A List of The Best Bait For Northern Pikes


At BonfireBob, I recommend products based on unbiased research, but I will earn a commission if you shop through the links on this page.

Since I have recently been considering going on a fishing trip to catch a Northern Pike, I wanted to know what kind of bait is the best for attracting this type of fish. 

As a result, I did some research online to find out what the most popular bait is for Northern Pikes.

What is the best and most popular bait for Northern Pikes? The best thing to use for catching Northern Pike is live bait. This can be anything from small minnows and other bait fish. The live bait you choose can be paired with several different types of rigs and lures to attract more Pike to your line.

With the potential to grow up to 50 pounds, the Northern Pike is a thrilling fish to catch and reel in, to say the least. 

If you are planning on taking a journey to capture one of these interesting creatures, you are probably curious about what kind of bait to use. 

Don’t worry, this quick guide will help you get prepared with everything you need.

Be sure to know when Northern Pikes spawn

The 7 Best Live Bait For Northern Pikes

When fishing for the carnivorous Northern Pike, the best bait to use is undoubtedly live bait. This species of fish will eat almost anything it comes in contact with, from insects to small fish, they will even eat each other if the circumstance presents itself.

With that being said, take a look at the list below to get a better idea of what kind of live bait can be used to catch a Northern Pike.

Northern Pike – Live Bait Options:

  1. Minnows
  2. Perch
  3. Anchovies
  4. Gudgeon
  5. Ballyhoo
  6. Scad
  7. Small insects

Tips And Tricks: Fishing For Northern Pike With Live Bait

When fishing for Northern Pike with live bait, the process is not just as simple as hooking a smaller fish onto your line and throwing it into the water. Instead, it needs to be more calculated and planned out.

The tips listed in this section will help you get the results you want out of fishing for Northern Pike with live bait.

Top Tips For Northern Pike Fishing With Live Bait:

  1. Use larger bait for adult fish
  2. The bigger the bait – the bigger the Pike

It is important to understand what your goals are for your Northern Pike fishing trip, in order to be able to purchase the right bait for what you are trying to achieve.

For example, if you want to catch the biggest Northern Pike you have ever seen, you will need to plan out your live bait accordingly for that purpose. 

Alternatively, if your target is the smaller juvenile pike, you are likely to go a different route.

The larger adult Northern Pike will require larger bait. 

Instead of the traditional live minnow bait or small anchovies, you should go with a slightly bigger fish such as perch. This will attract more of the bigger fish that have an appetite for a larger meal.

Northern Pike that are not yet full grown adhere to a diet of tiny fish and even insects.

If you have access to this type of bait, you will be more likely to attract the younger crowd. These tactics will obviously not work for a huge 50 pound Pike, however.

In general, the bigger the bait that you throw into the water, the bigger the Pike will be that you catch. 

As explained before, the larger fish will have a larger appetite, so if you are aiming for a really big catch, you should go with a larger form of live bait.

Basically, whatever you put in to your Northern Pike fishing efforts will be exactly what you get out of it. Using the tips that were outlined in this section, you should have a better idea of which direction to go while choosing and purchasing your live bait.

How to Use Live Bait For Northern Pike Fishing

Now that you have been informed about the best types of bait to use for Northern Pike fishing, you won’t be able to have a successful catch without a few tips and tricks. 

Follow the techniques below for the best results on your fishing trip.

How To Use Live Bait For Northern Pike Fishing:

  1. Choose the right bait for the fish you would like to catch
  2. Throw your “live bait” into the water while it is dead

Once you have chosen the right size and type of bait and hooked it onto your line, you should keep in mind that live bait is not always the best when it is actually live, at least in this situation.

Since Northern Pike are predatory fish that often scavenge to find the remains of other fish and animals in the water, they are very likely to be attracted to a still minnow that is floating down toward the bottom of the water.

If you are in an area that you know Northern Pike are swimming around in, it is very easy to fool them with this little trick.

Fishing For Northern Pike Using Lures

On the contrary to the traditional method of stringing any kind of bait onto a fishing line and casting it into the water, Northern Pike can be caught using lures instead.

The Best Lures For Northern Pikes:

  • Spoons
  • Spinners
  • Swimbaits

Some of the best lures to use for Northern Pikes in particular are spoons, spinners, and swimbaits.

Spinners, in particular, are great for attracting the Pike that swim in heavily grassy areas in lakes or rivers. 

Since Northern Pike are predatory fish, they often lurk toward the bottom of the water, hiding in vegetation and weeds that grow underwater.

If you find a spinner that is attractive enough, you will most likely be able to lure one of these hungry fish out of their hiding place and capture them quickly once they fall for the trick.

To capitalize on the fact that Northern Pike are highly carnivorous fish, you can use a spoon lure. 

This will imitate the flutters in the water of a smaller fish that is injured. 

The pike will mistake the movement for something it can eat, and willingly swim right into your trap.

Swimbaits, or soft plastic lures, can be purchased to mimic the appearance of a small baitfish, such as a minnow. Instead of using real live (or dead) bait, you can use something that looks just like it.

Related Questions

Where are the best places to fish for Northern Pike?

Northern Pike can be found almost anywhere in Northern Rivers around the world. Specifically in the United States, you can fish for Northern Pike in the states of Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas, among many other areas. More specifically, you can look for these fish in slow and shallow areas.

Do people eat Northern Pike?

While it is true that Northern Pike is able to be safely consumed, most people prefer to leave this fish alone. Due to the distinct and unpleasant taste that comes with this aquatic creature, those who are experienced in fishing will stay away from eating Pike. However, it is edible and can be eaten at the fisherman’s discretion.

Are there any limits when it comes to fishing for Northern Pike?

Depending on the region in which the fishing takes place, fishermen are allowed to catch anywhere from 2 to 10 Northern Pike in the same day. This limit will vary from North Central, Northeast, and Southern regions.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Recent Content