Winter 2018 , caught on Wisconsin river
I agree with Daruoho,
Lakes with a cisco forage base always produce mega pike bass and musky. Okauchee is an example as well as Big Cedar which I believe has cisco. Lakes that are planted with trout produce as well. Not mentioning any as they tend to be small and spring fed. Big pike are the spawners so Pic's and a nice release. Problem is the size limit. Lakes like Delavan with a 32" limit means none go into the pan for me. I love eating northern pike and as good as walleye on the table. I prefer the smaller ones. With the 26" size limit on most lakes that means I have about 4" to play with 26" to 30" maybe 32". Pretty small window. A lake that produces some hawgs in the bays and backwaters is the Winnebago system. Not much pressure on them there.
That's my 3 cents worth.
Straithooks, that's a macdaddy freaknasty!! Beauty!
No offense taken. But did you read the OPs original query? He asked for ideas, tactics, and locations for the coming season. All have been provided for him. My pic is from last year, fish was caught the season prior. God willing that fish is still available for the OP to catch. I for one appreciate all the awesome pics provided. Thanks guys! Provides inspiration for us all.
No offense guys, but the name of the thread is big pike 2018. I can dig up pictures going back 20 years and fill it up. Just wanna see some from this year. Also, the spoon plugging thing is a game changer, but puts a lot of stress on the fish, especially mid summer when water temps push upper 70s. Did it once, and after taking 10 minutes to revive a big girl, I stopped doing it. But, I hate trolling anyway.
lets see some pics from this year. And btw, the season is closed on most waters (for those who might not know).
I forgot to mention that the 38 inch pike that was caught during late ice in 2016 was caught one year later and she was 39.5. The point here is that if you ever want to land a rare 40" pike then please release those big females. I can guarantee this pike was caught at least once at (26" - 30") and at least once from (30" - 36"), so thanks to those CPR fishermen who let this fish grow into a possible trophy sized pike. This fish is probably now pushing 40.5" to 41" today since I didn't catch her this past winter. Or it may have died of old age.
Check out the fish identical skin markings/patterns from base of the tail and up to the first anal fin.
The small or shallow lakes that hold big pike usually have flowing springs, a couple in SE Wisconsin come to mind for me. I don’t think it’s much of a secret anymore, but big pike for the most part prefer cooler water. The lakes I look for ideally stratify in the summer with a thermocline deep enough to allow the large pike cool oxygenated water. If you crank your sonar gain enough you can see it. I like to see the “line” at 30-35 FOW. If the lake has a soft finned high energy forage all the better. The problem is quite a few of the SE Wisconsin lakes that historically had Ciscoes no longer do. One of my favorite lakes hit 90 degrees surface temperature in 2012. I’m pretty sure the Ciscoes in this particular lake died that year. The warm water pushes down from the surface and the Thermocline creeps up from below leaving them no where live. Purgatory Pinch I believe is what it’s called. In the absence of Ciscoes stocked trout in one of these deep cool oxygenated lakes is definitely a plus. Once again there are definitely lakes in SE Wisconsin where this occurs. I agree with some of the already mentioned destinations. Sturgeon Bay, Mendota, I’ll also add Big Cedar, Big Cedar used to be a gold mine, multiple 40s every summer, those days are gone but there are still quite a few monsters in there. I’m leaving out all the smaller lakes, because they can’t always take the pressure! I’m strictly catch and release on the big girls. I even caught one beast at 39” and then again at 41”. She was probably within 30 linear feet from where I’d caught her the prior year or two. It’s a cool chunk of deep water structure, 30-35 FOW.