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trolling for pike?

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what is the best water depth and trolling speed for pike? ive had people tell me fast up to 9pmh or as aslow as .5 mph.. you dont have to give any secrets but a general idea on how to troll for pike. thanks b_L

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All we did on leech was hook up a solid gold spoon and troll at idle, caught 10 or so doing that. So swear that a hammered silver spoon is the way to go but i found the slowest that the boat would idle was the fastest for me. I would have figured about 1.75 to 2 mph good luck which i were sitting there going slow again.

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As I'm sure you can imagine it changes from place to place and season to season..

At this time of year anywhere near the metro I'd be going a little faster and a little deeper, especially in the coming couple weeks as this really hot weather heats up the lakes. Last time I was in a boat was two and a half weeks ago, and up in ontario. We found good pike water at 15-10 ft deep, and shallower but we had used anything shallower for casting. We probably trolled 2-5mph and caught fish at all speeds, never really seemed to make a difference except how fast you could get through a spot and move on to new water, so I preferred going a little faster.

If I had the opportunity to be in a boat trolling on a nearby lake, I'd do my best to search out any kind of structure in 20 FOW and see if that produced for me, but I wouldn't limit myself to just that.

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Brass Backed 5 a Diamonds or the Brass Backed Coca Cola has been very very good 9-12 foot start to finish, weird that old stuff actually catches fish LOL.

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as far as speed. a pike can come out of an ambush position at up to 30 mph. and hold it for a medium short distance. so going too fast is pretty hard. on a certain metro lake it's a good idea to pull a ''spoon plug'' as fast as you can and still let it run correctly. that's anywhere from 10-25 mph!!! classic spoon plug tecnique is the occational bump on the bottom and puting out just that amount of line to allow it to do that is key. this small lake has the weeds killed by the residents so it's pretty easy to troll at any depth, but on most lakes you would need to go just beyond the weedlines' depth. any lure works on a weed edge mainly because that line is a perfect ambush spot for a fish to hold inside of. on the the st croix it's a good idea to go ssslooowwww. but they will smash a burner too. pike are pike. and a pike just don't care. all it want's to do is eat. good luck. wink

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as far as speed. a pike can come out of an ambush position at up to 30 mph. and hold it for a medium short distance. so going too fast is pretty hard. on a certain metro lake it's a good idea to pull a ''spoon plug'' as fast as you can and still let it run correctly. that's anywhere from 10-25 mph!!!

A could not agree more! When things are warm in the summer I run crankbaits as fast I can without them blowing out or I run spoons behind downriggers 7-10 mph. Ever see a doctor spoon at 10 mph? Very wicked flash.

In the great accent of Al Lindner-"You can not reel fast enough to out run a musky, or pike for that matter!" and he is dead on. Pike love speed no boubt about it, if you can perfect running cranks to the point you are running 6 mph plus with the crank ticking bottom before fouling out then going back to running and ticking bottom you are going to have one heck of a good day.

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Quote:
you dont have to give any secrets

ok, since i don't have to grin ... a little semi-secret trick i use for speed trolling and very fast cranking for any species. i can't say i did it first but i've never known anyone else who used it before i told them. been doing it for decades now.

just ahead of my lure (any lure) on the leader (or line) i put some of that shiney aluminum insullation tape. no bigger around than a tooth pick and an inch long on smaller stuff and no bigger around than 1/4 inch and no longer than two inches on bigger stuff, to keep it from making the lure run out of tune. some matter more/less than others. i started doing it on the belief it would simmulate that my lure was a fish chasing a smaller fish (minnow) in the hopes it would kick my target fish into feeding mode... long story behind how i started thinking that... another time maybe... anyway, i also believe a distracted baitfish (chasing baitfish) is seen by a predator as an easy target. it's worked very well for me over the years. it seems to work better for faster presentations. i have some theories but no real evidence of why for sure. hope it works for the adventurous ones. smile

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tight around is best for keeping the bait running true. about two inches ahead or so on big or small. what i do for smaller stuff is trim it to 1 inch, remove backing, place on line (i change and retie frequently on line), then fold over and trim it up with a blade. bigger stuff i just wrap it on the leader with a piece trimmed to about 1/8 inch or so in the barber pole style or solid untill it's a couple inches. i like a couple wrinkles if i can get away with it on the lure. good luck. i use a piece or three of tinsel tied on the line above the leader if i'm bobber fishing pike for a little added attraction too, and i use a spinner blade attached to the line just above the leader with plastic clevices for added visibility... but that's another secret. DOH!!!

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I don't think speed is all that important, as long as the lure gets to the proper depth. When pike are hungry, they'll hit most anything. I've always trolled deep water weedlines with a lure designed to dive to that depth. I just make sure I'm trolling fast enough for my lure to show decent action, which I can feel in the rod tip.

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I'm a location guy myself. When a lake stratifies, large pike tend to hang around the thermocline because large pike prefer cooler water than the hammerhandles. In most of the northern MN lakes I've fished pike over the years, the thermocline seems to form about 20-25 feet down, and it's easy to reach those depths with large crankbaits.

Sometimes you can find them trolling open water (especially in lakes that have suspended schools of baitfish, including crappies). Other times they'll be associated with bottom structure at or near thermocline depths, and in those cases either trolling (with the occasional bottom bang) or bouncing big jigs and sucker minnows along the structure both can produce.

I do a lot of speeding/slowing and S-turns when I troll for pike. With a long rod stuck way out the side, S-turns can radically slow and speed the lure. Often it's a sudden change in lure speed, rather than a consistent fast lure speed, that triggers pike.

Some lakes deliver shallower pike all summer long, but these typically are lakes that have coldwater springs welling up into them or are fed by colder creeks/rivers.

These are general observations, and are not mean to be taken as gospel in all situations.

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Steve,

Whats the best way to determine where the thermocline is located?

Although several of my top 10 pike have come in the winter, all but one of the rest came walleye fishing deeper flats and reefs where the bigger girls where hanging in the slightly deeper water.

Steve

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Steve, cold water is more dense than warm water, so sonar waves pushed out by the ducer bounce back up off the cold layer and are read by your electronics if the sensitivity is set high enough.

If the thermocline is fairly quick (in other words a fast transition from warm surface water to colder deeper water, which makes for a "harder" layer), your electronics will pick it up as a fairly solid, blotchy line a couple/three feet thick. The more gradual the transition, the harder it is to pick up and the more intermittent the signal is on your graph.

A remote thermometer on downrigger balls is also a good way to look for it, though downrigger balls are much more a lake trout/salmon piece of gear than pike.

Otherwise, a weighted thermometer on 30 feet of string should help you get there. Once you find the temp break, it'll generally be at about the same level throughout a smaller lake. Larger lakes more prone to strong wind/wave action often don't offer a thermocline because of the constant agitation/turnover of the water layers. For example, if I remember correctly, lakes like Mille Lacs, Leech and Vermilion often doesn't stratify for that reason, even during warmer summers.

And the caveat is that some lakes don't offer sufficient oxygen at or below thermocline, so it can really vary from lake to lake. The DNR's lake finder feature is a great aid in this case. If a person can't glean that info from the Lake Finder, the nearest DNR fisheries office will know if the lake stratifies, at what general depth, and whether there's good oxygen at or below thermocline. On the smaller northern MN lakes I've fished for midsummer pike most often, the thermocline is sharp and there's plenty of oxygen there.

I don't recall whether solid research gives an actual temp range preferred by large pike. My reading has that preference varying from 50 degrees up to the mid 60s.

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thanks steve, all great info. especially the dnr part. seriously under-used resources there. grin ... and i really like that avatar, WOW. where can i get a print of that? that's awsome.

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I would think that the pike would be influence by the type of prey. For example, the west end of Vermilion has high population of Cisco. East end is more perch based. Sucker distribution is unknown to me.

So pike might be doing one thing on east end and something else on west. Beats me what.

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