I have been fishing for pike well over 20 years now and have been able to study how different weather conditions and patterns affect the pike’s activity and feeding behavior. After countless fishing trips, both really good and really awful ones, I can say that I have found the recipe for the best weather for pike fishing.
Favorable weather conditions for pike include a low-pressure system with moderate temperatures, overcast skies, and southern or southwestern winds. Rain does however have a somewhat more negative effect on the pike’s appetite and should hence be avoided.
Continue reading this article and learn all about the best weather conditions for a successful pike fishing trip. Especially if you are after really big pike!
Best Weather Conditions for Pike Fishing
If there is one thing I regret when it comes to fishing it would have to be fishing in the wrong weather conditions! But then, you don’t always know what the right or wrong conditions are, do you? This holds especially true for beginners.
When I started out, now roughly 25 years ago, I didn’t have the first clue and just headed out to the water whenever I could. I’d fish on the hottest summer days, ice-cold winter days, during rain, storms, and on completely calm and sunny days.
In retrospect, I’m still glad I did, because all those trips and blanks taught me a whole lot about fishing and the different species I still target to this day.
I really had to learn the hard way what weather works for pike and what absolutely doesn’t. Pike especially have this ability to turn completely inactive in the wrong weather conditions.
On the other hand, they can get really hungry and aggressive if the weather is right! Let’s take a closer look at the weather conditions that can send the pike into a feeding frenzy.
No matter the season, you’ll always have the best pike fishing in moderate water and air temperatures.
Obviously, both spring and fall/autumn come to mind here, as they usually have plenty of days with more or less moderate and stable temperatures in both air and water.
But even when it comes to pike fishing in winter or summer, moderate temperatures will always get you more bites. This means milder temperatures during the winter and cooler temperatures during the summer.
A good rule of thumb that has always worked for me:
If it’s too hot or too cold for you, it’s too hot or cold for the pike as well!
Air pressure is probably the most important factor when it comes to favorable pike weather conditions! All fish are affected by barometric pressure and the bigger the species, the more impact the pressure will have underwater.
High pressure simply makes it harder for the pike to move around, as more water pressure is applied. Hence, low-pressure systems, or a slowly and consistently falling barometric pressure means more active fish, which, in turn, means more bites on your fishing trip!
Especially the time during which a storm front is building up can be absolutely fantastic for pike fishing. Just make sure to head home before the storm hits.
Pro Tip: I find having a digital weather station at home makes it so much easier to pick the right days for my pike fishing trips. I value my time and don’t really want to leave it up to chance. It allows me to keep an eye on that barometric pressure and hence tells me when the timing is right to head out! You can find the weather station I use on Amazon here.
If you keep to the milder temperature and low barometric pressure factors, you’ll notice more often than not that there will be southern or southwestern winds present when you’re out fishing.
Those winds tend to bring in milder air that keeps temperatures at a stable and moderate level, as well as more humidity. Both are yet more favorable conditions for pike. They’re also much more comfortable to fish in, as you’ll skip those nasty eastern or northern winds on the water.
Pro Tip: Fishing in windy conditions demands the right clothing to stay warm and comfortable throughout your fishing trip. That’s why wearing the right gear is so essential when you’re out for many hours in a row. A good foul weather suit can be an absolute lifesaver and will enable you to keep fishing no matter what. Check out my bad weather gear on Amazon here.
Additionally, all the above-mentioned weather conditions will usually produce overcast to heavily overcast skies, which spells even more advantages for you on your pike fishing trip.
For one thing, clouds almost always mean stable, mild temperatures, as the warmer air gets trapped underneath the cloud lock.
Secondly, clouds mean that there is less sunlight hitting the water, creating overall lower light conditions and more cover for pike. As they are ambush predators, they definitely prefer less light and hence darker water, as it makes it easier for them to hunt.
Does Rain Affect Pike Fishing?
I have found that a light drizzle can actually be advantageous when fishing for pike, while heavy rainfalls usually turn off the pike’s appetite completely.
Heavy rain usually comes in when there is a sudden change in weather and barometric pressure going on, which, of course, is never good when it comes to fishing. This quick change unbalances the fish and they will need time to adjust to the new conditions (which usually change again right after the rain or storm).
So, during such weather, the fish really do not think about feeding all that much.
Additionally, fishing in heavy rain is really something you can live without! Getting soaking wet and cold just isn’t fun. Trust me, I’ve been there too many times myself.
Do Pike Bite in Cold Weather?
Pike will remain active and feeding during the colder months of the year but have a harder time handling really cold weather conditions.
Frosty nights, sudden temperature drops, or a prolonged period of a cold front are all unfavorable weather conditions for pike and should hence be avoided.
If, on the other hand, there is milder weather (as described above in this article) coming in during the cold seasons, chances are good that the pike will bite fairly well! You can check out this related article on how to catch pike in cold water to get more helpful tips and tricks.
Do Pike Bite in Hot Weather?
While pike like to hunt and feed in moderately warm water temperatures, they will stay quite inactive during really hot weather.
That has mainly to do with the reduced levels of oxygen in the water. During periods of heat in high summer, the pike won’t feed, or even move much during the daytime and will instead feed during the dark hours of the day.
And so, as the water is so warm and depleted of oxygen, you shouldn’t really fish for pike on hot days. Let them rest and go for them when the sun goes down. You can also successfully fish for pike at night during summer. Read this related article on how to catch pike at night if you want more tips!
Worst Weather Conditions for Pike Fishing
And this brings us to the worst weather conditions for pike, which, according to my experiences, would be the following:
- Sub-zero temperatures
- Longer periods of high barometric pressure
- Northern or northeastern winds
- Clear skies
If a few or all of these conditions are currently present when you want to head out to the water, there is a big risk that you’ll go home empty-handed.
Very often, it’s the high-pressure systems that bring in such weather, and whenever I’ve fished for pike in those weather conditions, I have almost always had very little to no activity at all.
It’s really that combination of cold temperatures, high air pressure, and a lot of sunlight that totally tanks the pike fishing, in my opinion.
Now as always, what you have read in this article are simply my personal observations and experiences that I’ve managed to gather over the last 20+ years.
Of course, they aren’t universal truths that fit every region and every water on the entire planet. Regional differences occur and the best way to find out what weather works best in your local waters is to get out and fish a lot.
However, as pike generally behave in similar ways and as anglers in other countries more or less have the same opinions on pike weather, it’s definitely worth keeping to the above-mentioned weather conditions when targeting northern pike.
For me, it’s all about optimizing and improving fishing and saving time. Heading out when the weather is right will satisfy both those needs and ensures that you’ll keep having fun while fishing. Who wants to blank and freeze all the time, right?
Related Pike Fishing Articles
- Best Time of Day for Pike Fishing
- What Is the Best Fishing Line for Pike (For All Methods)
- Best Wire Leaders for Northern Pike
Featured image courtesy of Catalin Rusu