OK. I want to troll a local lake at night for pike, and specifically want to target BIG fish. I'm OK with only one bite all night if the fish is BIG (mid-thirties+). I plan on targeting them in the basins fishing 30-35 fow. I am searching for crankbaits that are 6-8 inches and will dive at least 20 feet when trolled. If you have any specific suggestions, I am all ears. I have my eye on a Livetarget crank in a realistic perch pattern. I imagine that the primary forage in this lake is bluegill, but there are a good number of walleye too. What has worked for you guys/gals and thanks for the feedback.
Trolling crankbaits for deep water Summer pike
You may want to consider jigging the deep weed lines and breaks instead. Before I moved out of SE WI we would target lakes like Big Cedar, Lake Beulah etc. after work. These lakes have relatively deep basins with chance for bigger fish. We would jig from outside of weed line to about 22 feet depending on the contours. 3/4 oz jigs with plastics or a large minnow. Or a 1oz single spin with a small blade and big minnow. Very effective. My PB was 44"
Pike do eat at night but are much Inactive overall. I’d troll for them during daylight myself.
Come to think of it, I have caught northern at night but only ice fishing. I been trolling at night for walleye once or twice a week and I'm a little surprised that I have not hooked any northern doing it.
I located this internet article-
Aside from the hot water another stone in the road is that northern pike are sight feeders. I don't think I have ever caught one at night. As far as I can tell northerns only eat from dawn till dusk.
Yeah trolling is pretty hard on them when the water is hot. I put the rods away when the surface temps hit 80. Plus they're much fatter in the Fall too!
I will defer to the research. Looks like I'll try this in mid-September or October.
The answer to your question depends who you talk to. I follow the studies done by Ontario Canada. They spent a ton of money on water temp and barotrauma studies because of the significant tourism dollars fisherman bring in. They need to maintain good fisheries in order to keep that money flow. I believe their magic numbers were 80 degrees for water temp caused big fish to struggle in clearing lactic acid and cause increased mortality. The mortality was greater if the fish was caught at or below thermocline. 30ft for majority of lakes would be "at or below" the thermocline. 11 meters or roughly 35ft is where swim bladders "pop". There are also studies showing over 90% of these fish die at the bottom of the lake instead of floating which means we never really see the effects of our fishing. Most people that concentrate on toothy fish follow within the above parameters. if you have questions feel free to PM me. I troll a ton for pike and musky around southern wisconsin.
I have been catching pike incidentally in the shallows and they have been absolutely feisty as h*** when I release them. Also, I'm not trying to fish below 35 feet as I have heard this is the threshold for the swim bladder. Lake I am fishing is 80. Is this too hot? Never would have thought so. Perhaps I'll wait until the fall then, and use a shallower presentation. There are numerous videos on deep water trolling for pike so people do it. I generally only fish for salmonids below 35 feet. I'm always interested in trying new techniques. I'm not a "pike/musky" fisherman by any means.
There is a good chance you wont get a lot of help. At that depth and especially with these water temps you will kill a lot of fish with Barotrauma and over exertion with very little diffused oxygen in the water. If you do go with this plan please lear how to fizz fish.