Hi fellow anglers, fishing enthusiasts and AMFisHers! Summer is upon us and I am sure many of you out there that fish Island Lake enjoy catching pike! Pike always make for some great fun and exciting catches, as they are right up there on the top list of predatory fish in our fresh waters and are the top predator fish species in Island Lake.
This blog post is specifically about how to catch pike on Island Lake and I thought I would start off by sharing some tips on how to catch these aggressive guys. The one key tip is to keep your baits relatively small with lean looking bodies on the baits, as bait fish are quite small until mid to late summer so a 2″ to 3″ length in a leaner body style is a good choice to start off with. Matching the actual forage size in Island Lake with your baits, will definitely get you tugging back on more fish strikes, so be sure to observe the size of bait fish you see swimming around. With so many baits on the market these days, it’s not easy picking what to use but companies Rapala, Bomber, Strike King and many other brands have various baits in this size and typically crankbaits in natural colors like perch, silver, gold and white can be extremely productive this time of year. Even going to a mid to larger size Mepps spinner, a #4 or #5 blade and the same size in a Blue Fox spinner will do the trick. Silvers and gold’s are good colour choices for these baits, as they correctly match bait fish colours, example silver would resemble a baby largemouth bass or crappie and a gold would match a baby perch or sunfish. If you are more into using live bait, you can also catch a lot of pike just by using minnows that you can get from the Island Lake bait shop, as live bait will be sure to attract the attention of those roaming predators! A simple way to rig live minnows is by pushing a hook through their mouth so they stay alive longer and attaching a small lead sinker up on your line about 1 foot away from the hook(see image below for reference), cast it out and be ready for the strike! I would suggest grabbing the largest size minnows they have in that 2 1/2 to 3 inch range, if you are looking to hook into some of those bigger pike.
The pike in Island Lake can range from those 10 inch little hammers (they are called this due to their size that resembles the length of a hammer handle), right up to 30+ inch fish! Yes you heard me right, I said 30+ inch pike swimming around in Island Lake! How do I know this? Well I have been fishing Island Lake for many years now and have landed some nice size Northern Pike ranging from 26″ right up to 36″ with some good girth on them as well. Pike tend to seek the warmer water in the late spring and early summer months and can often be seen sitting still in the shallows sunning themselves or roaming around in search of food, so this is where you will want to fish. You will want to also consider retrieving your baits faster this time of year, as fish will be a more aggressive when it comes to feeding and those faster moving baits do not give the fish much time to see what they are about to attack, they get a glimpse of something scurrying by and usually go in for the kill quite quickly.
Tiny little 8 to 10 inch Island Lake pike that bit off more than he could chew!
This was a 30 plus inch Island Lake pike and a thick fish as well, that smashed a red/green spinnerbait!
Good areas to fish are the shallows along the many shorelines that have access to a little deeper water as well, pike will also want that escape route should trouble arise or to access cooler deeper water. Due to the fact that Island Lake is mainly a weedy lake and that pike live right in the weeds, you will want to cast along all the weed edges you seem with weedless baits like spinnerbaits and remember to add a scented soft plastic trailer to your bait as well. Spinnerbait colors that work well on this lake are all chartreuse, yellow, orange and white, with darker colors on overcast low light condition days like all black or dark green. Another few baits that will serve you right on Island Lake for catching pike are soft plastic swimbaits with all white being a great choice and shallow running crankbaits, as they do well running above the weeded cover and open water areas. Spinnerbaits, shallow running crankbaits and soft plastic swimbaits can all be fished quite quickly over and around weeds without much snagging of weeds taking place, so these are definitely baits to consider. Spinnerbaits and soft plastic swimbaits also do well right in the weeds, as they are both pretty much weedless baits, so ripping them through and around the weeds, making a little contact with weed tips and stems is sure to trigger some intense pike strikes!
White is a safe colour and a good choice for a soft plastic swimbait as it closely resembles bait fish. An all chartreuse spinnerbait with a soft plastic scented trailer is a must on Island Lake, as this bait alone has caught me more pike on this lake than any other bait!
If you are looking to find some of those bigger pike in Island Lake, be sure to try some larger baits in the 5 to 7 plus inch range, as larger fish will commonly feed on larger bait fish so if you are not having much luck on smaller baits, go up a few sizes. In Island Lake pike will be feeding on perch, crappie, largemouth bass and even baby pike as pike are quite cannibalistic and don’t mind feeding on their own kind. Trolling is also another good way to cover more water and it can produce pike as well. Island Lake’s rental boats are a great way to troll around those weed lines, just cast out your bait, put the trolling motor on the highest setting to troll around and remember to make wide turns. When you are making those wide turns your bait will start to rise, this is where you will want to be ready as any following pike will instantly notice the bait movement change and it can trigger a very fast aggressive strike before you end up finishing the turn. Making a lot of cast’s along shorelines and weedy areas as well as trolling around those deeper open water areas will definitely get you finding some pike.
When pike are on the feed you can be sure all the other fish species in Island Lake will be in a nice secure hiding spot, so once you start catching pike keep fishing until the bite stops! By continuing to fish throughout the pike feeding window you are sure to get into more fish, because while most other bait will be hiding your baits will be right there for the taking! Pike are pretty easy to catch on Island Lake and there are plenty of them. Why are they easy to catch? Well they are the top fish predator in this lake and due to there being so many of them, you are almost guaranteed to catch several if you are listening to what the pike are telling you. Fish will always tell us how they want a bait, when they want that bait, what size bait they want and how fast they want that bait moving, so the key thing to do in the summer is fish fast baits, by making several casts in any area you fish that day. Pike will on many occasions be roaming around in search of food or will be hiding in an ambush area waiting to smash a bait fish passing by. Top predators are almost always active and even when they are not due to the nature of pike being a very aggressive species they will also flat out lash out at a bait just because it angered them by passing by.
Island Lake sure does have some fun pike fishing to be enjoyed, so I hope you found some value in this blog post about pike fishing…tight lines everyone!
The AMFisH guy…Billy.