Pike are vicious predators and mostly on the top of the food chain. This makes them a very exciting fish to catch. But there’s a time in the year, where pike are reproducing and spawning when they are vulnerable and should be left alone by fishermen to ensure the lasting of pike species.
There are many questions about when pike spawn and where do they go to do so. The short answer is that pike spawn during early spring and they do it in shallow slow waters. During that time, fishing for pike is forbidden.
Let’s take a closer look into certain questions you may have about pike spawning and what to make of it.
Where do pike spawn?
During spawning season, pike relocate to shallow slow current waters where the conditions are better and there’s a greater chance of survival for the young born pike.
- This can be for example a small and shallow upstream river, with slow current, so pike won’t need to waste a lot of energy and there’s a better chance of fertilizing the eggs.
- The second option would be the bays of lakes where they live, between natural obstacles like reeds, rushes, and other vegetation.
- Pike can also choose even smaller and better hiding places like marshes or small canals as long as there is some natural cover like reeds, rushes, or rocks.’
The spawning of pike eggs usually takes place over many days as pike lay only a few eggs at a time.
Pike don’t spawn all eggs in one place and they change location during the spawning season, spreading the eggs rather randomly.
This means that the eggs will be spread out and scattered along the river or lake. The eggs attach to nearby vegetation thereafter
When do pike spawn?
As mentioned, pike choose a shallow water location with slow current in rivers, lakes, and marshes to spawn.
Pike spawn during early spring, in March and April when vegetation starts to grow. The spawning time is quick.
The fertile eggs hatch during a period of around one to four weeks and young pike start feeding right away.
Pike are known to grow very rapidly in the first year after hatching. They feed of everything small that they can find – e.g. insects.
Soon after, once they’ve grown to the size of a small fish and developed their teeth and fins, they change their diet to other smaller fish.
Pike are known to be at the top of food chain and this starts very early on thanks to their predatorial skills and features.
Can you fish pike during the spawning season?
Given that it’s very important for the natural balance in the waters, pike population needs to be at a certain level.
For this to happen, it is commonly forbidden to catch pike during their spawning season.
The spawning season for pike usually lasts until the end of April, meaning the fishing restrictions apply until the beginning of May.
But before you take this information and go fishing yourself, make sure you study the regulations of the country where you plan on fishing for pike.
The pike fishing ban period end date may vary from country to country. In many countries, the fishing restrictions apply from the melting of the ice until the beginning of May.
Does water temperature play a role in pike spawning?
As you can imagine, water temperature plays a great role in the spawning process.
Pike spawning usually starts when the water temperatures rise to 40-50 Fahrenheit (4-10 degrees in Celsius). Depending on the year and ice cap melting, these levels may be reached at different times in different areas.
If the spring comes late, the harsh weather conditions can through off natural balance and cause a lower count of young pike being hatched.
Northern pike spawning behavior
Pike are predator fish who don’t usually swim in schools – they hunt prey by themselves. There’s, however, a difference in this behavior when it comes to spawning season.
Female pike, ready for spawning, are typically accompanied by one or two male specimens, who encourage the female to drop the eggs so the male can spread their seminal fluid (called milt) to fertilize the eggs.
In addition to that, male pike also help with guarding the female and ensuring the survival of the species.
Do pike feed when spawning?
During the spawning season, the females don’t feed much. It’s soon after the spawning season when the female leaves the eggs to develop on their own and starts hunting for prey.
At that time, every other fish crossing their path is in danger. Because the female pike are usually even larger than males, everything that fits their mouth size can be their next meal.
Therefore, you can imagine why fishermen are so eager to start fishing for pike right after the restrictions for fishing are removed.
Where do pike go after spawning season?
After the spawning has occurred, the female pike leaves their eggs behind and do not look after their young ones.
They start their journey from shallow waters to deeper waters, hunting and feeding the whole way.
Since the shallow waters usually mean either the bay areas of lakes of upstream smaller rivers with shallow water and slow stream, you can already tell where they’re headed.
Pike start their journey from upstream and work their way downstream to bigger rivers and deeper parts of the lake.
They do that to escape from the coming rise of water temperatures during summer.
Now you have an idea what it takes for pike to spawn. When it happens, which conditions are necessary and how they act during that season.
More importantly, how important it is to leave pike be during this time so that there would be lots of offsprings that we someday also can fish.
This also gives a great understanding of where to start pike fishing during spring and where to move during the season.
If you want to learn more about pike behavior and whereabouts throughout the year, check out my other post where I give a complete overview of the seasonal guide for pike fishing.