A pike spawning in a river in the UK

Angling is an extremely popular hobby in the UK; many people spend their lives dedicated to the sport. However, with more than 38 native species of freshwater fish in the United Kingdom, many anglers get tackled up and turn their attention to the predator fish.

One of the most popular fish to go after in this country is the pike. These fish are typically targeted throughout the winter months but one of the most common musings of the avid angler is when these fish spawn.

In this article, we will be looking at when pike spawn in the UK and how this will affect your angling attempts. So, let’s get started.

What Time Of Year Do Pike Spawn In The UK?

Pike typically spawn in the early spring in the UK. In fact, they are one of the earliest fish to spawn in this country. Spawning usually begins around the end of March and goes into early April, although this largely depends on the temperate of the water.

If it has been a particularly cold winter that has dragged on into spring, you might find that the pike spawns a little later than normal. Conversely, if the winter has been pretty mild and temperatures rise earlier than usual, the pike may begin spawning as soon as February. 

An early spring morning on a lake
Early spring is when pike are most likely to spawn

Why Do Pike Spawn Early?

It is thought that pike spawn around four weeks earlier than other freshwater fish in Britain as a way of giving the young an advantage.

Pike are predatory fish and are 100% carnivorous. This means that the fry will need to get something of a head start and this would be incredibly difficult if they were to spawn at the same time as other fish.

With almost a month’s advantage, the fry has the opportunity to feed on newly spawned fish as they arrive. Furthermore, since they will also prey on small amphibians like frogs, they get a great head start on these too.

Once spawning season comes around for all the other species, the pike fry are developed enough to benefit. What’s more, all of these fish will be too busy worrying about spawning themselves to be paying too much attention to what the pike are doing.

A shoal of baby trout
Pike spawn early so they can take advantage of the smaller fry

Pike spawning in the UK can last for several weeks and there is a lot to suggest that pike anglers should allow the fish to get on with it rather than continuing in their pursuit of a hefty pike.

The Ideal Temperature For Pike To Spawn?

Ideally, the water temperature would have to be between 6ºc and 12ºc for the pike to comfortably spawn.

In line with this, pike fishing season in the UK occurs throughout the winter months, but we will look at this a little more closely later on. Most anglers will wait until the winter months to target pike.

As the waters begin to get a little warmer, the jack pike which is the name for the smaller males will begin to gather in shallow water. They will wait here for the females, which are much larger to make an appearance.

How Does Pike Spawning Season Affect Anglers?

Once the weather warms up and the water temperature rises, you will notice that the pike becomes far less active. There is a good reason for this; they are more interested in spawning than they are in your bait. 

This can be frustrating for us anglers but there is little that can be done about it. There is evidence to suggest that fishing during the spawning season can affect the fish but there are several variations on this and nothing is set in concrete. 

That being said, you will find that most fisheries will close over the spawning season to allow nature to run its course. 

Pike Fishing Season In The UK

As we have mentioned, the pike fishing season in the UK happens over the autumn and winter months. It typically begins at the start of October, just as the carp anglers are hanging up their rods, and runs through to the middle of March.

At this point, many areas will close down and pike fishing will not be permitted.

At the beginning of pike season, you will notice how many of the weeds and water plants begin to die off. This gives pike anglers an advantage in that there is much greater visibility in the water.

However, owing to more tumultuous weather conditions, there is the chance of things getting stirred up and visibility being reduced. It’s all about choosing the right day to go fishing.

Pike Fishing In October

In October, the pike will suddenly become a lot more active. Over the summer months, these animals find the lower oxygen levels in the water very distressing and this can result in significantly decreased activity.

However, now that the levels have improved, the fish’s metabolism speeds up and they will be feeding more readily. This also means that they will be poised and waiting for your bait; perhaps.

The key is to give the pike something that will grab their attention. At this time of year, they will become engrossed in chasing whatever prey has caught their eye. This means that a measly little piece of bait won’t be much of a draw for them, so you must use something that will divert them from what is already in the water.

Pike Fishing In November/December

As we move into November and December, the temperature in the water will take a significant drop and this means that the pike will head to deeper areas to follow their prey. However, this is a prime time to catch them if you know where to fish.

The key is to find a deeper area and be patient. You might need to sit and wait for a good while but don’t give up because some of the best catches will be made at this time of the year. What’s more, as the females prepare to spawn over the winter, they will be coming in at a much better weight.

If you want to catch a record fish, now is the time to do it.

Pike Fishing In January/February

January and February may see much of the water covered in ice and in some places, it may be covered completely. This applies to still water so many anglers may be tempted to head to the rivers in the UK, but the weather conditions often make visibility almost non-existent.

You could try your luck but you may need to battle the elements and often, anglers find that the results are rarely worth writing home about.

For these few weeks, it might be a better idea to spend time catching up on some Matt Hayes shows and prepare for what March has to offer.

Matt Hayes and Mick Brown pike fishing

Pike Fishing In March

As we get closer to the spawning season for the pike, some of the most impressive fishing conditions make an appearance. The ice and frost begin to lift around mid-February and you have until the middle of March to make the most of these optimal conditions.

You will find that as the fish get ready to spawn, the females are now at their largest and all of the pike will be coming out of the deeper waters.

If you want to end pike season with a bang, catching them just before they spawn can yield some incredible results.

To Conclude

Pike are aggressive hunters that lurk in the freshwaters of the UK in rivers, lakes, and canals. They are one of the most prized fish for angling enthusiasts but unlike many other types of fish, they are not typically fished through the summer.

Pike spawn in the early spring and out of all the freshwater fish in the UK, they are the first to do so. This may take place as early as February if the winter hasn’t been particularly cold but it could be well into April if the weather doesn’t warm up as quickly as usual.

Anglers will find that they get the best results when fishing for pike if they target the waters just before the fish begin to spawn. Heading out between mid-February and the middle of March will see the fish returning to the shallows and you may have some excellent catches at this time of year.

However, once the spawning season starts, it is highly advisable to leave the fish alone and let them get on with it. You will find that many fisheries close for pike fishing between March and June for spawning and there may even be penalties if you attempt to fish at this time.

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