Some pretty amazing trout fishing is on the horizon. The crappie and walleye bites pick up shortly after that. Then there’s bass.

But for now?

Northern pike — learn more about them here — are the king of early, early spring.

Among the first fish to spawn each year, they’ll be in the shallows and as accessible as they’re going to be all year within the next few weeks. They bite hard and can, when they get some size to them, put up a fight, especially when close to the shore or boat.

So how to catch them?

Keep these things in mind.

For starters, understand where pike will be.

In spring, that’s water that’s shallow and slow.

Northern pike often bite best in early spring. Northern pike are toothy critters fun to catch in early spring.
Bob Frye/Everybody Adventures

Pike spawn in "broadcast" fashion, meaning the females spray their eggs out at random so that they stick to weeds. That vegetation grows best and earliest in lakes in shallow bays with dark, often mud, bottoms. In rivers, they’re often found in slow backwaters and eddies.

Next, go slow.

The absolute best pike fishing is not during the peak of the spawn, but in the week or so after. Fish that have spent themselves trying to reproduce become suddenly voracious as they attempt to restore their calorie levels.

They’re run down, though.

Slow-moving baits – jerkbaits, shallow-running minnow and crankbaits, slow spinnerbaits and live minnows fished under a bobber or sometimes on the bottom – are seemingly easy targets.

Make those baits visible, too.

There are times in a year’s fishing when natural-looking baits are best.

With spring pike, though, sometimes the louder the colors, the more effective the lure. Fire tiger patterns seem to catch a lot of fish, as do bright blue and purple offerings.

Finally, be ready to fish when the weather says to.

What that means is, a sudden rise in temperature, even of a few degrees, can turn the pike bite on. Conversely, a sudden dip in temperatures can shut them off.

Watch the forecast and, if you get a few days of warm weather after a chill, hit the water.