AnglingBuzz: Fishing the comfort zone of deep summer pike, Northland Outdoors

Once early-summer water temperatures in the shallows reach about 70 F, big pike seem to disappear. In effect, they head to deeper, cooler water, suspending above or inside summer thermoclines, lying across basins, or shifting toward areas where cool-water springs enter a lake. Warmer temperatures just plain stress them out, and fish exceeding 10 pounds or so hightail it for cooler options, in areas where most pike anglers don’t fish. Thus, when you fish classic weedbeds, deep weedlines and shallow structures during midsummer, the biggest pike simply may not be around.

Yet they are occasionally caught around deep midlake rock humps, or by anglers trolling crankbaits in 25 to 30 feet of water. Freak accidents? No. Simply the results of anglers fishing where the big pike are at that time of the year. If a lake has sufficient oxygen in deep water to support suspended baitfish like ciscoes, chances are big pike are right down there with them, chowing down on abundant silvery forage.

During the heat of midsummer, tactics akin to fishing lake trout catch big pike in, say, 30 to 50 feet of water, typically around the tips of rock points extending into the deep main basin, or around the perimeters of deep midlake humps. Begin by scouting potential areas with your electronics, and when they reveal schools of baitfish and big fish at these extreme depths, chances are that many of them are pike.

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