A nice looking river

The days are warming up and the evenings are drawing out. The unofficial pike season has ended but the urge to bank a decent pike is strong, so the question is do we go pike fishing in summer?

After all ‘they’ say pike are more active during the summer months. ‘They’ say they fight harder in the summer. ‘They’ say there isn’t a problem fishing for pike in the summer. BUT are ‘they’ correct in what they are telling us?

Pike seem like proper tough fish, surely there is no reason why this prehistoric-looking beast that has been around so long can’t handle a bit of sunshine surely?

Well, let’s look at the facts, and if we must fish for them in the warmer months let’s have a look at the best ways of doing so. We need to look after these awesome creatures, they can be more vulnerable than you think!

Is Pike Fishing In Summer A Good Idea?

Piking in the summer months can be a very fast and furious way of fishing. These fish have got plenty of energy at this time of year, and intend on using every bit of it when they get hooked. The problem is they will keep fighting until they have exhausted themselves right out. 

Now we have to take into account that the water you are fishing may be lacking in oxygen due to the heat. So a very tired pike trying to recover in low oxygenated water starts leading to health problems for them.

The thing is, a pike won’t always go belly up there and then, it could be hours, if not days later. Even the smaller Jack pike are vulnerable.

A summer pike being caught
A summer pike brought quickly to the net

Why Do Summer Pike Gas up?

Gassing up of pike can occur in deep waters such as reservoirs. If a pike is hauled up rapidly to the surface it can cause a build-up of lactic acid due to the oxygen decrease near the surface of the water and the stress of the fish.

This can prove devastating to the fish and many have died because of it. Some fishermen state they have seen pike rising from the deeps naturally, letting off a trail of bubbles. This could be how they naturally de-gas themselves, but I don’t think it has been proven as such.

In shallow waters such as streams and rivers, you do not have the depth to be concerned about. However, due to the shallowness of the water, there can be a lot less oxygen present, therefore presenting problems for the fish again.

As I said earlier the pike will give all it’s got whilst being reeled in which in turn exhausts the fish. So lack of oxygen, stress, and exhaustion can also cause a build-up of lactic acid, which could prove fatal.

A dead summer pike
Gassing up of pike will lead to dead fish

Although you would think this would stop people from summer pike fishing, it doesn’t! So instead of winging about it let’s see what measures can be taken to prevent it. There are 2 main things in my eyes you can do that will certainly help the pike in the summer.

Use The Right Tackle For Pike Fishing In Summer

If you are going to target pike during the summer you need to minimise the amount of energy the fish uses to do battle. One of the best ways of doing this is to use heavier tackle. A heavier rod and stronger line will certainly have a big impact on the fish’s health. You will be able to bring the fish in a lot quicker than normal so the fish won’t be so worn out and stressed. 

Limit Your Handling Of A Summer Pike

You should always try to limit the time a fish is out of the water, but more so in the summer months. Between unhooking the pike and photos etc it’s not a bad idea to let the fish recover in the water, just make sure it is in an upright position. Get all your kit ready for a quick release such as scales, weighing sling, camera, etc. The quicker it gets back in the water the less stressed it will become.

Why Not Dead Bait For Pike In Summer?

Dead baiting for pike is a very popular method in the winter, but why don’t we do it in the summer months? The answer is quite simple. The pike’s metabolism speeds up in the summer making them a lot quicker and more aggressive. This in turn makes them engulf dead baits a lot quicker and usually a lot deeper down their throat.

None of us like a deep hooked pike. It can prove fatal and can add a lot of time to the fish being on the bank adding to its stress levels. For this reason, I would suggest waiting until the colder months to cast out your dead baits.

An iced over lake
Dead baiting should only be done when the temperature drops.

Pike Fishing In Summer With Lures

If you do insist on going after pike in the summer I would recommend trying for them on the lures. Lure fishing can be an extremely fun way of pike fishing in the summer. Due to the constant retrieve of the lure, it is highly unlikely that you will end up deep hooking the pike.

Just be sure to up your tackle a bit. Use a slightly heavier rod and line, and reduce the time on the bank with the fish. Surface lures can be a great way of catching pike in the warmer months and are well worth a look. Try them out at dusk or dawn for maximum results.

A surface lure that is used for catching summer pike
Surface lures can be great fun in the summer

To Conclude

Pike fishing in summer is frowned upon by a good number of the pike fishing community. But with the right techniques, you can vastly reduce the risks to the pike. Following these guidelines and by fishing sensibly will help with looking after the pike.

Having said that I would seriously advise that you wait until the colder months. Especially if you are just starting out with your pike fishing in the summer. It can be quite a daunting experience trying to unhook a deeply hooked fish and could well put you off fishing for them. Whatever you choose to do be sure to enjoy your fishing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Jack pike?

A jack pike is generally the name given to a small pike. I personally class a pike as a jack when it is under about 8lb in weight. Male pike only grow to about this size, almost all pike that are bigger than this tend to be females.

Is Pike Fishing In The Summer Good?

Pike fishing in the summer is certainly fast and furious and can be most enjoyable. But it is also putting the fish under lots of unnecessary stress. Which can result in the fish dying. So please think long and hard before doing any summer piking.

Will Pike Feed All Day In The Summer?

Like with most fish in the summer, the heat of the day puts them off feeding. You will catch fish during the day but you are better off going for them at dusk and dawn when temperatures are a bit cooler.

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