My name is Louie Dazzo, I am a student at the University of Whitewater Wisconsin. My goal is to share my knowledge of fishing to you guys. I have been fishing hard for over fifteen years. I have been fishing bass tournaments for BASSMASTERS and FLW for over five years now qualifying for nationals twice. I am also a licensed fishing guide in the state of Wisconsin (multi-species fishing). Let’s expand our success for fishing!
Now that we are nearing the end of winter ice fishing may present some new challenges. Fish will start to be moving into there spring patterns in preparation to start the spawn. One of my favorite fish to target at this time is a northern pike. Late season pike fishing can be an opportunity to land your biggest pike of the season. Northern pike will start there transition into back bays and harbors in lakes where they will drop eggs. My favorite way to target these predators late winter is dead baits. I like to use an HT rigger which allows me to fight the fish on light tackle. I can present a rig to the fish that is subtle and dynamic enough to catch fish. I typically locate a shallow, weedy bay that remains to start my search for the Gators.
The rig I prefer to use for these fish consist of 20lb braid connected to a two-way swivel going to a 12lb fluorocarbon leader. This time of year I like to keep my presentations as light as possible. When fishing deep clear water it’s important to understand that downsizing your rig can make a large difference to the fish. Most of the lakes I fish here in southern Wisconsin have clear water. The key to this is simply to outsmart the fish. Northern pike have a reputation for being extremely aggressive fish although can be tough to understand and catch at times. Late season pike can be lazy and not want to chase down prey which makes dead baits so effective. For my bait rig, i will use a size 4 single hook. The single hooks help me stick the fish firmer while also reducuing damage to the fish itself. When it comes to bait I will freeze my left over shiners with salt brine to add scent. Pike rely heavily on there sense of smell to locate food. I will generally set my dead baits a foot off the bottom to directly on the bottom depending on the mood of the fish that day. Always remember fish handling saftery, big pike (36+) are hard to come by and should be treated with respect. I release the majority of my pike especially the larger ones to pass on the genetics fot the next generation.