Pike opener... predictable patterns

Pike opener... predictable patterns

In many places in Ontario pike is open year round, so patterning these toothy snot rockets isn't anything new. They really can be a four season fish if you have that itch. However there is something special about the spring time as more bodies of water become eligible to target these species on. This passed week pike (and walleye) opened up on a favorite body of water of mine. Georgian bay! This do all fishery is known to spoil a fisherman one day only to severely humble them the next but with its countless bays, islands, inlets, shallow and deep water you are never short of opportunity at redemption. I had recieved a heads up that water temps were still in the 40's in the main channels and with the sustained wind over multiple days it made sense to look for areas that would either stay relatively protected from the winds or areas where the wind was pushing that warmer surface water towards. I opted to stay in sheltered areas and bounce around as much as I could looking for the warmest water I could find. This brings me to the topic of this article, understanding how the variables that make one area warm up quick while other areas stay cool. For areas to warm up quick we need to have a couple things going for us, sun exposure, depth and steepness of the bank, wind effects, and as a bonus, inflow areas. There are more things to keep in mind but for me these are the factors I focus on most.

First off let's look at sun exposure, everybody knows that if as the sun beats down on the water, the surface temps will rise. But then as the day cools into night those same areas tend to cool down again. So when I mention sun exposure what I am actually looking to see when I look at Google maps is what the banks and maybe even the first couple feet under the water is made of. If I can find a pocket that looks like it is lined with rock, preferably that nice canadian shield rock that slopes into the water, that will be a spot I make sure to take a look at, because on those sunny, sunny days as the surface temps warm so does that rock and as the sun sets that warm rock will help to maintain the temps just a little bit better and that little bit can add up to a big difference over the coarse of a couple day/weeks.  Not to mention that the warming effects of the sun are only amplified along the shore especially when clarity is good and the sun is really able to start warming up the bottom structure as well, which ties us right into depth and the steepness of the bank. For as much as I love fishing deeper water 15, 20, 25+ feet there is a time and place for it, and spring pike isn't it! That being said you can't just run to the shallowest flattest bay and expect to find every pike in the lake. Now there may be days where that's exactly the deal especially in a scenario where they are still coming out from the ditches and drainage they spawn in, but for most of ontario ice out was a while back and most of that action is done. So while you aren't looking to fish in 15, 20, 25+ feet it's not a bad idea to look for areas where those depths are close by. A perfect example would be something like a bay that has a main ditch running into it that stays deep for a good stretch before coming up and leveling off as you get to the back of the bay or a channel that runs through an area that has some shallow protected water somewhere along it. If the bay stay too deep for too long it's not likely going to produce the warmer water that is likely to draw in fish and produce multiple fish in a single area and of the possible fish in that area it will be harder to get a bite even once they are located as a general rule.

Now you've located spots on the map that look like they should be warming up nicely and head out to check them you get there to find out the temps are pretty much exactly the same as the main section you just turned in from, it doesn't make sense... until it does. As we know the surface temps are the first thing to climb they are also the first thing to get pushed around by the wind and waves. So keeping track of the weather, in particular the wind direction for a day or two leading up to the day you intend to hit the water can play a vital role in your success even before heading out for the day. If you are going to put the time into google mapping arohnd a lake dont cut yourself short and stop once youce found 2 or 3 places find as many spots that fit the profile but are exposed to different wind factors because more often then not one side of the lake will be home to agressive and active fiah while the other side will be home to a more docile and lethargic population. So finding an area that seems to be sheltered from as many angles as possible or finding areas that are exposed to a recent/ongoing consistent wind will only improve your chances because not only do pike like warm water but so does their food. 

As a bonus if you've checked all the boxes and the wind is cooperating there is one other thing that helps boost the odds in your favor. However this is like the cherry on top, it's a nice addition but not the main attraction. A source of inflowing water, especially after a warm spring rain. That fresh warm oxygenated water will attract alot of baitfish and baitfish attract predators and if you happen find an area with the right little mixture and water is flowing in from a back creek it becomes that much easier to decide where to target most of your time. Whether casting or trolling make sure to put in considerable effort in the area that surrounds that inflow and the first couple pieces of structure around it. More often then not you can pull multiple fish from a rather small area in a scenario like this.

I hope this helps for those who struggle to scratch that first pike of the season off their list. Or helps to dial in your personal pike fishing experience on the bodies of water you fish. They are a ferocious and energetic predator, and in the spring they become so predictable and targetable for anglers of all ages and skills. Get out there and get hooked up in the warmest water you can find. If this article or any other article has helped you give me a shout show me your fish, and brag away after all you put in the work to get it done so you've earned your Braggin' Rights.

Back to blog