Top 10 Northern Pike Fishing Lures

Top 10 Northern Pike Fishing Lures

This post will list the top 10 northern pike fishing lures. Northern pike are apex predators. They are among the largest and most sought after freshwater game fish. Northern pike grow very large. The world record is 55 pounds! Fish to 20 pounds are caught regularly. Pike are aggressive and most are caught by anglers using artificial lures. They want a substantial meal and feed on smaller fish, amphibians, birds, and mammals!

top 10 northern pike fishing lures

Best northern pike fishing lures

The most productive norther pike fishing lures fall into several categories. They include hard body plugs, spoons, inline spinners, spinnerbaits, and soft plastic lures. The top 10 northern pike lures are;
  • Eppinger Daredevil Spoon
  • Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait
  • Rapala #14 Shad Rap
  • Mepps Musky Killer Spinner
  • Livetarget frog
  • Rapala Stitter Prop
  • Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon
  • Acme Kastmaster Spoon
  • #14 Rapala Husky Jerk
  • Bass Assassin Did Dapper Swim Bait

Northern pike are ambush predators. One close look at them reveals how they feed. Pike blend in perfectly around weeds and submerged vegetation. They are long and easily slither through grass and weeds. Using their large mouth and sharp teeth, pike pounce on yellow perch, suckers, panfish, and other small fish. Pike also feed on small mammals and amphibians on the surface. They will hold on rocks and other structure in deeper water.

pike fishing lures

Northern pike are a cold water species. They are found in the northern part of the United States, much of Canada, and colder regions in Europe. Northern pike do not get affected by cold water and feed all winter long. This makes them prime candidates for anglers fishing through the ice. Anglers can read more about ice fishing for northern pike in this article.

Best northern pike fishing tackle

Anglers fishing for northern pike use both spinning and bait casting tackle. Heavy spinning tackle and bait casting tackle is best as the lures used are fairly heavy. Also, as mentioned about, pike grow quite large. Finally, northern pike are usually caught around some type of structure. All of these factors result in anglers using heavier tackle.

pike fishing

A good spinning combination would be a 7 foot or 7 ½ foot medium heavy rod with a fast action. This means that the rod has a stiff butt section but a limber tip. This allows anglers to cast the lures a long way, but still has the ability to fight a big fish. It can be paired with a 4000 series reel. Bait casting combinations are similar.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for a Quantum spinning rod and reel

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Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for a Kastking baitcasting combo

Most anglers opt for braided line when pike fishing. It has a smaller diameter, resulting in longer casts. It also offers more abrasion resistance. Braided line has no stretch, resulting in a firm hook set. Most anglers use a 12” steel leader to prevent norther pike from cutting the line with their sharp teeth. These leaders also have swivels, which are required when using spoons.

1) Eppinger Daredevil Spoon

The Eppinger Daredevil spoon is a legendary bait. It tops the list of the top 10 northern pike fishing lures. A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in it. Spoons are heavy and cast well. They put out a lot of flash and vibration. The one ounce size is excellent for northern pike fishing. The time tested red and white and “five of diamonds” are excellent choices.

best northern pike fishing lure

Spoons are easy to use, making them and excellent choice for novice anglers. The Daredevil spoon is cast out, allowed to sink, then retrieved back in. A steady retrieve usually produces, though anglers can mix it up with some twitches and pauses. It has an exposed hook and works great fished over submerged weeds and along weed edges. It can be both cast and trolled.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Daredevil spoons

2) Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait

The best spinnerbait on the marker for northern pike is by far the Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait. It is large, puts out a ton of flash and vibration, and is quite durable. Chartreuse is a good color choice, but every anglers has his or her favorite pattern. Spinnerbaits are fairly weedless and can be fished through fairly heavy weeds and cover.

spinnerbait fishing for pike

The Pikee spinnerbait can be fished through the entire water column. It works well buzzed just under the surface or slow rolled close to the bottom. In most cases, a steady retrieve works best. However, anglers should vary that retrieve until a productive one emerges. Pike can be very aggressive,m but sometimes a slower retrieve works best.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Pikee spinnerbaits

3) #14 Rapala Shad Rap

The Rapala Shad Rap in the #14 size is a terrific northern pike fishing lure, hitting number three on the list. It is a versatile bait that can be cast as well as trolled. It is probably the top bait used by anglers trolling for pike. Sexy shad and yellow perch are top patterns.

top pike lures

This bait floats at rest and dives down eight feet or so on the retrieve. It has a wider profile and runs deeper than other jerk baits. It is a great choice for fishing deeper grass beds and areas of rocky bottom. The Shad Rap allows anglers to cover a lot of water whether casting or trolling.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Rapala Shad Raps

4) Mepps Musky Killer Spinner

While named the “musky Killer”, this inline spinner by Mepps is a terrific northern pike lure. Mepps is THE name when it comes to spinners. This bait is large and will attract large pike. It is very easy to use, anglers simply cast it out and reel it back in. The blade puts out a lot of flash and vibration.

pike fishing

These baits come in a variety of colors. The most popular lure in the gold blade with a brown and orange tail dressing. This has been proven over decades to be an effective lure. It may fool any musky that might be in the area as well. Frogs can be worked through sparse vegetation, but will hang up in heavy weeds. It can be trolled slowly in open water as well.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Mepps Musky Killer spinners

5) LiveTarget Floating Frog

Northern pike feed on amphibians as well, mostly frogs. The Livetarget Floating frog is an excellent frog bait. It can be worked on the surfaced through very thick vegetation. It puts up a fair commotion which will draw pike up from deeper water. In most cases, expansive shallow weed beds in the warmer months are the best places and times to fish it.

northern pike lures

The LiveTarget Frog is an exciting bait to fish! Strikes are explosive and often times the fish will miss it. The bait can be worked off of the tops of lily pads and other vegetation. Most strikes will occur in the open spots. It also works well when algae covers the surface. For the most part, this bait works best in the warmer months.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Live Target frogs

6) Rapala Skitter Prop

The Rapala Skitter Prop is a topwater plug. It is number 6 on the list of top 10 northern pike fishing lures. Since northern pike are fairly aggressive, noisy topwater baits work best. The Skitter Prop has a propeller on the rear that puts out a lot of commotion. It comes in a variety of colors, with frog being a good pattern for northern pike.

pike fishing in Minnesota

The lure is cast out towards shoreline cover, weed edges, or over submerged vegetation. It is allowed to settle, then is twitched sharply. It is again allowed to sit and then the process is repeated. At times, a fast, steady retrieve will produce. It is important to wait until the fish is felt on the line as opposed to striking on the visual strike. This can be difficult as strikes are often explosive!

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Skitter Pop lures

7) Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon

The Johnson Silver Minnow is a weedless spoon with decades of tradition as a productive fishing lure. It will fool northern pike and most other freshwater species as well. While termed “Silver Minnow”, most pike anglers choose the ¾ ounce spoon I a gold finish. It is weedless and an excellent choice in heavy vegetation.

Minnesota walleys and pike fishing

This bait is virtually weedless, though it will load up with moss. It is very easy to use. Most anglers cast it out and reel it back in. It has a great built in wobbling action. It can be hopped on the top of pads as well. Many anglers add a plastic trailer to increase the action and profile of the bait.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Silver Minnow spoons

8) Acme Kastmaster Spoon

The Acme Kastmaster Spoon is another time-proven northern pike fishing bait. It is number 8 on the list of top 10 northern pike fishing lures. This is a versatile spoon that can be cast or trolled. Kastmaster spoons work well when pike are in deep water when presented vertically. It is also one of the top ice fishing lures as well.The one ounce size works well for pike fishing.

pike fishing

The Kastmaster can be cast out and retrieved, just like all spoons. They come in many new colors, but the silver or gold finish with a little strip on neon works great. It is a great choice in cooler weather when pike move deeper. Vertically jigging, both in open water and through the ice will produce pike.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Kastmaster spoons

9) #14 Rapala Husky Jerk

The Rapala Husky Jerk in the #14 size is an excellent northern pike fishing lure. It is a large, heavy bait. It floats on the surface and dives down a few feet upon the retrieve. This is a “jerk bait” and is worked in an aggressive manner. Yellow perch, gold, and firetiger are top color patterns for pike.

northern pike

The bait is cast out and then retrieved back in using sharp, aggressive twitches. However, it is very important to put slack in the line after a hard twitch. This will cause the bait to hang there in the water column, motionless. This drives fish crazy and is often times when they strike.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Rapala Husky Jerk plugs

10) Bass Assassin Die Dapper Swim Bait

Northern pike will certainly hit a swim bait as well. The Bass Assassin Die Dapper has a large profile. The paddle tail puts out a steady thump and vibration. These baits can be rigged weedless to work through heavy weeds. Colors vary, but bright colors that match perch often work well.

In most cases, the Bass Assassin Die Dapper works best using a slow, steady retrieve. It is an excellent choice when pike are not as active and respond to a more subtle presentation. Winter and post cold front conditions are great examples of this.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Bass Assassin Die Dapper swim baits

Best northern pike fishing lure

Northern pike are an apex predator and one of the largest freshwater game fish species. Most anglers use artificial lures due to their aggressive nature. There is one lure that has proven to be the best lure for northern pike fishing.

The best northern pike fishing lure is a spoon. There are several reasons for this. A fishing spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in it. Spoons are heavy and are easily cast a long distance. This makes them terrific search baits. Spoons have a built in action, making them easy for both experienced and novice anglers to use. They come in both treble hook for open water fishing and single weedless hook versions when fishing around weeds.

Anglers have many choices when it comes to choosing the proper spoon for northern pike fishing. There are quite a few manufacturers who offer them. Spoons come in a myriad of sizes, shapes, and finishes. All of them basically do the same thing. Spoons put out vibration, wobble, and flash. These combined to simulate a wounded bait fish, which is the primary forage of northern pike.

Northern pike are ambush predators. One look at the color pattern on their body will give anglers a clue as to how they feed. They have the perfect camouflage for hiding in grass beds and attacking helpless prey as it swims by. Northern pike are long and sleek and easily slither through the thickest of weeds. They snatch prey in their large jaws with their long pointy teeth.

Northern pike feeding habits

Northern Pike are opportunistic feeders. There is very little that they won’t eat, given the opportunity. However, they do like a larger meal. For the most part, northern pike feed primarily on smaller fish. Depending on the environment, these include yellow perch, bluegill and sunfish, suckers, herring, shad, and any other small game fish.

Pike will also feed on amphibians such as frogs, crustaceans such as crayfish, and even mammals and birds. There are top water lures that imitate mice and rats that have proven to be effective on northern pike. They routinely devour baby ducks as they swim across the water.

Spoons are effective northern pike fishing lures

It is easy to see why a spoon is the best northern pike fishing lure. They closely mimic a wounded bait fish, the primary forage of a northern pike. Since spoons are available in a wide variety of sizes and finishes, it is easy for anglers to “match the hatch” and choose a spoon that mimics the locally available forage.

However, anglers really don’t need to get too complicated when it comes to spoons. Generally speaking, a 3/4 ounce to 1 ounce spoon is a good all-around size. Anglers can comfortably cast that on a medium action spinning rod as well as a light action bait casting outfit. Heavier spoons can certainly be used and often are by anglers targeting larger northern pike.

Spoons are also arguably the most effective northern pike fishing lure through the ice as well. Pike adapt to the cold water and continue to feed all winter, even under the ice. While anglers ice fishing for northern pike are limited to a vertical presentation, a spoon certainly fits the bill. The spoon is lowered through the hole and jigged erratically, often times with a piece of cut sucker or other bait fish.

Northern pike fishing tackle

Anglers can effectively fish for northern pike with both spinning tackle and conventional tackle. A 7 foot medium spinning rod with a fast action is a good choice. This means that the rod has plenty of backbone at the butt section, tapering to a fairly limber tip. This combination allows for easy casting of a fairly light lure while given the angler enough power to land a large fish. It can be matched with a 3000 or 4000 series spinning reel.

Anglers preferring bait casting outfits will do well with a 7 foot medium action combination. Whether using spinning or bait casting outfits, most anglers choose braided line when fishing for pike. Braided line casts further, has no stretch, and most importantly is much more abrasion resistant than monofilament line. 20 lb test braided line works well, but anglers can bump it up when targeting big pike. In most cases, anglers opt for a 12 inch wire leader when fishing for pike.

Anglers can read more about pike fishing tackle in this link

Best northern pike fishing spoons

The list of spoons that will for northern pike is quite long. However, there are several that stand out above the rest. Most of the spoons on this list have been around a long time, proving themselves to be the best northern pike fishing lure.

Most spoons have a single treble hook on the rear. Relatively speaking, this makes it fairly easy to release a northern pike as opposed to a plug with multiple hooks. These spoons work well in open water and over submerged weed beds. They can also be used through sporadic grass. Other spoon designs have a single upturned hook with a weed guard. These are better choices when fishing in very thick or heavy grass and weeds.

Eppinger Daredevil

The Eppinger Daredevil is a legend among northern pike anglers. It has a very typical “spoon” shape. They have a slow, rhythmic wobble in the water. The 3 5/8 inch, 1 ounce spoon is the most popular size for northern pike. Many fish have been landed on the famous red and white Daredevil spoon. Chrome and “five of diamonds” are two other extremely productive finishes.

Acme Kastmaster

The Acme Kastmaster is another legendary casting spoon. As with most lure manufacturers, the Kastmaster is offered in a wide variety of finishes and colors. Most anglers opt for the silver, gold, or combination of silver or gold with some type of prism finish in the 1 ounce size. This bait is also one of the best lures for chasing northern pike under the ice.

Johnson Silver Minnow

The Johnson Silver Minnow is an example of a weedless spoon. It goes through the water with the flat side of the lure down and the hook writing facing up. A thin metal weed guard covers the point of the hook. This weed guard will cause the bait to deflect off of grass and weeds. However, when a pike or other fish grabs it, the guard is depressed and the fish is easily hooked. The wide gap single hook results in a fairly easy release in most cases. Silver and gold are the most popular finishes.

Spoon fishing techniques

One of the aspects that makes a spoon the best northern pike fishing lure is the ease with which it is used. In most cases, the bait is simply cast out, allowed to sink to the desired depth, then reeled back in using a fairly steady retrieve. The spoon puts out a ton of vibration and flash as it wobbles through the strike zone, realistically mimicking a wounded bait fish and simulating an easy meal.

Anglers can, and should, vary the retrieve until a productive pattern emerges. This is true with all artificial lures, and spoons are no exception. One presentation that works especially well is a jerk and pause retrieve. The spoon is jerked sharply, causing it to move quickly through the water. The angler then pauses, allowing the spoon to flutter down. This is often when the bite occurs as a spoon imitates a dying bait fish fluttering to the bottom.

Spoons can also be used in a vertical presentation over deep structure. This technique is generally used for other species such as bass, walleye, lake trout, and more. However, in the summer, and again in the winter, northern pike may move out to offshore structure. In this situation, vertically jigging a spoon is the approach that keeps the bait in the strike zone the longest.

In conclusion, this article on the top 10 northern pike fishing lures will help anglers catch more fish!

Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

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