There is a lot of northern pike in Michigan lakes, rivers, and streams, and one of the most fun ways to catch them is using a hook and bobber.

98.7 The Grand logo
Get our free mobile app

Northern Pike

Oxford Scientific/Getty Images
Oxford Scientific/Getty Images

One fish a lot of people overlook is the northern pike that is found all over Michigan. These fish are a lot of fun to catch and you can find them in almost every lake and river in the state.

Happy angler with pike fishing trophy
DieterMeyrl/Getty Images

Pike typically live 10 to 15 years but some have lived as long as 25 years. They can get over 50 inches in length but those lake gators are rare to find but they are out there.

Pike fishing. Lady fisherwoman holding fish and tackle in hands
FedBul/Getty Images/iStockphoto

You can catch northern pike year-round but here are the seasons for Michigan:

  • May 15 - March 15: Upper Peninsula Great Lakes, and inland waters.
  • Last Saturday in April - March 15: Lower Peninsula inland waters.
  • Open All Year: Lower Peninsula Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair. St. Clair River, and Detroit River.

Bobber Fishing for Northern Pike

There are lots of different ways to bobber fish. The video is more for the more experienced fisherman but there are some great techniques they use so it's worth the watch no matter your skill level.

The easy way to get started is to get a big bobber so your bait won't pull it under. Use some heavier line like 10lb or 12lb. Tie on a steel leader because pike have teeth and they will bite your line in half if you don't have a leader. You can use a single or treble hook from sizes 6 to 14. I will say the smaller hooks work better just make sure they are sturdy hooks so the fish can't snap them off.

David Ellis/Getty Images/Aurora Open
David Ellis/Getty Images/Aurora Open

As far as bait, shiners, suckers, and chubs work great. Golden shiners are awesome if you can find them. Another trick is if there is a creek that runs into the lake you are fishing in, use a hook and worm and catch your own bait. The fish are already used to eating those and will hit those quicker than store-bought bait but they all work. I like to hook my bait behind the dorsal fin and don't hit their spine. The bait stays alive a lot longer and keeps moving longer to attack the big northern.

Young Fishermen displaying their catch of Northern Pike
Doug Woods/Getty Images/iStockphoto

I set the bobber so it's a couple of feet off the bottom at the edge of long slow drop-offs. The mouth of a creek or stream that runs into a lake is also a good spot.

Pike fishing with a bobber takes a bit more patience than fishing for bluegill. You don't jerk your rod when you get a bite because the pike likes to position the bait so they can eat it head first. This way the bait's dorsal fin will lay down as the pike swallows it.

I leave my bail open on my real because sometimes the pike needs to take some line before it decides to take the bait in. Sometimes your bobber will go under early but don't jerk the rod the first time. Wait until the second time and most importantly when the bobber is going down as the fish swims to the bottom to enjoy his meal. Then real up your slack slowly then when the line is starting to get tight set that hook and get ready for some fun.

Stefan Wehaiven/Getty Images/Johner RF
Stefan Wehaiven/Getty Images/Johner RF

It is good to have a net in case you get a real big one whether you are in a boat or on land. Just remember northern pike have teeth and can really do some damage if you are not carefully handling them. It is good to bring some long needle nose pliers or long hemo's to keep your hand out of their mouth while getting the hook out. If you have kids with you, the adult should be the one removing the hooks until the kids learn the dangers of a pike's mouth.

The video below really gives you a great example of what I am talking about when bobber fishing for northern pike in Michigan. It can be a lot of fun for the whole family so enjoy.

MORE: Unique Pets You Can Legally Own In Michigan

Michigan's Deadliest Animals & Critters

You may have even seen a few of these in your home or around the state.

More From 98.7 The Grand