning reels are a lot easier to cast and less prone to backlashing. Spinning reels are also a lot cheaper compared to other reels.
How to Correctly Unhook a Northern Pike Fish?
To safely unhook a pike fish, you need to flip it on its back and slip your gloved hands under its gill plate. Next, you need to carefully open its jaws using a jaw spreader then clamp a pair of pliers on the bottom hook’s shank and twist to remove it. After removing the bottom hook, repeat the same steps to remove the top one.
When Is It Illegal to Fish for Northern Pike?
It is illegal to fish for pike between 15 December and 31 March. During this time, pike fish will enter their breeding period. It’s very important to comply with fishing prohibition as it’s crucial to balance natural life and the future of the pike population.