Summer Pike Fishing
Why is it considered preferable to fish for Pike in the colder winter months? Here, Andy Black helps answer this question.
"Pike fishing in the summer always causes debate, which is more to do with water temperatures than time of year. When the water is warm, Pike are more active gobbling baits, and fighting hard. However, as the temperatures rise the oxygen-carrying capacity of the water decreases, and herein lies the problem. As the Pike can fight to exhaustion, it can take a long time for them to recover after capture - sometimes even leading to mortalities, especially if a Pike has been played for a long time or handled badly, or kept out the water too long."
In the winter when the water is cooler and the Pike are more lethargic, there is not usually a problem. Due to this many people even go as far as saying you shouldn't Pike fish until the first frosts, while others say it's ok to fish for them all year round. I think it's more dependent on the water you're fishing than the time of year. For example, on a big reservoir, the water temperature is going to be a lot lower then say a shallow lowland river, and so it will be safer to fish for them there. I Pike fish in the summer, but only on big reservoirs, glacial lakes, and northern locks, and even then I avoid the hottest days.
As for tactics, for me its lure or fly fishing only - obviously you can catch on live and dead baits in the summer but there is a tendency for Pike to gobble baits at this time of year. This can cause deep hooking which is never good, especially so in the warmer months when the fish simply don't take this kind of handling, and all you will end up with is belly up Pike.
Using a lure or a fly, you are in direct contact with the fish at the first hit so there should be less risk of a deep hooked Pike, but there is always a chance that they will engulf the lure at this time of year. You need to know what you're doing and have the correct unhooking tools, including long nosed pliers, side cutters and bolt croppers to cut the hooks, if needed.
So in conclusion, yes, you can Pike fish in the summer months, but be aware of where you're fishing and what you're doing, the last thing anyone wants is a dead Pike. If you're unsure about Pike handling and unhooking, firstly go with someone that knows what they are doing, and secondly wait until the autumn/winter months.