Pike and muskie will relate to specific structure, depending on the time of
year and the type of water system you're fishing. It's always a good idea
to obtain a hydrographic map of your local water system, if at all
possible. This map will help you locate underwater structure that's key to
finding big fish. Here are some general guidelines on where to look for
pike and muskie in different seasons.
In the spring, shallow bays and large flats adjacent to deep water are good
beds. This applies to both lakes and rivers. Post-spawn pike are usually in
these areas trying to put on some weight by eating bait fish.
As water temperatures increase in the summer, large pike begin to gravitate
towards deeper water. However, they still relate to key structure. In
lakes, look for weed beds, especially in areas where there are definable
points and breaks; these serve as ambush points. Bulrushes, milfoil, and
lily pad areas are good places to key in on. Points, underwater saddles
between land, and submerged islands are all good places to find pike and
muskie. In rivers, look for ambush points where pike can stay out of the
current. Slack water adjacent to boulders, riffles, and fallen logs are all
In the fall, pike get a little tougher to locate, and they tend to be in
deeper water. You have to get your flies down fairly deep in the water
column when you fish ledges and drop-offs, in any structure, really, that
relates to deeper water. The cooling water really slows down their
responses, so slow presentations are usually ideal.