When do Pike Spawn?

The Northern Pike, also commonly known as the Squawfish, is a native North American species of fish that resides in the western areas of the continent.

They are predatory fish, and are often targeted by anglers in exchange for bounty rewards.

When Do Pike Spawn?

Northern pike usually spawn between the months of April and July. While they can be found in the areas of California, Idaho, Montana, and Colorado, they are most often found in the states of Oregon and Washington.

Northern pike are a very interesting species of fish. They are widely considered to be pests by the fishing community, which is why parks and organizations are so keen on getting rid of them.

Regardless of the negative light that they are viewed in, learning their spawning locations and patterns can help ecologists and fishermen identify how many invasive organisms there are in each body of water.

Keep reading to get all of the in-depth research that we conducted on the same topic.

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More About When Pike Spawn!

If you are on the hunt for spawning Pikeminnow for one reason or another, the first thing to consider is when they spawn. After all, you won’t be able to catch them in the act if you don’t have a clear time period of when these events occur.

To begin our discussion on the full breakdown of when and where Pikeminnow spawn, we will get into detail on the “when” part of the equation.

Take a look at the list down below to get a quick breakdown on when you can expect Pikeminnow to begin their spawning process.

When Pike Spawn

  • Spawning season begins toward the end of April
  • Ends in the beginning of July

The Northern Pikeminnow begin the spawning season toward the end of the month of April. However, this exact time period will depend on the temperature of the water, which we will get into next.

They put an end to their spawning activities when the month of July begins, due to the temperature conditions as well.

Reasons Why Pikeminnow Spawn During These Seasons

  • Temperature conditions meet the requirements for spawning activity to begin
  • Most ideal temperature for safe hatching of eggs
  • Water temperature is approximately 12 degrees Celsius (just over 50 degrees Fahrenheit)

As previously mentioned, Pikeminnow spawn between April and July in order to achieve the right temperature conditions. This is due to the fact that the eggs cannot be too cold or too hot.

The specific water temperature is approximately 12 degrees Celsius during this time, or just over 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Where do Pikeminnow Spawn? A Complete List by State

Now that you have gotten a pretty good idea of the timeline in which Pikeminnow begin their spawning process, it is important to understand where they are while they are carrying this out.

While attempting to locate Pikeminnow during spawning time, you must know exactly when they will do it, along with where they are during the period in question. These two factors essentially go hand-in-hand, and one without the other will not be of much use to anyone with a similar goal.

To help you out in learning everything there is to know about this topic, we have done some in-depth research in order to pull together a complete list by state that details where you can find Pikeminnow spawning.

Refer to the information down below to get a general idea of where this occurs, and keep reading for more of the specific details about where in the United States you can find these fish.

The Types of Water in Which Pikeminnow Spawn

  • Water that is flowing (with some kind of current)
  • Mostly rivers, lakes, and streams
  • Most commonly found in inlet streams during spawning time

The most general areas that Pikeminnow spawn, within their respective states, are following water bodies with a current, including rivers, lakes, and streams. The most common areas to find them, though, are inlet streams.

The list below will give you some insight on where Pikeminnow spawn in terms of states.

The Main States Where Pikeminnow Spawn

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Oregon
  • Washington

While it is true that you can find Northern Pikeminnow scattered among the water bodies in the states listed above, there are certain areas where they are most concentrated.

These areas happen to be the main locations that host Pikeminnow Bounty Fishing Rewards Programs.

In the detailed table down below, we will be going over every state in which Pikeminnow spawn, and specific locations in the states in which they spawn.

StateDo Pikeminnow Spawn There?Specific Location If Yes
CaliforniaYesMid-Elevation Streams and Rivers
ColoradoYesSan Juan River System
IdahoYesKootenai River System
MontanaYesWest of the Continental Divide
New HampshireNo
New JerseyNo
New MexicoNo
New YorkNo
North CarolinaNo
North DakotaNo
OregonYesThe Dalles Boat Basin
Rhode IslandNo
South CarolinaNo
South DakotaNo
WashingtonYesBoyer Park
West VirginiaNo

Where Specifically Do Pikeminnow Spawn in the Water?

In addition to the locations by state where you might find Pikeminnow spawning, it is important to understand where to actually find them.

To be more specific, Pikeminnow will usually stick to certain areas in each water body in order to carry out this process.

To help you out on your hunt, we have, again, followed through with some detailed research about the exact locations that Pikeminnow choose to spawn, which you will find outlined in the list down below.

Where Pikeminnow Spawn in the Water

  • Up the stream/river less than 100 meters
  • For lakes: spawning takes place in the first to second riffle

When you are looking for spawning Pikeminnow in the water body of your choice, it is important to understand that these types of fish swim upstream during their spawning process.

We will get into the details of how they do this in the next section, but the main point right now is how far they actually swim. You can count on Pikeminnow swimming up the stream or river less than 100 meters, not much more than that, though.

This can make it much easier to locate them, because they basically stay in a certain area of each water body in question.

For lakes, on the other hand, the spawning will always take place in the first to second riffle. Once you locate this area, you will be on your way to discovering the spawning Pikeminnow fish that you have been seeking out.

Check out my article on the difference between Northern Pike and Peamouth.

The Spawning Process of The Northern Pikeminnow

As you can see, there are many factors that are involved in locating the spawning Pikeminnow. Once you have figured out when they spawn, which states they reside in, as well as where they will be located within each individual water body, there is one more topic to discuss.

That is, what you will actually see when you finally locate them. To conclude this entire conversation, we will be briefly discussing the spawning cycle of the Northern Pikeminnow.

In other words, you will be learning exactly how Pikeminnow spawn: including what they do and what you will see when you are seeking them out.

The basic process is outlined in organized bullet points down below, with more details to follow.

The Spawning Process of The Northern Pikeminnow

  • Male and female Pikeminnow swim rapidly upstream
  • Males shoot sperm and females release eggs (sticky texture)
  • They join together and hatch within less than one week (about 5,000 eggs at the very least, up to almost 100,000 in one spawning session)

Pikeminnow Swim Rapidly Upstream

As previously mentioned, the Northern Pikeminnow will begin their spawning process by swimming rapidly upstream. This is done by both the males and females, but the females are much faster, meaning that they take the lead.

Males Shoot Sperm and Females Release Eggs

The males, following closely behind them, will shoot their sperm while the females release their eggs. The eggs that are given out by the female Pikeminnow have been reported to have a rather sticky texture to them, which helps in executing the next step.

The Sperm and Eggs Join Together to Hatch

The sperm and eggs will join together and hatch in the water within less than one week. More specifically, it usually takes about 6 days, more or less, for the baby Pikeminnow to finally be born.

In total, there are between 5,000 and 100,000 eggs laid and hatched by each female during each spawning session. With that being said, it isn’t hard to understand why this species of fish has become such a problem in multiple water bodies all over North America.

Although there are plenty of rewards fishing programs that pay real money for catching and removing these fish, they pop up left and right after the spawning season.

Now You Know

With all of that being said, whether you are hunting for Pikeminnow or just curious about how they operate, there is no doubt that you are now an expert on their spawning locations and patterns.

Do what you will with this information, but with all of the tips that were outlined in this article, you will definitely be able to locate and witness a Pikeminnow spawning season, or pass these details on to someone else who will.

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.

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