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3938 Views 32 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  TroutFishingBear
Hey everyone.

Im new to these two game fish. Im not sure whens the best time to chase these fish.. Whens the best time and what lures will generally make action .. Are they spawning as of now or any info about these fish will be of help..

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If it were that easy! You really should read up on those species. It will take you a while to figure them out and know where, when, and what to fish. Most people think Pike and Muskies are easy to catch due to them being top of the line predators. It is true that they must consume vast amounts of fish to be as big as they are. People catch them all year long, through the ice, from the shore, from boats.

Esox Agnler is a good magazine for Pike and Musky. Buy some books or videos on the subject. You will find tons of information on the web as well.

The most important things are fining a body of water that holds good numbers of fish, being there at the right time of year (Spring or Fall), and determining the mood of the fish, which will determine what type of lure and presentation to use. Lots of time you can throw out any bait and a pike or musky will attack immediately, but other times you can sling all day and not a thing. You may even see fish in the shallows, pull a bait infront of its face with not even a turn of the head. Muskies are said to be the fish of 10,000 casts. I could chat all day about the subject and I was in your shoes a few years ago, but you really have to read up on Pike and Musky, watch videos, and put some time on the water. You will figure them out.

We all have seen the awesome fishing shows where people go far up North and catch tons of Northerns, but those are places that don't get pressured at all and the waters are teaming with pike. It is a different story here in Colorado. These fish are highly pressured by fisherman on a daily basis and they are smart. A lot of the time you will hear of a big pike or musky being caught by an agler fishing for Walley, Perch, Trout or some other type of fish using small baits.

There are some great Pike and Musky fisheries in Colorado, it will just take some time on your part to find them and figure them out. Once you hook into a 40 inch pike or a 50 inch musky you will be hooked for life. Good Luck!
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i have read that the pike will stay shallow as long as the water is around 60 degrees and then when it starts to warm the will move deep till they find the cooler 60 degree water do you pike hunter feel this is true and do the hybrid tigers like the same temps?

Thanks for the advise and the little info you just gave me.. i dont know where to start. Ive read past posts and know that it wont be a walk in the park for these guys.

Ive been told the bigger the lure for these guys the bigger the bite.. Is that true. What are some of the recommended lures to use..

dont rely i to heavily on this as im still looking for my first
i keep some large floasting rapalas and jointed rapalas i started with trout colorsat the ready for the few times i get where there are some pike/tigers i also have some zarra spook locking topwaters id love to hook a 3 foot long fish on a top water as if i have any success ill post it for shure
While I would never push anyone away from this site as there is much info to be learned here, but the forum and site at has alot of great info. Also if you watch the show 'The Next Bite' on TV you can learn alot there too.

Thanks JAY_IN_PARKER .. wow thats an awesome site you just gave me. Gonna Bookmark that baby and read it everyday here at work. ROADKILL I guess im gonna start buying my own tackle and start with my castings very soon.. Thanks for some lure ideas..

The Next Bite is a great show and great site. Pete Maina is one of the best when it comes to Musky and Pike. Also check out, they have all the baits you could ever want for Pike and Musky.

I think here in Colorado the main forage base for Pike and Musky is trout so rainbow colored baits are a good choice. Water clarity will determine the colors you use. If clear water, use more natural colored baits (Black, Blue, Rainbow) and for stained water use brighter colors (Chartruse, Orange, White). When fish are sluggish and not feeding heavily the presentation tends to be slower (dead bait, jig & pork, or fly). When fish are more active you can use a faster presentation (jerk baits, spinner baits, in-line spinners, crainks, spoons) or even topwater (buzz bait, Zera Spook, topraider). There are so many different approaches it just depends on the conditions and mood of the fish.

Roadkill is right in that Pike will tollerate water temps up to about 60 degrees in the shallows, but once they go above that they will seek deeper water. Most fisherman only fish for them in the shallows, but during July & August Pike can be found as deep as 50 feet and will generally hang between 20 and 50 feet. They will move up into shallow water again in the Fall and is another great time to target them. I think muskies are more warm water fish and the optimal temperature for them is around 72 degrees so they will hold in shallower water longer or close to it. Muskie and Pike can be deep, suspended over open water, holding close to structure, or in as little as a couple inches of water. Most important thing is timing and hitting the bite right.
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Pike and musky are probably the toughest fish to catch here in colorado. (musky are harder than pike). You hear about how aggressive they are in other places...and that's great, but they aren't aggressive anywhere in the state really besides the rocky mountain arsenal, and I hear every once in a while they get picky there too. They are tough fish to catch, here in colorado we have a fairly low density of pike in most fisheries in comparison to other places (due mostly to anti-pike management), that coupled with extremely clear water and extreme fishing pressure,, our pike and musky are just simply hard to catch.

We have some bruisers though...monsters in fact in comparison to many places.
Good places for big pike include elevenmile reservoir, williams fork, crawford reservoir, and the yampa river.
Good places for numbers of pike are supposedly spinney, rifle gap is starting to get a decent population, crawford, and rio blanco.
Places to watch out for that used to be good that aren't any more due to drought coupled with anti pike management are: harvey gap (almost none), the yampa river isn't as good as it used to be due to the USFWS euthanizing a lot of pike in there (but it still arguably as the largest average pike in the state), spinney (not sure on the numbers there anymore), and paonia (its a mudhole now).

The important thing about catching pike here is to keep one or two small ones (under 24" or so) and to throw the rest back. We want to save some of these marvelous fish because they help fisheries stay balanced, are good table fare, and are probably the hardest-fighting freshwater fish around.

Good things to use for pike are 4" curly tail grubs in deeper, more rocky areas, as well as big daredevil spoons, rattle traps, and big panther martin spinners.
Good things to use in lakes that are more shallow and weedy include zoom superflukes, floating rapalas, and spinnerbaits. There are other lures as well. The main thing about pike is to keep casting and casting and you need to remember you usually aren't going to catch very many in a trip...the thought of a nice one though keeps you going!

good luck in your search of the elusive northern pike!
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I agree with all that. The few pike i have caught have come mostly on rapala lures (the big 7+ inchers) and panter martin spinners. I have also caught them on worms (we were fishing for trout) and my wife once caught one on powerbait.

I have also caught pike in skagway, but they were small. There are suppose to be some big ones in there as well. If you go there, i would target the inlet. If your in a boat and looking at the river comming into the reservoir, look to the right (east). That whole area is shallow with vegetation.

This year i am going to try some new geat (hopefully). The lindy tiger tube and a Grim Reaper Wildcat Spinnerbait. It is huge!! i expect great things from it...
I am sorry but I am going to have to disagree with a lot of information on this thread. Please don't take that wrong because I mean no disrespect to anyone on this site. I have caught over 200 lbs of pike in one day in the shallows in 67 degree water. I have also had many many 100 pound days. Also the pike at eleven Res. are hardly touched in my opinion. I started out just like you monkies-butt. What I did was take a entire year fishing for pike on Elevenmile 3 days a week. (Open water only) It took me a month to catch my first Pike but by the end of the year I was on them good. Pike are nomatic which means they move all over the lake following the food. One year one spot will be unbelievable the next you can't buy a fish there. Frankly the pike at elevenmile like water in the 60's.(at least in my experience) I don't remeber who said it on this thread but it is true that pike will go deep (even 50 feet) when the water warms. ( past 68 for me) My favorite bait is a suspending jerk bait in perch or rainbow pattern. I also love a spinnerbait when they don't want a jerkbait. They are tough but if you want any pointers on Pike at Elevenmile let me know I will try to help.

PS As far as I am concerned Spinney sucks for pike at least it has for the past two years.
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Most fishfinders that show temperature only show the surface temp. That is the temp in the top foot or two. Even though the surface can be high when you get a few feet below the surface the temp can drop dramatically.

Basically the temp on your fishfinder can be deceiving to be certain you need to check the temp at various depths when targeting more temperature sensitive fish.

Now if I could just find a decent thermometer that would work at depth.

there is one i saw that was designed to clip on a downriger or aquaview camera cable and plug in to a finder like the standard surfacetemp gauge ill see if i can find it again

i just bought a pool thermometer and took off the float and wired a couple ounces of lead to the bottom im going to take a length of light cord and mark it for depth so i can hang it from the boat it seems to take about 5 min for the thermometer to settle on the temp then if i bring it up quick the reading takes awhile to change it wont be too good in a moveing boat but i can atleast start spot checking for thermoclines and to see if how shallow the surface temp is
The Rocky Mountain Arsenal has pike that are unusually easy to catch. Throw a swimbait, tube jig, spinner, big spoon or bucktail along the dam and you'll hook a pike. A couple weekends ago I even hooked a pike on a Waveworm (like Senkos) while fishing for bass.

But, with the exception of the Arsenal, pike probably won't come easy, and Tiger Musky are definitely no joke. Muskies aren't called the "fish of 1,000 casts" for nothing. I must have ran my lures (Musky Killers, big Daredevles and swimbaits) by two dozen muskies yesterday afternoon at Pinewood and never even came close to catching one (the closest I got was seeing a tiger musky make a U-turn to briefly follow a rainbow trout pattern swimbait).
I got to this topic late and with the novel that is the posts above mine, I have not read them all. I just had 1 point that might help out alot of you boaters with your quest for the pike or tigers.

When casting from a boat, watch carefully every time you reel in. If a pike or musky is following, bring it about 5 feet from the boat and make a figure 8 over and over again. If its catching up to your motion, speed up and play with its mind. Try not to give the lure to the fish, since it will lose interest and give up chasing the lure.

Check your email. I want to chat with you in more detail about Pike fishing. I think we are on the same page as far as experience. I have been fishing for Pike for quite a while now, but as you probably know there is still a lot to learn and figure out. I sent you an email shotrly after posting this. This board is great!
Hmm... talking behind our backs now are we......

just kidding ya.... this place is the best good luck with them pike let us know how you do
Well Guys been a while since i checked forum.. Thanks for all the great advise and tip guys. Me and my GF havent decided on where to go tomorrow but where ever i will let you guys know. Ive bought a few gear and new line. Leaders and a whole bunch of stuff for these monsters.. Hopefully we go and have a good time where ever we go..! Im just glad that there are people welling to help .. THANKS..! Last question though .. whens the best time of day.. EVENING or MORNING .. or even during the daytime.

if they are still shallow im betting just at day break before the sun starts beating down just a gut feeling though not enough first hand knowledge yet
All of my Pike experience comes from minnesota, but they are one of my favorite fish to catch because they are very aggressive and have really cool sharp teeth, kind of like a dinosaur with fins.

anyway...A lot of the info here is good. Small pike are very easy to catch (we used to call them 'hammer handles' in MN) they can be found in the shallows in weedy areas almost all of the spring, summer, and fall months. They are very aggresive and you can fish for them in much the same way as largemouth bass. Pike are opportunists and ambushers so they will wait in a hole in the weeds or behind a log for something that dares to come close enough. In the weeds, they will hang in an opening or right on the edge of a weedline waiting to ambush prey.

Large pike are a completely different story. Large pike are more sensitive to higher water temperatures and are stressed out during these warmer times. In the summer, Large pike will stick to very deep water near structure such as points or steep drop offs. A deep submerged weedline near a steep dropoff with access to cold water is ideal for large pike. In the dog days of the summer, a good way to catch large pike is with live sucker minnows set very deep around these structures.

Pike can eat a fish half of their size and like to pick prey that is 10-25% of their body weight. Large lures will catch large pike ( and small pike) My favorites were large spoons, Inline spinners and spinnerbaits with the occasional crankbait to get down deep. trolling deep diving crankbaits along submereged weedlines works well too.

It's been a while but that's some of what I sure to use steel leaders If you are going after pike or muskies, they have incredibly sharp teeth and will slice through line like a razor. NEVER put your hand in a pikes mouth...I have the scars on mine to prove it. always use a pliers to unhook them. good luck.
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