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Northern Pike

The Northern Pike is the river's "Fish for all seasons." When the season opens in May, pike can be found in any bay, but the larger bays will hold more fish. Popular offerings include a minnow below a bobber, bucktail jigs with a minnow or plastic tipping, spoons, spinners, and minnow plugs. A slow presentation is critical to early-season success. Most bays will hold pike throughout the summer, but these fish are the smaller ones. From June through September, look for larger pike along weed-lines and around deep-water structure at a bay’s outside edge. Casting tipped jigs or trolling deep-diving plugs are the most effective techniques. Three prime locations for autumn pike are points, weedlines, and openings in the weeds. Pike hotspots include Chippewa Bay and the bay at Jacques Cartier State Park near Morristown, Wheathouse Bay and the enclosed bays at the head of Galop Island near Ogdensburg, Whitehouse Bay and Coles Creek Bay near Waddington, and Wilson Hill Island bays and the bay at Massena Town Beach near Massena.

Northern pike are among the State's most important sportfish. They are relatively easy to catch, can grow to over 40 pounds, and put up a good fight when hooked.

Northern pike are very adaptable and occur in a wide range of habitats. They are one of the most widely distributed freshwater fish in the world, and the only members of the pike family to occur in arctic environments. Northerns prefer weedy portions of rivers, ponds, and lakes, but large adults will often move offshore into deeper waters. In New York State, they occur primarily in the St. Lawrence, Upper Hudson River, Lake Champlain, and Finger Lakes drainages.

Northern pike can be distinguished from their cousins, the pickerels, by the scaleless lower half of the gill covers. Their bodies are dark green to brown with light bean-shaped spots. There is no distinct dark bar beneath the eye. The undersurface of the lower jaw has eight to 12 pores and there are often bright gold markings on both sides of the head. Northerns can grow to be quite large - the current New York State record is a 46-pound two-ounce monster taken from Great Sacandaga Lake back in 1940.

Northern pike spawn in April or May, normally just after ice-out. Like other pike, they migrate into flooded marshes to deposit their adhesive eggs.

Northerns are delicious to eat. Their meat is white and flaky, and because of their large size, their bones are more easily removed than those of pickerels. Northerns can be taken through the ice as well as in open water, and provide an important winter fishery. Ice derbies are common sporting events for these prize fish in many parts of the State.

Due to their predatory nature, rapid growth, and large size, northern pike help control populations of smaller fish species. By feeding on small fish, they prevent over population and stunting. In some parts of Europe, northerns are raised for food.

Fishing locations for Northern Pike

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Black Lake

Black Lake ranks as the county’s top warm water lake. This water has received national... Read More

Blue Gill/Sun Fish Northern Pike Perch Pumpkinseeds Rock Bass Smallmouth Bass Walleyes

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Cranberry Lake

LOCATED IN WESTERN ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, THE CRANBERRY LAKE AREA WAS THE LAST SECTION OF NEW YORK... Read More

Catfish/Bullhead Northern Pike Perch Pumpkinseeds Rock Bass Smallmouth Bass Trout

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Grasse River

The Grasse River, a tributary of the St. Lawrence River, is located entirely in St. Lawrence... Read More

Blue Gill/Sun Fish Catfish/Bullhead Crappies Largemouth Bass Muskellunge Northern Pike Perch Pumpkinseeds Rock Bass Smallmouth Bass Trout Walleyes

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Indian River

The Indian River originates in a neighboring county, but a portion of its water flows through St.... Read More

Blue Gill/Sun Fish Catfish/Bullhead Crappies Largemouth Bass Northern Pike Perch Pumpkinseeds Rock Bass Smallmouth Bass Walleyes

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Norwood Pond

Norwood Pond is a Raquette River reservoir located on the southwest side of the village of... Read More

Blue Gill/Sun Fish Crappies Northern Pike Perch Pumpkinseeds Rock Bass Smallmouth Bass Walleyes

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Oswegatchie River

Originating from five small flows in the Adirondack’s Five Ponds Wilderness Area, the Oswegatchie... Read More

Northern Pike Smallmouth Bass Walleyes

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Raquette River

The Upper Raquette River has good bass fishing and fair angling for pike and walleye, but this... Read More

Blue Gill/Sun Fish Crappies Muskellunge Northern Pike Perch Pumpkinseeds Rock Bass Walleyes

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Raquette River Reservoirs

The construction of hydroelectric dams on the Raquette River created a series of eight reservoirs... Read More

Blue Gill/Sun Fish Catfish/Bullhead Crappies Largemouth Bass Muskellunge Northern Pike Perch Pumpkinseeds Rock Bass Smallmouth Bass Trout Walleyes

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St. Lawrence River

The St. Lawrence River is famous for smallmouth and largemouth bass, northern pike and... Read More

Carp Catfish/Bullhead Crappies Largemouth Bass Muskellunge Northern Pike Perch Pumpkinseeds Rock Bass Smallmouth Bass Walleyes

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St. Regis River

The St. Regis River originates in a neighboring county, but a portion of its water flows through... Read More

Blue Gill/Sun Fish Crappies Muskellunge Northern Pike Perch Pumpkinseeds Rock Bass Trout Walleyes

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Yellow, Grasse, and Pleasant Lakes

Yellow, Grasse, and Pleasant lakes are part of the Indian River Lakes system. With a maximum... Read More

Blue Gill/Sun Fish Crappies Largemouth Bass Northern Pike Perch Pumpkinseeds Rock Bass Smallmouth Bass Walleyes