Best Time of the Day for Northern Pike Fishing

Geoff Stadnyk in Fishing Guides on

Whether it’s Winter, Summer, Fall, or Spring, you can always catch pike. Although you can fish pike all year round, specific times of the day are best for fishing in each season. Follow this guide to learn the best time of the day to fish northern pike each season.

The best time to fish northern pike depends on its behavior and feeding patterns. Northern pikes are most active as they wake up in search of food. This behavior doesn’t change regardless of the season.

They are far more active in the mornings as they roam the water searching for food. A few hours past midday, their hunger is satiated, and they move very little. Set out before sunrise to get a great catch, just as the northern pikes are about to hunt for food.

Another time when northern pikes are active is before their sleeping period. They often swim around to seek food just before they go to sleep. It is possible to catch a northern pike at night, but it doesn’t come easy. This breed is known not to fish in the dark and is less mobile at night. If you want tips for nighttime pond fishing, check this article.

As the peculiarities of day and night change seasonally, so does the best fishing time for northern pike. Here are some factors that influence the behavior and fishing patterns of pike!

  • Season
  • Weather
  • Water temperature
  • Spawning season
  • Daylight
  • Behavior and activity of the fish they eat.

For a rewarding fishing trip, here is all you need to know about the right time of the day to fish for pike in different seasons!

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Northern Pike Fishing In Spring

Spring is the spawning season for northern pikes. They move to shallow waters like bays, estuaries, and tributaries in lakes to furrow narrows to spawn in. This pattern usually occurs at the early onset of spring.

Pikes are very active during spring. However, they become less active at the end of spring as they rest from the spawning season to prepare for summer feeding. Pike will begin to move from deeper waters and slowly make their way to the shallow parts as the water heats up in the summer sun.

Best Time of the Day for Northern Pike Fishing in Spring

The best time considered to fish for pike in spring is the early morning before sunrise, late afternoon, and just before twilight. The worst time to set out to catch a northern pike is early to late afternoon or after sunset. However, compared to other seasons, the northern pike is usually more active at midday, especially at the onset of spring, right to the middle of the season.

Northern Pike Fishing In Winter

successful northern pike fisherman pulling freshly caught pike up through hole in ice, catching it on a tip-up

During Winter, the feeding window of the northern pike changes as there’s far less daylight available. Fishing for pike at freezing temperatures can be rewarding if you know the right time for it!

At nights, the water is cold, and there is little movement. Your best bet is to come around when the sun begins to warm up the water and the pike goes in search of food. There are fewer fish in the open this season, and the pike gets very aggressive and active as they search to get a meal. Their feeding window is shorter, and they soon go to the deep parts of the water to conserve their energy.

Best Time of the Day for Northern Pike Fishing in Winter

You have to optimize your fishing time in the best way possible. Avoid fishing in the late afternoons or at night when the pikes are inactive. You have about 4-5 hours each day for optimal fishing conditions—your best bet for a good catch in Winter is early in the morning, just before sunrise. Choose a good spot and set your line. If it rains, you can rest assured that pikes will be out to search for baitfish in the shallows. Hence, it’s a good time to go fishing. However, this is not the case when it snows. Snow affects daylight by diffusing sun rays and ultimately changing their feeding window.

Northern Pike Fishing In Summer

In summer, the pikes are just recovering from the spawning season. They are hungry and will show a lot of aggressive behavior in search of food. The hotter temperatures of the summer affect where and when to find northern pike.

As the oxygen level at the waters’ surface is usually low because of the hotter temperature, you won’t find pikes in the shallow waters. You will find them in cooler regions at the bottom in deep water.

Best Time of the Day for Northern Pike Fishing in Summer

The best time to fish for pikes in summer is the early hours of the morning or late in the evenings. The water is cool at night remains cool at dawn just before it gets warmed up by the sun. If you choose to fish in the evening with plans to head out again at dawn, consider staying overnight for a good catch. Once the sun gets hot, the northern pike will retreat to cooler regions. That’s a good time to call it a day.

Northern Pike Fishing In Fall

Fall is undoubtedly the best time to catch a northern pike. If you’re looking to get a trophy fish, this is the best season for you! Northern pikes grow to their largest during Fall. You’ll find them in prime condition this season.

The waters are getting cooler, and it’s spawning season for baitfish, which means more food for the pike. As winter approaches, pikes feed more to prepare for the spawning season after Winter.

Best Time of the Day for Northern Pike Fishing in Fall

The best time to fish for pike in Fall is from dawn through to the middle of the day. They are usually found in the deeper regions than shallows. The temperatures are cooler during the day than during summer, so they remain active mildly through the day till dusk. The worst time is the middle to late afternoon when the sun is up and hot.

In conclusion

The best time of the day for northern pike fishing in spring is the early morning before sunrise, late afternoon, and just before twilight. In Winter, the early mornings are your best bet. The best time to fish pike during summer is at dawn or late evening when the water gets cool again. And during Fall, dawn through the middle of the day can land you a great catch! Generally speaking, early mornings are best for northern pike fishing regardless of the season.

Geoff Stadnyk

Geoff started fishing as a child in the gorgeous lakes of Mammoth, while on family vacations. His fishing experience includes the use of fly rod and reel. Guided trips along the Madison and Gallatin rivers in Montana, the Frying Pan and Animus in Colorado, and the Deschutes river in Oregon have all paid off and helped make Geoff the angler and writer that he is today.

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