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Differences Between Catching Pike And Walleye

Aug 18, 2008
There are numerous differences between Northern Pike and Walleye Pike. As a fisherman you need to be aware of these differences and exploit them to your advantage.

Let's start with the physical differences. Northern Pike grow much larger than Walleye. The world record Walleye is about half the size of the world record pike. When comparing fish of equal size the Northern Pike is longer, slimmer and have a much larger mouth.

The Northern Pike is generally at the top of the food chain wherever it exists. The only predator is needs to worry about is larger members of its own species. Walleye on the other hand do have much to fear from predators. This effects how each of these species behaves.

Northern Pike cruise the water with reckless abandon, quite often feeding whether they are hungry or not. You can catch them in open water and at a variety of different depths. Walleye on the other hand like to stay deep and are much more reserved in their behavior.

The fish you are targeting will greatly impact your choice of equipment. For Northern Pike you will want a heavy rod. Northern Pike have very bony mouths, you will need a heavy action rod to penetrate their mouth and make an efficient hook set.

Since Northern Pike generally slam into a lure harshly the loss of feel a heavy rod will give will not matter.

Walleye on the other hand require a medium to light action rod. You will not need the heavy backbone of a heavy rod to make your hook set.

You will however need a high quality rod that will allow you to feel when the Walleye picks up your bait. In summary you need a heavy action rod for Northern Pike to both set the hook and fight the fish. Since Walleye do not fight as hard and do not have bony mouths a medium to light action rod is more appropriate.

Line selection is also key when fishing for these fish. While both fish have teeth, the teeth on the Northern Pike are larger and more plentiful. I recommend using braided line in the twenty pound or greater class when targeting large Northern Pike.

When fishing for Walleye you need to be more concerned with camouflage. A monofilament or fluorocarbon line in the eight pound class is much more efficient while fishing for Walleye.

Your bait selection is also much different for each of these species. Northern Pike are fish that can eat much larger forage than a Walleye of equal size. When using live bait you can use a sucker minnow of twelve inches long for Northern Pike.

I have caught Northern Pike as small as eighteen inches long on bait that was almost half their size. A smaller minnow of three inches long or a leech is more appropriate for Walleye.

The proclivities of these two species also effect the proper presentation of a lure. Northern Pike are fish with a very high cruising speed. They move very well at all water depths.

There are a variety of different lure you can therefore use for them. My favorite is a large spoon. Daredevils and Johnson's Silver Minnows both make excellent choices. You need to employ a very fast retrieve in presenting these spoons.
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best walleye fishing information possible. Get more information on walleye fishing here: http://www.askwalleyefishing.com/
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