One of the top predators in any system throughout their range, northern pike are known to be ferocious hunters and incredibly hard fighters. They’re usually under-targeted by anglers, which is another reason why pike fishing is one of the most exciting and action-packed activities you can do on a northern lake.
In this article, we’re introducing you to the best lures for northern pike as we review our top 10 bait recommendations on the market. We’re also sharing some tips to help you catch stubborn pike. Let’s not waste any time and hop in!
10 Best Northern Pike Lures
There are many great lures out there that can work wonders when pike fishing but there are some that just consistently seem to rise above the rest.
These are our picks for the ten best northern pike lures (artificial bait) out there. If your tackle box is full of these you should be able to catch pike anywhere!
The Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper is one of the best lures for topwater fishing, and it happens to be quite enticing for active pike. This hair is made out of sturdy plastic material and it’s available in two sizes: 6 inches or 7 inches.
As such, this lure is designed to be big enough for northern pike to grab onto. The tail part of the lure also features extra weight to forces it to sit tail down.
This position makes for an effective bobbing target and produces the same sounds as baitfish swimming away. Additionally, it creates a “walk the dog” action that’s very tempting to hungry predators.
What’s more, the Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper comes with two high-quality rust-resistant hooks, which means fewer losses for you. When it comes to colors, this lure has many options to choose from, including bone, mullet, green mackerel, and gold black back.
Some patterns have painted scales, fins, and gill plates. Others, like the pearl redhead, use their shine to mimic baitfish scales and attract bites in any topside weather and water conditions.
If you ask any experienced angler about the best baits for catching northern pike, they’re bound to mention a spinnerbait. One of the most popular spinnerbaits on the market is the BOOYAH Pikee Spinner-Bait.
It’s an excellent choice for fishing in heavy vegetation, which is a favorable environment for pike. The reason for such compatibility is the framed design of the lure that helps keep weeds away from the hook to minimize the chances of getting stuck.
Created specifically for catching northern pike and muskies, the BOOYAH Pike Spinnerbait is made out of Vibra-Flx wireframe which is very tough and capable of enduring the predator’s bite. Additionally, the 12-inch steel leader prevents fish from biting through the line.
Whether or not this lure is able to withstand a strike is only important if you manage to get a catch to begin with. Luckily, this spinnerbait creates an impressive frenzy upon retrieval thanks to its double willow blades and Silo-Tex skirt — maximizing your chances of securing a catch.
The willow blades generate tempting vibration and shine, while the skirt simulates the undulating movement of a fleeing baitfish. The addition of a realistic fish head along with an oversized eye and painted gill plate contributes to the overall effect.
The BOOYAH Pike Spinnerbait comes in several color options including perch, crawfish, sunfish, and luminescent Glowtreuse.
If you’re planning to fish in thick weed beds, much like a lot of northern pike anglers, the Berkely Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon Lure is one of the best baits to tag along. This lure style has been used by dedicated pike fisherpeople for a long time given its reliable performance.
Being virtually weedless, this lure gives you a huge advantage for fishing dense weeds. The hook is smartly tucked behind the spoon itself to allow for smooth movement through the thickest of lily pads, grass, and underwater weeds.
This lure also has a natural wobble that closely mimics baitfish in distress with both vibration and shine.
Although the Silver Minnow is available in various colors and sizes, we highly recommend the 3/4-inch option since it’s equally great for reeling in, twitching, jigging, and swiping off the bottom.
The Salty Super Fluke Lure from Zoom Bait is a proven effective choice for catching pike. It offers an enticing combination of flavor, appearance, action, and vibration thanks to its salty taste and fine flukes.
When rigged on a good-quality hook, the possibilities are wide open. You can work this bait like a small pike, perch, or shad.
Additionally, you rig it weedless to penetrate deep covers if you’re planning on fishing thick weed beds. Such versatility is one of the biggest advantages you can get from “plain” soft baits, unlike other competitors.
The Zoom Bait Salty Super Fluke Bait comes in a wide array of colors and patterns including Bubblegum, Lemon Shad, and Watermelon Seed.
Another excellent choice for a spinnerbait is the Worden’s Original Rooster Tail Spinner Lure by Yakima Bait. Available in many sizes from 3/8 ounces up to 1 ounce, this bait is surely big enough to provide plenty of leverage for pike to grab onto.
Additionally, Worden’s Original offers a unique spinning action along with an in-line weighted body design. It also has genuine silver, brass, or copper blades as well as a pulsating hackle tail that attracts fish in a way that no other spinner on the market can match.
This tough lure comes in dozens of color options. We recommend you try the Rainbow version since it mimics a small pike, which plays on pike’s ferocious cannibalism.
Not only is the GTN Musky Slayer one of the best lures for musky fishing, but it also happens to be one of the top choices for catching northern pike. For many years, this manufacturer has been the go-to source for reliable spinning baits, and the Musky Slayer definitely lives up to its reputation.
Out of all the pike baits on our list, one can argue that the Musky Slayer is the easiest to fish. Although retrieving it following a cast is pretty much the same every time, the natural flash and vibration provided by the lure will effectively attract fish to your line with minimal effort on your side.
Available in single and tandem versions, the Musky Slayer works great for fishing the outskirts of weed beds and structures. However, there’s a risk it’ll get caught up if you cast it into thick underwater vegetation.
Specifically developed to catch pike, musky, and trophy bass, the Strike King Shadlicious Swimbait is made out of soft plastic. With such a flexible body, this lure can closely mimic the natural swimming action of baitfish.
What’s more, its design allows it to slowly sink into the water, successfully boosting the life-like effect. This is further supported by the lure’s realistic fins, 3D eyes, as well as painted gill plate and scales.
Also, the plastic tail is curled to give the lure a frantic back-and-forth motion, which triggers the hunting mode of pike.
For extra versatility, you can attach the Strike King Shadlicious Swimbait to a jighead, weighted hook, or an internal jighead. However, you should make sure that the hook size matches the bait’s size.
Available in twelve colors to choose from, you’re bound to find a lure to suit any water and weather condition.
Although the market is flooded with pike spoon baits in an overwhelming variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, many anglers are loyally sticking to the Original Dardevle Spoon Bair.
Made in the United States, this classic lure has stood the test of time, proving to be irresistible to pike and other freshwater gamefish for more than 100 years. It’s constructed out of metal and weighs 3/4 ounces with a single treble hook.
It has a concave shape that provides unique wiggling and wobbling action, which effectively generates the required flash and vibration to capture the attention of the waiting predator.
There’s a wide selection of sizes and colors available from this spoon bait, ranging from the traditional red/white stripe to newer versions such as rainbow trout and mackerel.
However, many angling experts consider the yellow/red diamond pattern to be the ultimate option for targeting pike.
Rapala has been in the industry since 1936, so it had plenty of time to perfected the craft and the Super Shad Rap is here to vouch for its capability.
This lure is the larger equivalent to the company’s pride, the Shad Rap, and it performs quite well when it comes to catching northern pike and musky. The durable construction allows it to withstand the violent strikes of the more aggressive pike.
Not to mention, this bait has a lifelike floating design that you can smoothly retrieve in various ways. You can drop it to profound depths, lung it through weed beds, or draw out gamefish by casting above underwater structures.
We’re big fans of crankbaits in general when it comes to catching these voracious freshwater predators. That’s why we had a whole article
Last but not least, if you’re interested in trolling along drop-offs and weed lines or targeting trophy pike in deep water, then the Northland Tackle Bionic Bucktail Fishing Jig can serve you right.
The bucktail is genuinely hand-tied and the jig head is realistically designed to imitate the size, shape, and movement of pike forage species such as alewife, cisco, and perch. It even has an oversized reflective eye to complete the illusion.
Thanks to the presence of two tie-rue, you can use the center one for vertical jigging and the forward one for casting and trolling.
This lure is also equipped with a single jig hook and a trailing treble hook hidden in the bucktail for hooking short-striking pike. The treble hook is attached with a steel leader to prevent your catch from biting through the wire and escaping.
Made in the USA, the Northland Tackle Bionic Bucktail Fishing Jig weighs 1 ounce and comes in multiple colors including white cisco and glow rainbow.
Tips for Catching Northern Pike
- When pike fishing, you should know where to look. Consider targeting shallower, weedy areas like bays and flats as well as outside weed lines, pad fields, and reed or wild rice beds especially throughout the summer.
- Don’t spend too much time fishing in areas where you’re not getting bit. Instead, you should keep the trolling motor running on high and use moving baits to cover water until you find some active fish.
- Pike will group in specific spots in the grass, so mark the areas where you find them and try to target other areas that look similar.
- Pike are visual feeders and are easily attracted to bright colors. Be sure to use bait with high-visibility colors such as white and chartreuse.
- Pike are also enticed by baits that produce a lot of vibration or sound.
- When targeting pike, it’s okay to use a bigger lure or bait. Bigger baits are easier to spot from farther away, which allows you to draw pike from farther distances.
- Pike can grow quite large, which makes fighting them a hard task. To up your chances in catching large pike, your rod, reel, and lines should be equipped to handle the job. This includes medium-heavy to heavy power rods and strong braided lines.
- The average pike has hundreds of razor-sharp teeth that can destroy your fishing line without issues. For this reason, you must use a leader with your lures. Relying on abrasion-resistant main lines isn’t enough for pike fishing.
Best Pike Bait: Wrap Up
Choosing the best bait for pike ultimately comes down to what you feel most comfortable using in terms of style and budget. Each of the outstanding lures we reviewed on today’s list can make a fine addition to your tackle box, so if there’s one you haven’t tried before, be sure to give it a go!
From “plain” soft baits to spoons and spinnerbait, they’re all irresistible to pike magnets as long as you fish them properly.