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ThunderLund78

Pike on opener this year

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Much of our daytime fishing on opener is focused on pike since my friends and I fish a very clear lake in central, MN. Most years we find our best numbers in the emerging weeds in the darker bottomed bays in 8-10 ft. Sometimes they're already hugging the steep breaks when it's a warmer year and weeds are more established.

But this year I think its going to be a whole new ballgame. There's a fair chance we wont even have open water in our location and may have to postpone the trip. But if lakes do open up right before opener, where do you think they'll be at? Even shallower?

And perhaps it's appropriate to pose the ethical question; since the bigger females will likely be in the process of spawning out, should one even target them?

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I think the ice will be out (as long as you are not way up north) in enough time that they will complete most of their spawning before fishing starts. They might be tired out and still in the shallows though.

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The ice will be off, I don't care what anyone says, the ice is bad right now. The snow might delay it a day or two, but I don't think ice out will be much later than my original prediction of the 20th. Even with this colder weather, I think ice out is a sure thing before the end of the month. As far as tactics, I can only guess right now. Assuming ice out 2 weeks before opener, we may very well be fishing the sucker spawn. I never have before, but I am already prepping by buying sucker colored lures, and locating incoming streams on depth maps. My guess is you find the mouth of a stream or river and you will find pike. But its too far out, for all I know it will be 80 degrees from next Thursday on, and central Minnesota lakes (where I am) will be up to 70 degrees by opener.

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Northerns typically spawn within 2 weeks of ice out. At this rate we very well may be pushing that. I won't chase them up shallow, but I might go up and try to see them in action. Gives you an idea of what's in there.

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They'll be shallow and they will be probably be very active at chasing thing's away from there nests. I have a feeling there are going to be some monsters caught on opener I just hope they get put back. Coy colored bait will probably be really good in the north country as the suckers will be doing there thing.

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I be using the biggest dead sucker minnows and shiners I can find in very shallow water sight fishing for spawners.

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First, pike do not build nests. They randomly spread their eggs throughout the weeds.

Secondly, if you are going to target them with bait, please use quick strike rigs for the sake of the fish and set the hook as soon as the pike picks up the bait. That way you'll hook them in the corner of the mouth allowing for a successful release. Using bait, especially deadbait, is one of the deadliest tactics for big pike available. Right after ice out, pike are biologically programed to eat dead fish. They are recooperating from the spawn (and many pike spawn under the ice depending on the year) and need to add calories without expending any energy to do it. So, big pike congregrate in areas where dead fish are plentiful. Incoming water like streams and rivers are the prime location where dead fish trapped in the ice or in pools wash into pockets. Below water falls or rapids are another great option. Hit this right and you'll find the biggest pike in the system. And lots of them. If you let pike swallow the bait, you'll end up killing a bunch of them and cause terrible damage to the entire system. Please take good care of these big pike so others can get a thrill too.

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"pike do not build nests"

Yep and they are not territorial no matter what people tend to think. They are a predator that roams looking for a meal and/or roams as they spawn distributing eggs. If ice comes out very late they might even spawn before it is totally out. They will spawn before ice out if they have to. I tend to agree with sloughshark.....how can you guess at this point? This is MN. It could be in the 80s the last two weeks of April and our shallow lakes and bays could heat up very quickly. Too soon to tell where the fish will be.

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what kind of set up should I have for northerns on the mighty miss.I caught one by accident under a bridge in two feet of water last fall .It was 26.5 inches long caught it with a worm on a floating jig.I also was wondering If northern hang out a lot in wide fast waters near dams.The water slows down as you get closer to the bridge that's about a couple of thousand yards.

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I have never fished a river much for pike but this spring (if you can call this spring) I have already noticed some in the shallows in current filled areas that opened up due to the river going through the lake. They might just be moving to spawn of course but you can see a lot of bait fish in the same areas so I would guess they are chasing food in the current and/or ambushing food that can not fight the current as well as they can.

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