While many people hit the water with massive amounts of tackle in boxes that take up more space than a road trip with your kids, Northern Pike fishing actually requires very small amounts of tackle. Years ago I used to load my kayak with boxes upon boxes of gear to head out and fish. These days, I am down to a few trays and 3 rods when I head out for a 6-10 hour fishing trip for Northern Pike.

Like many others I used to have every type of lure along for the ride in an attempt to hook and land one of Canada’s top freshwater ambush predator. I would carry a vast array of spoons, jigs and plastics, crankbaits, spinners, poppers, plugs and buzz baits. Now I carry 2 tackle trays with 3 types of lures and about 2-3 variations of each lure.

One of the main issues with fishing for Northern Pike is that they are one of the toothy critters that can easily cut through fishing line and steal your lures. The solution to this is a durable leader that stands up to the sharp teeth of these stealthy freshwater eating machines. Many anglers use a steel or titanium leader attached to their fishing line but, personally I prefer to use Fluorocarbon Leader Material tied to my line.

Pike Lures


It is harder to see and does not kink the way steel or titanium does when you are landing that big Pike and it decides to death roll on you. I tie my lures directly to the leader instead of using a snap swivel to eliminate that extra connection that could potentially fail and cause me to not only lose my fish, but also my lure.

My tackle trays are very simplistic and contain what I now consider the necessities for Pike fishing. Tray one contains my spoons and 1 spinner. For spoons there is no substitute in my books for Len Thompsons. I carry 2 Len Thompson No. 2 and 2 Len Thompson No. 1 in both the Five of Diamonds – Yellow and Red and the Green Frog and 2 Len Thompson No. 2 Brass and Flame. To me these 3 spoons are a must have for every Northern Pike tackle box.

Pike Lures 2

The one spinner I carry is a large Mepps Giant Killer. This is a great lure for low light conditions and was the lure I landed a 44” 22lb Northern Pike on during an evening solo canoe fishing trip. When you are using this lure, you had better make sure you are using a rod and reel that will handle the weight of this big lure and your line should be at least 20-30lb braid. This lure has 2 treble hooks on it and I have found that most of the fish are caught on the trailing hook. While some areas have mandatory barbless hook regulations and some don’t, I highly recommend that everyone pinch the front hooks barb to make it easier to remove the hook from both the fish and your landing net.

My second tackle tray contains as many Storm Wildeye Live Pike, Perch and Walleye as I can cram into it. These life like hooks are what I would equate to a Pike’s Kryptonite!! The ultra realistic body shapes, color patterns and paddle tails make them a must have for all Northern Pike fisherman. I cannot even count the number of days I have been on the water with 1-2 fellow kayak anglers and we have collectively landed over 100 pike in a matter of hours using these lures. We have wathced Pike follow these right to the kayak and hammer it within 2 inches of the kayaks.

Pike Lures 3

I have had a 5 inch Live Pike lure hanging 3 inches below my wading boot in the water and had a 36 inch pike hammer it and peel off 60 yards of line before I had time to tighten the drag and set the hook. I made the mistake of showing my fishing partners how effective these lures are and now can no longer outfish them by 20-1. The reason I carry so many of these is that the Pike have a nasty habit of biting the paddle tails off of them.

I have a graveyard of tail-less Live Series lures hanging in my truck that is somewhat of a trophy display for me and a right of passage for everyone I take fishing to add to. Pike of any size with attack these lures and make no mistake, Norhtern Pike are the type of ambush predator that will attack any fish no matter how close to its own size it is. My personal best smallest pike on a 6 in Live Pike lure was 10 inches.

Pike Lures 4

I usually have 3 rods rigged up and ready to go with one of each of these lures on so that I do not have to waste time tieing a new lure on if the fish are not seeming interested in what I am throwing their way. Besides the tackle trays and rods, I carry a spool of Fluorocarbon Leader Material, a set of long needle nose pliers, a jaw spreader for those hard to remove hooks and a net to land large pike. That is one of the joys of fishing for Northern Pike. You need minimal gear for a great day of excitement and a lot of action.

Northern Pike are a top 25 fish, in my books, for every angler to pursue. They hit hard and fast and can be found in so many waterbodies that they are a perfect fish to target for anglers of all ages. Over the years these aggressive underwater missiles have taught me a lessons that I forgot from my father many years ago..

Mike Zilkowsky is a Wilderness Systems, AT Paddles and Scotty Fishing Products Pro-Staffer.


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