By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist
The Panhandle offers a unique fishing opportunity for northern pike not found elsewhere in Idaho, which anglers can enjoy while at the same time keeping the fish’s population in check which is a good thing for other species.
There are about 23 bodies of water in northern Idaho that have pike. The fish are commonly found in Coeur d’Alene Lake and the “chain” lakes along the Coeur d’Alene River. Coeur d’Alene Lake has opportunities for shore and boat fishing, and the chain lakes range from about 200 to 700 acres, which makes them suitable for smaller motor boats and craft like canoes, kayaks and float tubes. They also offer a variety of game fish and easy access, along with boating, picnicking and campsites.
For other waters that have northern pike, check Idaho Fish and Game’s Fishing Planner at fishandgame.idaho.gov. Scroll to the bottom the home page to the Fishing Planner logo.
Northern pike are a large predatory fish (the state record is 40 pounds), that can be taken on a variety of tackle. Many anglers target them, but pike are also taken incidentally when angers are pursuing other types of fish.
Spring is the best time to fish for pike because the fish are often found in shallow water, and weeds have not grown that can make fishing for them more challenging.
Lots of choices for anglers
Pike fishing can be a simple or as complicated as you want to make it. For anglers who prefer the basics, dangling a hook baited with smelt or other bait beneath a bobber will catch these fish. But considering their aggressive nature, many anglers prefer to tempt them out of their lairs to chase and strike a fleeing lure.