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Category Archives: Spawning

Understanding Pike Spawning Behavior

pike (2)Depending on when and where you’re fishing, understanding the spawning behavior of northern pike can be crucial to your angling success, especially as it relates to fish location.

When ready to spawn, pike head for the sheltered areas along some shorelines or in the back of bays. They prefer sandy or silted areas over gravel or rocks, and preferably, vegetation should be present. Pike also like to spawn in the dead stems of rushes and reeds at the back of protected bays.

When the spawning period begins, the males are the first to arrive at the breeding grounds. They may stay there for up to a month; however, the average stay is about 14 days. When the females arrive, their average stay is about 10 days. There is evidence that pike return to the same breeding grounds.

pike spawning 3
Once a female becomes ripe, the shorter male will swim by her side, eye to eye, insuring that the milt he excretes will mix well with the eggs deposited by the female. While mating, the male will repeatedly bump the female by flicking his abdomen against her sides, prompting her to release her eggs. The whole spawning operation can be completed anywhere from one and a half to five or more hours.

Pike Act Fast
Spawning dates can vary from year to year and from location to location. Much depends on the length of the winter and ice-out time. Spawning is stimulated by a rise in water temperature and by increased periods of light.

The number of eggs laid by a single pike can vary; it depends upon the size of the female. A small pike may lay anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 eggs; a pike of 15 or more pounds may lay anywhere from 180,000 to 225,000. The time it takes to hatch the eggs can also vary, depending upon water temperature. Eggs laid in water at 43 degrees will take up to 26 days to hatch. Eggs laid in 50-degree water will hatch in 12 days.

Hatching percentage can range anywhere from 99 percent to nothing. A drop in water level, severe cold weather, and predators can all take a heavy toll on eggs and hatchlings.

Hatchlings Grow Quicklyfrypike_swimuplg
Newly hatched fry don’t resemble their parents. They have no fins and their mouths must develop into the familiar duck-like bill. Northern pike fry start out no more than nine millimeters long. During this time, the fry attach themselves to weeds and grasses, and get their nourishment from an attached yolk sack.

Most pike move to the main lake area during their first 25 days of life. (This is before they have reached an inch in length!) Once out in the main lake they hide in dense vegetation to feed and find cover from predators.

Pike eat heartily and grow amazingly fast. Studies have shown they grow at the rate of .7 inch every 10 days. When they reach 1+1/2 inches in length, scales begin to appear; at 3 inches, their scales are fully developed.

Increased growth coincides with the increased size of the food source. Growth rates vary according to the latitude. In the northern-most part of their range, pike may take seven years to reach 20 inches; 12 years to reach 30. Northern live to over 25 years in the far North.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

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EARLY SPRING LAKE WALLEYE

100_0368

Walleye will be on the move toward spawning locations during early spring. Spawning sites vary from lake to lake. Spawning habitat requires moving water, however, so walleye ascend tributaries, where they spawn over gravel bars or in mild riffles. In lakes, they generally spawn over shoals with rock, gravel or sand bottoms. In both cases, the water is typically quite shallow. The movement of walleye schools toward spawning sites may take weeks, and walleye may stage nearby for several days.

Long underwater points are good places to intercept walleyes as they move. (This is also a good pattern after the spawn.) Casting stick baits over the points is very effective.   Retrieve slowly. This can be done either from boats or while wading. Probably the most reliable fishing pattern for prespawn walleye in lakes is in situations in which walleye spawn in tributaries. This is simply a matter of the walleye being concentrated in a relatively small area.

26
Our smaller section of Wawang Lake makes the perfect spawning area for our walleye. Hot spots will continue to move as the spawn approaches, starting near the tributary mouth.  Later, drop offs, deep pools and calm areas on the insides of bends get hot. The first good spawning habitat will stop most movement.

25

Fish behavior is rarely as simple as you might have read. Each body of water has peculiar characteristics that affect walleye in different ways. Even in a single body of water, different walleyes, or age-classes of walleye, will often behave in various ways. At least one of the tactics described here should get you into the game at most places, but keep your eyes and ears alert for whatever local anglers are doing.

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Understanding Pike Spawning Behavior

pike (2)Depending on when and where you’re fishing, understanding the spawning behavior of northern pike can be crucial to your angling success, especially as it relates to fish location.

When ready to spawn, pike head for the sheltered areas along some shorelines or in the back of bays. They prefer sandy or silted areas over gravel or rocks, and preferably, vegetation should be present. Pike also like to spawn in the dead stems of rushes and reeds at the back of protected bays.

When the spawning period begins, the males are the first to arrive at the breeding grounds. They may stay there for up to a month; however, the average stay is about 14 days. When the females arrive, their average stay is about 10 days. There is evidence that pike return to the same breeding grounds.

pike spawning 3
Once a female becomes ripe, the shorter male will swim by her side, eye to eye, insuring that the milt he excretes will mix well with the eggs deposited by the female. While mating, the male will repeatedly bump the female by flicking his abdomen against her sides, prompting her to release her eggs. The whole spawning operation can be completed anywhere from one and a half to five or more hours.

Pike Act Fast
Spawning dates can vary from year to year and from location to location. Much depends on the length of the winter and ice-out time. Spawning is stimulated by a rise in water temperature and by increased periods of light.

The number of eggs laid by a single pike can vary; it depends upon the size of the female. A small pike may lay anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 eggs; a pike of 15 or more pounds may lay anywhere from 180,000 to 225,000. The time it takes to hatch the eggs can also vary, depending upon water temperature. Eggs laid in water at 43 degrees will take up to 26 days to hatch. Eggs laid in 50-degree water will hatch in 12 days.

Hatching percentage can range anywhere from 99 percent to nothing. A drop in water level, severe cold weather, and predators can all take a heavy toll on eggs and hatchlings.

Hatchlings Grow Quicklyfrypike_swimuplg
Newly hatched fry don’t resemble their parents. They have no fins and their mouths must develop into the familiar duck-like bill. Northern pike fry start out no more than nine millimeters long. During this time, the fry attach themselves to weeds and grasses, and get their nourishment from an attached yolk sack.

Most pike move to the main lake area during their first 25 days of life. (This is before they have reached an inch in length!) Once out in the main lake they hide in dense vegetation to feed and find cover from predators.

Pike eat heartily and grow amazingly fast. Studies have shown they grow at the rate of .7 inch every 10 days. When they reach 1+1/2 inches in length, scales begin to appear; at 3 inches, their scales are fully developed.

Increased growth coincides with the increased size of the food source. Growth rates vary according to the latitude. In the northern-most part of their range, pike may take seven years to reach 20 inches; 12 years to reach 30. Northern live to over 25 years in the far North.

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EARLY SPRING LAKE WALLEYE

29

Walleye will be on the move toward spawning locations during early spring. Spawning sites vary from lake to lake. Spawning habitat requires moving water, however, so walleye ascend tributaries, where they spawn over gravel bars or in mild riffles. In lakes, they generally spawn over shoals with rock, gravel or sand bottoms. In both cases, the water is typically quite shallow. The movement of walleye schools toward spawning sites may take weeks, and walleye may stage nearby for several days.

Long underwater points are good places to intercept walleyes as they move. (This is also a good pattern after the spawn.) Casting stick baits over the points is very effective.   Retrieve slowly. This can be done either from boats or while wading. Probably the most reliable fishing pattern for prespawn walleye in lakes is in situations in which walleye spawn in tributaries. This is simply a matter of the walleye being concentrated in a relatively small area.

Our smaller section of Wawang Lake makes the perfect spawning area for our walleye. Hot spots will continue to move as the spawn approaches, starting near the tributary mouth.  Later, drop offs, deep pools and calm areas on the insides of bends get hot. The first good spawning habitat will stop most movement. 0608walleyelg

Fish behavior is rarely as simple as you might have read. Each body of water has peculiar characteristics that affect walleye in different ways. Even in a single body of water, different walleyes, or age-classes of walleye, will often behave in various ways. At least one of the tactics described here should get you into the game at most places, but keep your eyes and ears alert for whatever local anglers are doing.

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When and Where to Find Northern Pike

Now, who does not love catching a hard fighting northern pike. The northern pike is a voracious predator that is usually perched on top of the local food chain. and described the northern pike as “a tyrant, a fish that is solitary and bold”.

To suggest the northern pike is a tyrant may be a little harsh. However, this fish is truly bold could be an understatement. This predatory fish is often the top predator wherever it swims. This is one of the few species with a circumpolar distribution as it is found throughout the northern hemisphere. This species has a major following wherever it is found. Due to this following many anglers target this species. In Southern Canada, many species like walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, black crappie and muskellunge have a loyal following of anglers. However, early in the season many anglers will target northern pike as this predatory fish has predictable habits. They are relatively easy to locate and catch with a little homework.

Diane Rohl – 43″ Northern Pike

 Spawning – The Details
Northern pike spawning takes place during the spring when water temperatures are between 40°F to 52°. Often there may be ice on the main lake and northern pike are already seeking out spawning locations in local marshes and tributaries. Northern pike will seek out spawning areas in heavily vegetated areas of river floodplains, marshes and the bays of large lakes. Northern pike are often associated with high densities of emergent vegetation such as sedges, grasses, cattails, etc. Northern pike will spawn in pairs but one female may see several suitors during the spawning season. Spawning takes place in very shallow water, often only a few inches deep. Unlike sunfish species (i.e. largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed) no nest is constructed. Eggs and sperm are scattered onto surrounding vegetation. Spawning pairs may stay together for a few days spawning repeatedly during that time. Eggs are very adhesive and will actually stick to the surrounding vegetation. Emergent vegetation provides a great surface for egg adhesion. Fish will remain in the spawning areas for a short time after spawning. At that time they will retreat to deeper water nearby to rest and begin feeding after the rigors of spawning.

Pike Spawning habitat1

Pike Spawning Habitat

Pike Spawning habitat2

Pike Spawning Habitat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Locating Spawning Habitat – Map Study
Why would anglers want to locate northern pike spawning areas? In Ontario, most spawning seasons are protected calendar periods for fish to spawn in peace. This holds true for northern pike across much of Ontario. However, locating spawning habitat for northern pike will help anglers locate fish even after season opens. As mentioned above, northern pike will setup in feeding areas near their spawning areas as they recuperate from the rigors of spawning. Armed with a basic knowledge of pike spawning habitats and lake characteristics anglers can narrow their search for northern pike relatively quickly. For anglers pursuing northern pike in Ontario they can use the Ministry of Natural Resources Fish Online web application. This tool can help you find lots of information about waterbodies in Ontario included species lists, fishing regulation information, boat launches, lake bathymetry and more. You can even complete fishing reports to help inform the Ministry of Natural Resources about fishing conditions in the lakes you fish!

Locating Spawning Areas – Time on the Water
Water temperature is very important to determine what stage of the spawn northern pike will be in. A large lake could see northern pike at various spawning stages around the lake depending on the location of the spawning habitats. Many anglers will begin their search in the northern areas of most lakes. In the Northern Hemisphere lakes the northerly shorelines of all lakes will receive more sun exposure than southerly shorelines. From this general piece of information anglers can begin to survey bays, river mouths and flats for northern pike. With water in the 30 degree range (Fahrenheit), northern pike will be staging in deep water adjacent to spawning locations. As the water temperature rises into the 40 degree range, northern pike will begin to seek out spawning locations. Once water temperatures reach 50 degrees, northern pike will vacate spawning areas and setup in nearby deeper water.

Anglers are best to begin their search slowly from deep to shallow. Using their electronics, lures and eyes they can locate fish. Electronics will keep you dialed into the local water temperature. Casting large lures can be used to locate fish away from the boat. Casting in a methodical pattern to cover water can help locate northern pike or eliminate water. The final key search too is an anglers eyes. A good pair of polarized sunglasses will help you locate emerging vegetation and also fish. Northern pike are large predators but very wary in shallow water. Good polarized sunglasses will help anglers see them before the anglers themselves are spotted.

Here are some GREAT lure choices for northern pike:

 

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 I hope some of this information helps put a few more Northern Pike in your boat this year.  by Jason Barnucz

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Understanding Pike Spawning Behavior

pike (2)Depending on when and where you’re fishing, understanding the spawning behavior of northern pike can be crucial to your angling success, especially as it relates to fish location.

When ready to spawn, pike head for the sheltered areas along some shorelines or in the back of bays. They prefer sandy or silted areas over gravel or rocks, and preferably, vegetation should be present. Pike also like to spawn in the dead stems of rushes and reeds at the back of protected bays.

When the spawning period begins, the males are the first to arrive at the breeding grounds. They may stay there for up to a month; however, the average stay is about 14 days. When the females arrive, their average stay is about 10 days. There is evidence that pike return to the same breeding grounds.

pike spawning 3
Once a female becomes ripe, the shorter male will swim by her side, eye to eye, insuring that the milt he excretes will mix well with the eggs deposited by the female. While mating, the male will repeatedly bump the female by flicking his abdomen against her sides, prompting her to release her eggs. The whole spawning operation can be completed anywhere from one and a half to five or more hours.

Pike Act Fast
Spawning dates can vary from year to year and from location to location. Much depends on the length of the winter and ice-out time. Spawning is stimulated by a rise in water temperature and by increased periods of light.

The number of eggs laid by a single pike can vary; it depends upon the size of the female. A small pike may lay anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 eggs; a pike of 15 or more pounds may lay anywhere from 180,000 to 225,000. The time it takes to hatch the eggs can also vary, depending upon water temperature. Eggs laid in water at 43 degrees will take up to 26 days to hatch. Eggs laid in 50-degree water will hatch in 12 days.

Hatching percentage can range anywhere from 99 percent to nothing. A drop in water level, severe cold weather, and predators can all take a heavy toll on eggs and hatchlings.

Hatchlings Grow Quicklyfrypike_swimuplg
Newly hatched fry don’t resemble their parents. They have no fins and their mouths must develop into the familiar duck-like bill. Northern pike fry start out no more than nine millimeters long. During this time, the fry attach themselves to weeds and grasses, and get their nourishment from an attached yolk sack.

Most pike move to the main lake area during their first 25 days of life. (This is before they have reached an inch in length!) Once out in the main lake they hide in dense vegetation to feed and find cover from predators.

Pike eat heartily and grow amazingly fast. Studies have shown they grow at the rate of .7 inch every 10 days. When they reach 1+1/2 inches in length, scales begin to appear; at 3 inches, their scales are fully developed.

Just one of nine!

Lots of trophy northern pike swim in Wawang Lake

Increased growth coincides with the increased size of the food source. Growth rates vary according to the latitude. In the northern-most part of their range, pike may take seven years to reach 20 inches; 12 years to reach 30. Northern live to over 25 years in the far North.

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TESTIMONIALS    BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

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Tags: , , ,

Understanding Pike Spawning Behavior

pike (2)Depending on when and where you’re fishing, understanding the spawning behavior of northern pike can be crucial to your angling success, especially as it relates to fish location.

When ready to spawn, pike head for the sheltered areas along some shorelines or in the back of bays. They prefer sandy or silted areas over gravel or rocks, and preferably, vegetation should be present. Pike also like to spawn in the dead stems of rushes and reeds at the back of protected bays.

When the spawning period begins, the males are the first to arrive at the breeding grounds. They may stay there for up to a month; however, the average stay is about 14 days. When the females arrive, their average stay is about 10 days. There is evidence that pike return to the same breeding grounds.

pike spawning 3
Once a female becomes ripe, the shorter male will swim by her side, eye to eye, insuring that the milt he excretes will mix well with the eggs deposited by the female. While mating, the male will repeatedly bump the female by flicking his abdomen against her sides, prompting her to release her eggs. The whole spawning operation can be completed anywhere from one and a half to five or more hours.

Pike Act Fast
Spawning dates can vary from year to year and from location to location. Much depends on the length of the winter and ice-out time. Spawning is stimulated by a rise in water temperature and by increased periods of light.

The number of eggs laid by a single pike can vary; it depends upon the size of the female. A small pike may lay anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 eggs; a pike of 15 or more pounds may lay anywhere from 180,000 to 225,000. The time it takes to hatch the eggs can also vary, depending upon water temperature. Eggs laid in water at 43 degrees will take up to 26 days to hatch. Eggs laid in 50-degree water will hatch in 12 days.

Hatching percentage can range anywhere from 99 percent to nothing. A drop in water level, severe cold weather, and predators can all take a heavy toll on eggs and hatchlings.

Hatchlings Grow Quicklyfrypike_swimuplg
Newly hatched fry don’t resemble their parents. They have no fins and their mouths must develop into the familiar duck-like bill. Northern pike fry start out no more than nine millimeters long. During this time, the fry attach themselves to weeds and grasses, and get their nourishment from an attached yolk sack.

Most pike move to the main lake area during their first 25 days of life. (This is before they have reached an inch in length!) Once out in the main lake they hide in dense vegetation to feed and find cover from predators.

Pike eat heartily and grow amazingly fast. Studies have shown they grow at the rate of .7 inch every 10 days. When they reach 1+1/2 inches in length, scales begin to appear; at 3 inches, their scales are fully developed.

Increased growth coincides with the increased size of the food source. Growth rates vary according to the latitude. In the northern-most part of their range, pike may take seven years to reach 20 inches; 12 years to reach 30. Northern live to over 25 years in the far North.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

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