Earlier this week I was lucky enough to go pike fishing in northern Minnesota. I regularly make the trip north to see my in-laws. Fishing is never the priority, but I usually manage to sneak away for a bit.
On Tuesday I had access to a boat on Medicine Lake, a 450 acre lake north of Bemidji. My friends Steve and Pat Adler operate Cedar Rapids Lodge there. It’s a beautiful area, and the resort is well taken care of. The primary fish in Medicine Lake are bluegill, bass, walleye, and northern pike. The lake has heavy vegetation that probably extends 50 yards off the shoreline around most of the lake. The days was sunny with temperature in the lower 90’s and significant wind. I decided to target pike. They’re a vicious, hard fighting predator fish. Because of the recent hot spell many of them had moved to deeper water. However, I had planned to rip spinnerbaits a couple feet under the surface. This was made even more difficult by the clear water and bright sun.
I stuck to my plan, realizing early on that fishing would be tough and hooking a big fish unlikely. The wind played to my advantage by reducing visibility. After three hours of fishing I had nothing to show for my time. A gear malfunction / user error on the first strike resulted in a missed hook set. Frustration set in.
I’ve found at times like this you need to give yourself a confidence boost. This is hard to do when fishing for a species you don’t normally go after on a lake unlike what you’re used to. For me, it meant fishing a spot where I’d had success on my previous trip.
On the first trip down that weedline I finally hooked up with Mr. Slimey. I remembered what made pike fishing so enjoyable. They have one of the meanest strikes I’ve ever encountered. And one fish can make such a big difference in your outlook. Things got much better as the day progressed. A few more fish found their way in the boat, but a lot of follows and short strikes kept me humble.
Below you’ll see more pictures from my northwoods adventure.