Law of the Land... and Water

Before fishing with live bait, be sure to know the fishing laws and restrictions in your state or province. It is illegal in some places to fish with living bait. These laws are in place to protect local fish from invasive species. Check with your local department of natural resources (DNR) to make sure you're being a law-abiding angler.

Technique 3: Pike Fishing with Live Bait

Using live bait is one of the best ways to snag a pike. Live bait comes in many shapes and sizes, from small insects to small fish. There is a simple rule of thumb when choosing bait for pike: Know the size of pike you're fishing for, and mat­ch the size of the bait accordingly.

For smaller pike, minnows and other small bait will work just fine. For larger pike, increase the size of the bait fish (instead of minnows, use perch). When choosing bait, it is also a good idea to research where you'll be fishing. In general, the larger the lake, the larger the pike's prey fish; the larger the pike's prey fish, the larger the pike. Therefore, the larger the lake, the larger the bait you'll need.

­A great way to bait a hook with live bait is pretty straightforward. Attach two hooks to one leader -- an additional line or wire tied to the end of the fishing line to increase strength [source: Take Me Fishing]. Thread one hook through the midsection and one near the head of the bait. Pike often strike prey around the middle, carry it away, and then spit it out to eat it head-first. Often, waiting to feel the line go in a second time before pulling to set it will ensure hooking the fish.

Often, the best live bait is actually dead. Pike are not only predators but scavengers as well. They often feed on dead animals on the bottom of the lake or river. Attach dead bait (for instance, a dead minnow) to a hook, cast and let it fall to the bottom. If you know pike are in the area, chances are you'll get a hit.

If live bait makes you squeamish, read on to learn about spoon fishing.