I often smart off that northern pike are called “northern” for a reason: They are a cool-water fish who’s native range is thought to have extended only as far south as north-central Nebraska. Many waters, especially in eastern and southern Nebraska, simply can get too warm during the summer to support northern pike.
Where we do have northern pike in Nebraska, they go through their spawning rituals as soon as the ice is gone. If we have ice longer than usual, pike will even begin spawning activity under the ice. Spawning occurs in shallow areas, ideally with some aquatic vegetation or other shallow water cover. Marshy areas are classic pike-spawning habitats.
One thing for certain, by late ice in February and ice-out in March, pike will be present near or in their spawning habitats.
Here are a few examples of some toothy monsters our Nebraska Game & Parks Commission fisheries biologists and helpers have had their hands on already this spring.
I promise to tell you more next week about some of the pike work our biologists are doing right now. Yes, it has been windy most days and darned cold on some of them.
Oh yes, they are biting too!