I love it when the weather turns a little cooler. It means that the opportunity to bag a Northern Pike is well on the way. How can I be so sure?
Well, I’ve got a tackle box full of some of the best Northern Pike lures in 2023. The good news is that I’m in just the mood to share, so today, I’ll show you the kind of thing I normally go for so I can approach the season with confidence.
The best Northern pike baits will normally represent something the Pike would normally eat or have an action that invokes a predatory and aggressive response. Pike, being sight hunters, respond better to easy-to-see lures.
As to what this looks like? Check out my list below.
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Best Lures for Northern Pike – What You Need in Your Tackle Box
Generally, when Northern pike fishing, you ideally want to take a selection of lures with you to cover you for all eventualities.
Here are the kinds of things you’d need to be fully set up:
Diving Jerk Baits
Spinners and Buzzbaits
You will find great examples of all of these in my list below. I cover what I like (and don’t) like so you can make the best possible choice.
Not sure whether you want to use a spoon or a spinner?
Well, why not use both?
Spoons and blade baits are both really effective Northern pike lures. In this instance, you get a large and durable metal spoon with added blades to increase flutter and movement.
At 3″ long, this is about the perfect length for Northern Pike.
If you’ve ever caught one before, you’ll already know that they can severely damage lures. The good thing here is that it is completely pike-proof, and provided you don’t lose it, it will pretty much last forever.
Great for casting distance.
Really great action.
While the additional blades are a good idea, I feel like they could get in the way of the treble slightly, and they are one more thing for your line to get tangled up on.
While not quite a simple as a pike spoon, I like the little extra overall. This is a solid choice for casting a good distance and when the Pike are in the mood to chase something.
I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Rapala. They tend to make really high-quality lures (admittedly with really high-quality prices). But, that said, they have produced effective pike-catchers for about as long as I can remember.
Pike really love gold-colored lures, which is why I thought this one would be great. With its large diving vane, you’ll be able to get down deep, especially on larger lakes where the big fish are lurking.
This lure also includes a rather loud rattle, making it just perfect for fishing in colored water.
And there’s more.
One standout feature I love is that it ‘suspends’ when you stop the retrieve. This is a unique attribute, as most other lures float back up to the top. This is great if you want to leave it hanging by a weed bed or drop off where you think Pike may be lurking.
Gold is one of the best colors for catching Northern Pike.
A great lure from a trusted manufacturer.
I love that it ‘suspends’ instead of floats.
It is a bit pricey.
I don’t have much faith that the finish will stay good for long, especially following a few pike attacks (which is very likely).
Rapala is one of the ‘big’ names for lure fishing, and this is for a reason. You get real quality, and this lure is no exception. I’d say it is well worth it, for the money.
Sometimes simple is the way to go. If you are plagued with tangles or just want something that casts well, these could be the Northern pike lures for you.
Oh, and before I forget.
They are pretty cheap.
With five in a pack, you are getting quite a lot for the money.
My favorite (and most successful) color to date is the luminous yellow jig. Still, the purple one also catches a few.
They look pretty realistic with a holographic eye, and I really like the forward ‘beard,’ which is, in fact, a pearlescent hook, adding a bit of action that is bound to trigger a pike.
Ideal as ice fishing jigs.
The forward hook did keep catching my line. It can get a bit irritating after a while (I ended up snipping it off with my fishing pliers, which you can see here).
Listen, you get what you pay for. I’ll put it like this. These are cheap, and for Northern Pike, they work. Don’t expect miracles, but they are pretty decent for the money. They aren’t my favorite for ice fishing. To see some better suggestions, you’d better head over here.
Want to do some topwater fishing for Northern Pike?
Check this out.
Ok, so it’s a bit unconventional, but that’s why I love it! Go bright yellow for something that will stand the best chance of success, even on sunny days.
The best thing about this lure is the forward ‘buzzer’. This whips through the water on the retrieve, making a buzz that Pike will travel far to investigate. It’s also great for fishing over areas packed with dense weed, which Pike happens to love.
And get this.
The upturned hooks ensure that you aren’t catching any other snags just beneath the surface.
Big Pike will annihilate mice, especially in the summer, and the body of this lure might just be a little nod to that.
The buzzer at the front works really well.
Super durable body.
Great for weed-free fishing.
It isn’t too wallet-friendly.
It isn’t that good for anything other than summer fishing.
You’d better make sure that you have a strong rod and reel, as this one is for big Pike only. If you like surface fishing, this is one that you will want in your tackle box for sure.
The forward tungsten section is super durable and surprisingly heavy, meaning you’ll get a pretty good cast. Forward to this, you’ll find a bright red blade that will churn the water and make lots of motion with a good retrieve.
The hook is hidden behind a lump of bucktail. It doesn’t look much on dry land, but in the water, it wiggles enticingly, provoking fish to bite.
You know me…
I’m a simple sort of guy, so this kind of thing really appeals to me. My advice would be to buy a range of colors and then that way you can find out what works.
Simple and durable construction.
Proven technology, Mepps spinners are lethal for Pike.
Great casting distance.
The bucktail works well, but it wouldn’t be long before it goes a bit bald.
Ok, so spinner fishing can get a bit boring. Still, if you are going to catch, it will be with one of these. Throw a couple in your bag, and supplement it with a few topwater lures, so you are always covered for both the deeps and the surface.
Choosing the Best Lures for Northern Pike – Things to Look For
Choosing good Northern pike baits isn’t rocket science. In fact, it is pretty simple. There are a few features that it really pays to look out for.
Tick all the boxes with your choice, and you stand a better than average chance of catching!
Here’s what to look for…
What Size Lure is Best for Northern Pike
The best size of lure for Northern Pike should ideally be under 4″, with an optimum being more like 3″. Pike have large mouths and can easily snap up bigger lures, but, being opportunists, they’ll demolish anything smaller too.
A smaller lure will catch both big and small Northern Pike, whereas a larger lure will only get the big guys, who bite far less frequently.
If you are after quantity (and, let’s face it, we all are), then slightly smaller lures are the way to go.
What Color Lures do Northern Pike Like
The best colors for Northern Pike tend to be those that are brightest. I normally opt for:
If I had to pick my all-time favorite color out of the above list, I would say go for gold! It is the perfect color for bright and dark days and seems to outfish every other color in my box!
Most fish that Northern Pike eat have a touch of golden coloring; brown trout, char, panfish, and small walleye are about this color, so it makes sense to have a few lures like this in your bag.
Movement and Action
Pike rely on sight to sense prey, but they also are experts in detecting minuscule vibrations that fish make when they are in distress.
Want the good news?
Good Northern Pike lures will nearly always feature something to encourage this. This could be things such as:
Wiggly tails or feet
A propellor (like with buzz baits)
A spitting face
An articulated body
Fur or feather tails
If you opt for jerk baits, you’ll nearly always find that they contain a few beads, creating a distinctive rattle. This noise is a great fish attractor, and Pike will swim along just to investigate what is causing all the racket!
Now and again, you’ll find a few extra features that make a lure well worth choosing. Here are some of the other things that I’ve found with the best lures in my bag:
Weed-free rigging – This is a must if you are a serious pike angler. You’ll normally find this is very easily achieved with soft plastics. They are ideal when fishing among weeds (which is exactly where pike love to hang out).
Interchangeable bodies – Again, soft plastics are ideal in this regard. You can mix and match the soft bodies with a range of different colored jigheads.
Replaceable hooks – It would be a shame to spend a fortune on a successful lure only to find you couldn’t use it as the hooks had degraded. If there are split rings, allowing you to change hooks, this is a big plus.
Great durability – Even the best-looking lure in the world will disappoint if it breaks with the first bite. Look for lures with solid bodies from well-known brands to avoid this happening.
Northern Pike Baits and Lures – FAQ
What lures work best for northern pike?
If in doubt, reach for either a soft plastic or a spinner. Northern Pike are just as triggered by action as appearance, and you’ll find the buzzing of a spinner or the action of a jerk bait is enough to get a bite when all else fails.
What is northern pike’s favorite food?
Northern Pike are actually really opportunistic and will eat just about anything. To give you some idea, here are things that they eat regularly:
Mice and water voles
Other, smaller Pike
You could take a full tackle bag with all of the above, but instead, try and get lures that look like a combination.
When should you strike when pike fishing?
You won’t need to strike when pike fishing. Their normal behavior is to rapidly tear into their prey from behind, so they effectively hook themselves. Pike charge in full steam and normally bite their prey before returning to finish the job.
Here’s a quick video showing how fierce they can be:
If you wanted proof that the above lures work, you’d see quite a few that are very similar!
Do pike like jerk baits?
Pike love jerk baits. The combination of the realistic appearance, alongside an effective wobbling, retrieve (and usually a rattle too), represents everything pike love. Namely, a wounded baitfish. They are one of the best lures for Northern Pike.
What is the best bait for pike fishing?
When fishing for the carnivorous Northern Pike, the best bait to use is undoubtedly live bait. This fish species 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 better understand what kind of live bait can be used to catch a Northern Pike.
Northern Pike – Live Bait Options:
The best Northern pike lures can make all the difference, especially when the fishing is tough. With the above guide, hopefully, you have a better idea.
All of the suggested lures on my list will work well. Can’t decide whether live bait or lures is going to be best? Check this article out and get the real answer to whether live bait is better, or not.