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Lake Winnibigoshish Northern Pike

       While many lakes in the North country have an excellent population of northerns, when it comes to numbers of Lake Winnibigoshish Northern Pikenice pike, Winnie may just be the crown jewel. The lake's many weedbeds are just loaded with northerns, and many of them are between five and 10 pounds. Occasionally, bigger fish in the 15-pound class are taken as well. Fish of this size need to be released to fight again some day. If too many of these fish are removed, the balance of the fishery changes, with smaller "hammerhandle" northerns dominating. If they are properly prepared with the Y bones removed, northern pike are an excellent fish to eat. Save the smaller ones you catch to eat and release the bigger fish to help insure a quality fishery for the years ahead. For anglers who want lots of action, it isn't unusual to put over 50 northerns in the boat a day on Winnie. That's excellent fishing anywhere! Lets take a look at the equipment needed to get in on the action.

       While sometimes it may seem as if northerns are everywhere on Winnie, some areas are better than others. Anyplace cabbage weeds can be found is a good place to start fishing for northerns. The shoreline on the north side of the lake from The Dugouts to Stoney Point has many weedbeds scattered along it. The west shoreline from the Mississippi River north to Third River Flowage also have many weedbeds which can be productive. On the northeast side of the lake the Tamarack Point and Bowens Flats area have considerable weedgrowth as well. Much of this weedgrow this scattered so one has to cover water in order to come in contact with fish. While trolling is a good tactic to cover water many anglers prefer to cast because they find it more enjoyable. Either method is effective.
       Many of the presentations effective for muskies will work well to catch northern pike on Winnie. A favorite method of many fisherman is to use jerkbaits. The best jerkbaits feature a wide side to side action to trigger northerns into striking. Baits such as the Amma Bamma and the Fudally Reef Hawg exemplify this type of action. Make sure to use a good quality steel leader such as a Windels Stainless Wire Leader. For these baits to work best, retrieve them slowly with short jerks. These baits will work over the tops of the weedgrowth and are deadly on the northerns on Winnie. Tandem style spinnerbaits like a Northland Reed Runner Spinnerbait or one of the many styles of musky spinnerbaits available work excellent as well. Adding a plastic trailer, such as a 3-inch double twistertail, will increase their effectiveness. These baits need to be retrieved fairly fast with a steady retrieve. Shallow running crankbaits such as a Rapala Husky Jerk or Cisco Kid will work on Winnie as well. They can be fished at a fast retrieve to trigger strikes and allow an angler to cover lots of water looking for aggressive fish. On the rare days when the northerns aren't going for the above presentations, it's time to pull out the stops and go to live bait. Nothing works better for this than a big jig like a Northland Stinger Bucktail tipped with a 4- to 5-inch sucker minnow. Cast this out and work it through the weedgrowth. These tactics are sure to get you lots of action and if there is one word to describe northern pike fishing on Winnie it would be just that action!