NBS Outdoor Fall Issue 2020

died off. Loss of that habitat caused pike numbers to decline in the past few years. When a fish population declines, though, an ecosystem typically produces much larger fish because surviving individuals continue growing and taking advantage of more food and resources available to them with less competition. Lake McConaughy now produces good numbers of pike in the 10- to 15-pound range with some bigger ones. Some exceed 43 inches long. People catch some pike in the 20- to 25-pound range. While many anglers consider the elongated toothy fish nothing but a nuisance, big pike can provide amazingly exciting action. These vicious and extremely aggressive predators derive their common name from a medieval spear-like war weapon. The word describing its duck-billed snout loaded with razor-sharp teeth. In the spring, water levels reach their highest and the freshwater barracudas hunt in the shallows. Perfectly camouflaged with splotchy green coloration, these ambush predators wait in thick “pike” comes from a Middle English word for “pointed,”

lead-core line through the trees or run crankbaits over submerged cover. “We want to just barely hit the tops of those trees with the baits,” Rowland said. “That triggers a really good bite. I mostly throw 1/2- or 3/4-ounce baits. I like Venom Lures spinnerbaits. They’re hand-tied and hold up really well with big pike, walleye, and wipers, or a hybrid cross between white bass and striped bass. For crankbaits, we use a lot of Salmo Hornets and Vexan Rattlin Wasps. We also use a Walleye Nation Creations Shaky Shad. It works really well. In the fall, pike move back to the shallows and it’s kind of like fishing in the spring again.” Northerns eat almost anything including ducklings, small mammals, birds that perch too low to the water, frogs, and whatever else they can catch. However, they prey most consistently on fish such as perch, shad, alewives, and even young northerns. They might hit anything resembling a baitfish or other tempting prey. With whirling blades that reflect sunlight, spinnerbaits mimic baitfish and work well in weedy, brushy areas. The bent wire “arms” hanging over jigheads on safety-pin spinnerbaits protect the hooks and deflect off brush limbs and other objects. Long, narrow willow-leaf blades cut through vegetation better than rounder “Colorado” blades. Colorado blades work better for fishing in deeper, relatively snag-free waters. Many pike anglers prefer in-line spinners. Among the oldest baits on the market, in-line spinnerbaits employ one or more blades Tou Kong Vang of Westminster, Colorado caught the rod and reel state record wiper on June 14. The fish weighed 21 pounds 9 ounces, was 36 inches long and was caught on a swimbait.

“ The word ‘pike’ comes from a Middle English word for ‘pointed,’ describing its duck-billed snout

loaded with razor-sharp teeth. ”

weeds, flooded brush, and other cover to snatch anything that moves with explosive strikes. “The western half of the lake usually has the best pike fishing,” recommended Rob Rowland with Lake Mac Top Dog Guide Service in Lewellen. “A lot of good pike hang out around where the river comes into the lake. In the summer, the water level drops and fish head to deeper water. In many areas, trees grow about 15 feet off the bottom and sit in 30 feet of water or more. Anglers troll spinnerbaits on

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Fall 2020

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