When Do Pike Spawn? (Times, Temperatures, Locations)


Are you curious about when pike spawn? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Pike spawning is an incredible process that involves the prolific egg production of female pike. These remarkable fish can lay an astounding 8,000 to 12,000 eggs per pound! And if that’s not impressive enough, fully matured females can release anywhere between 200,000 and 400,000 eggs. But here’s the catch – the mortality rate of juvenile pike is quite high, ranging from 80 to 95%. That’s why female pike have evolved to produce as many eggs as possible.

In this article, we’ll dive into the specific times, temperatures, and locations when pike spawn. We’ll also explore their pre-spawn behavior, preferred hunting grounds, post-spawn behavior, and even how female pike can carry immature eggs until the next spawning season.

So, let’s get started and unlock the secrets of pike spawning together!

Key Takeaways

  • Female pike lay a large number of eggs, ranging from 8,000 to 12,000 per pound and fully matured females can lay between 200,000 and 400,000 eggs.
  • Pike have a high mortality rate of juvenile pike, ranging from 80 to 95%.
  • Pre-spawn female pike gain 15 to 20% of their bodyweight, making them a target for trophy anglers.
  • After spawning, pike return to hunting grounds, preferring deeper waters but also roaming shallower waters for prey.

When It Happens

Pike spawn once a year and return to their hunting grounds after spawning. The triggers for pike spawning are primarily environmental factors such as water temperature and length of daylight. Generally, pike begin to spawn when the water temperature reaches around 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (7 to 10 degrees Celsius). This usually occurs in early spring, but the exact timing can vary depending on the region and weather conditions.

Pike prefer to spawn in shallow areas with dense vegetation, such as marshes, weed beds, or flooded areas. These areas provide protection for the eggs and fry. Once the spawning is complete, pike will migrate back to their preferred hunting grounds, which are usually in deeper waters. However, they may also roam shallower waters in search of prey.

Egg Production and Mortality

During the pike spawning season, it is common for excessive egg production and high mortality rates among the juvenile pike. Pike are known for their incredible ability to produce a large number of eggs, with fully matured females laying between 200,000 and 400,000 eggs. This means that for every pound of their bodyweight, they can lay 8,000 to 12,000 eggs.

However, despite their impressive egg production, the mortality rate of juvenile pike is quite high, ranging from 80 to 95%. Factors such as cannibalism, where older and younger fish prey on larvae and juveniles, contribute to this high mortality rate.

These predation rates greatly impact the survival and success of pike eggs, ultimately shaping the population dynamics of these fish.

Pre-Spawn Weight Gain

Before spawning, female pike experience a significant weight gain, typically adding 15 to 20% of their bodyweight. This extra weight can make a big difference, especially in larger pike. It is during this pre-spawn period that trophy anglers often target these fish for weight records. The additional weight is crucial for the success of the spawning process and the survival of the eggs. To give you an idea of the impact of pre-spawn weight on pike fishing, here is a table showcasing the bodyweight and the additional weight gained by female pike before spawning:

Bodyweight (lbs) Additional Pre-Spawn Weight (lbs)
10 1.5 – 2
20 3 – 4
30 4.5 – 6
40 6 – 8
50 7.5 – 10

These numbers are based on optimal conditions, and it is important to note that individual pike may vary. Nonetheless, understanding the factors affecting pre-spawn weight gain and its impact on fishing success can greatly enhance your chances of catching a trophy pike.

Preferred Hunting Grounds

In their post-spawn phase, pike typically return to their preferred hunting grounds, often found in deeper waters. After the exhausting process of spawning, pike need to replenish their energy and find ample food sources.

Here are three key behaviors and hunting strategies that pike employ during this phase:

  1. Ambush Predators: Pike are known for their stealthy hunting techniques. They patiently lurk in the shadows, using their camouflage to blend into their surroundings. When prey swims by, they strike with lightning speed, engulfing their target in their powerful jaws.

  2. Cover and Structure: Pike are experts at utilizing cover and structure to their advantage. They seek out areas with vegetation, fallen trees, and rocky structures, where they can hide and wait for unsuspecting prey to pass by. These structures also provide opportunities for pike to launch surprise attacks.

  3. Patience and Persistence: Pike are patient hunters, capable of waiting for long periods of time for the perfect opportunity to strike. They have incredible stamina and will persistently pursue their prey until they are successful. Their determination and focus make them formidable predators in their preferred hunting grounds.

Understanding these pike behaviors and hunting strategies can greatly enhance your chances of successfully targeting them during their post-spawn phase.

Post-Spawn Behavior

After the exhausting process of spawning, pike return to their preferred hunting grounds and employ various strategies to replenish their energy and find ample food sources. They often head to deeper waters, where they can find abundant prey. However, pike may also roam shallower areas in search of smaller fish or other prey.

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During this time, the fry, which have hatched from their eggs, feed on their yolk-sac until they are able to swim and hunt for themselves. Juvenile pike initially stay close to their spawning ground, gradually moving further away as they grow.

When it comes to fishing techniques, targeting pike in their post-spawn phase can be highly productive. Understanding their growth patterns and preferred hunting grounds can help anglers strategize their approach and increase their chances of a successful catch.

Once a Year

You can expect pike to spawn only once a year. Pike spawning locations vary, but they typically prefer shallow, weedy areas in lakes or slow-moving rivers. These areas provide the necessary cover and protection for their eggs.

Pike spawning temperatures play a crucial role in determining the timing of their spawning. The water temperature needs to be around 40 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 9 degrees Celsius) for successful spawning to occur. This usually happens in early spring, when the ice has melted and water temperatures start to rise.

Once the ideal temperature is reached, female pike release their eggs, and male pike fertilize them. After spawning, pike will return to their hunting grounds, which are usually in deeper waters, while the eggs hatch and the fry start their journey.

Carrying Immature Eggs

If you’re wondering about the reproductive cycle of female pike, it’s interesting to note that they are capable of carrying immature eggs until the next spawning season.

This ability allows them to ensure the survival of their offspring in case environmental conditions are not favorable for spawning. Female pike have the remarkable ability to retain these immature eggs within their bodies for an extended period of time.

During this period, the eggs continue to develop until they are ready to be fertilized and laid during the next spawning season. This unique adaptation demonstrates the incredible reproductive strategy of pike and their commitment to producing as many offspring as possible.

By carrying these immature eggs, female pike can maximize their reproductive success and increase the chances of their species’ survival.

Recommended Fishing Equipment

To ensure a successful fishing trip, it is important to have the recommended fishing equipment for pike fishing. When it comes to fishing techniques, having the right tackle is crucial.

For your rod, the 7 Ugly Stick GX2 Casting Rod is highly recommended. Its sturdy construction and sensitive tip will help you feel even the slightest nibble.

Pair it with the Abu Garcia Revo Beast 41 Baitcasting Reel, known for its smooth operation and powerful drag system.

And don’t forget to spool your reel with Power Pro Spectra mainline, which offers excellent strength and sensitivity.

In addition to having the right equipment, tackle maintenance is also important. Regularly clean and inspect your tackle to ensure optimal performance.

With the recommended fishing equipment and proper tackle maintenance, you’ll be well-prepared to reel in those trophy pike. Happy fishing!

Best Time of Day

The best time of day to fish for pike is during the early morning or late afternoon. Pike are most actively feeding during these times, making it easier for anglers to attract their attention. Pike are known for their voracious feeding habits, preying on a variety of fish, amphibians, and small mammals.

During the early morning and late afternoon, the low light conditions provide cover for pike as they ambush their prey. Additionally, these times of day tend to have cooler water temperatures, which can increase the pike’s activity level.

Factors affecting pike spawning success, such as water temperature and clarity, do not play a significant role in determining the best time of day to fish for them. Therefore, anglers should take advantage of the early morning and late afternoon hours to increase their chances of landing a trophy-sized pike.

Related Articles and Topics

Check out the related articles and topics for more information on pike fishing techniques and tackle recommendations. Here are three exciting and effective pike fishing techniques to enhance your angling experience:

  • Topwater Fishing: Try using topwater lures like buzzbaits or poppers to entice pike to strike. The explosive surface strikes are sure to get your heart racing and create unforgettable memories on the water.

  • Jerkbait Fishing: Jerkbaits mimic injured baitfish, making them irresistible to hungry pike. Use a jerking and pausing retrieve to imitate the erratic movements of wounded prey, triggering aggressive strikes from these voracious predators.

  • Soft Plastic Fishing: Soft plastic lures, such as swimbaits or rubber worms, can be deadly for pike. Rig them on a weedless hook and work them through weed beds or along drop-offs to tempt pike into biting.

By incorporating these pike fishing techniques and experimenting with different pike fishing lures, you’ll increase your chances of landing that trophy-sized fish and have an unforgettable angling adventure.


So there you have it! Now you know all about when pike spawn.

It’s truly a remarkable process, with female pike laying thousands of eggs and facing high mortality rates for their offspring.

These fish are smart, too, as they gain weight before spawning to become attractive targets for trophy anglers.

After spawning, pike return to their hunting grounds, often in deeper waters, and juvenile pike gradually move away as they grow.

Remember, pike only spawn once a year, and female pike can carry immature eggs until the next season.

Happy fishing!

About the author

Kimberly is an experienced angler and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for all things fishing. She has been honing her skills on the water for over 7 years, mastering various techniques and tactics for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

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