Catching fish from shore presents many challenges for even the most seasoned fishermen. Fortunately for us, we’re shore fishing specifically to catch northern pike. Our biggest challenge when fishing for northern pike from shore is finding where they are hiding. It can be a difficult task when you’re limited to where you can catch from. You don’t get many options when you’re stuck in one spot alongside a riverbank or shoreline of a lake. However, you can still have significant success from the shoreline if you’re open to changing your approach or style of fishing.
Your ability to catch pike from shore will rely on your skill in finding them, and whether they’re feeding. The northern pike is an aggressive hunter fish that will attack your lure whether finding it in the middle of the lake or near the shoreline. All you need to do is locate where they’re hiding, get their attention, and be ready to react.
Catching Pike From The Shoreline Tips
Catching Pike from the shore is not that different from catching pike while on a lake or river. You’ll find that the hardest thing with catching pike from shore is finding where they are hiding. Like open water fishing you need to locate them; however, this is not as easy as you’d think when you don’t have a boat. Below we provide you with some core tips to greatly
Fan-casting technique when fishing from shore
The best way to locate pike from the shore is to pick the spot you wish to fish from and begin fan casting the area. Fan casting is no different than regular casting, and only your casts are not random. You start casting on one side, whether it be your far left or right, and gradually move to the opposite side scanning the general area to see if any pike will give up their hiding spot. Cast your line out and let it sink a little before you begin your retrieve.
Pay attention to how deep your lure is and how far out you’re casting
Develop a feel for your lure and how it moves in the water, if it gets a hit, snags a weed, touches the bottom? All these things will help you to develop an overall impression of the area you’re fishing, or if you’ll need to move to a new area along the shoreline. Usually, northern pike can be found in waters that are 2-15 feet deep. If you happen to stumble upon a weed bed, you’ll want to try a few casts in this area as pike will often hide in weed beds and the shallow areas.
The right pike lure for the situation
Use floating crankbaits, spinners or a jointed floater that move just above the weed beds to avoid too much entanglement. These lures are also effective in shallow water, and I’ve had a lot of success with topwater baits like these. Don’t overthink your lure too much. Pike are incredibly aggressive and will attack just about anything if they’re hungry. They will typically hit the trailing bait if you’re using a lure that mimics this, so keep the bait as clean as you can and free from any weeds.
The speed of retrieve
How fast you retrieve will depend on the pike that day, but generally, it will be a quicker retrieve. The Northern Pike is known as the “Water Wolf” so it will hunt and chase down your lure or live bait. Live bait isn’t necessary as pike aren’t fussy eaters, but is never a bad idea either. There are many replica lures out there that mimic live bait, and other lures like the DarDevle are legendary when it comes to catching pike. You can check the all-time best pike lures we reviewed recently.
Pike can also be an opportunistic fish and will snatch up easy prey that may be sitting idle, but you won’t have much success leaving your lure motionless. I suggest using a plug and slowing your retrieve just enough to give your lure a tiny shake. Doing so gives an illusion of wounded prey, and in my experience, when pikes are feeding, they will hit this as fast as the lure hits the water.
How To Catch Pike In A River?
Shoreline fishing along a river is similar to idle waters fishing, but rivers are always moving, so you’ll find that plugs and crankbaits aren’t very effective. When fishing for northern pike in a river the best lure of choice will be some variety of spoon. While you search for an area to fish from, keep a lookout for a feeder creek. Feeder creeks are generally warmer than the river, and pike will likely be more abundant in this area. There’s a warm water discharge in the spring from these creeks that make it a very attractive area to fish for northern pike, and in the summer the feeder creek will also create a current which is appealing to them.
Best Time Of Day To Fish For Northern Pike?
The best time of day to fish for northern pike will be early in the morning just as the sun is coming up. You’ll get another chance to hammer some pike late in the afternoon or early evening as the water begins to cool. Pike do not hunt in the dark so once the sun goes down, you might as well pack it in. Because they don’t feed at night, pike are hungry and very active first thing in the morning as they hunt for their food. Be ready to take advantage of this and not show up late to the morning buffet of lures that good fisherman will have in the water for them.
On the other hand, pike pretty much attacks anything thrown in front of them so you still can catch them during the lazier part of the day. However, during this time you will require some patience and hunting of your own to entice the pike to attack your lure. They will hang out in deeper waters once the sun reaches its peak around 11 am, so you’ll likely have to troll these areas or make your lure appear like easy prey, lying low in the weed beds. They get rather lazy after they’re done feeding in the morning, so I can’t emphasize enough the prime-time of early morning fishing.