In winter, many northerly pike locations ice over. Big surprise -- it's the Arctic. However, you still have a few options.
First, take a look at the waters of Ireland. They offer a couple of major advantages:
- No ice. Ireland's lakes, or loughs, don't freeze over.
- No license. In most fisheries, you won't need a permit.
- No season. You can fish for pike year-round.
- No people. One of the reasons pike are so plentiful is that, as in Sweden, the fish-to-fishers ratio is relatively high.
Ireland has pike in its lakes, rivers and canals. Ireland's lake pike can get as big as 40 pounds (18 kilograms); 20 pounds (9 kilograms) is not uncommon in the rivers. Take a look at Lough Erne (which has an annual Pike Fishing Classic), Lough Ree, Lough Sheelin or Lough Dern. Or try Derryhick Lake, Shannonbridge or Castle Lake. The Erne and Shannon river networks contain numerous smaller lakes. Other rivers with ample bank fishing include the Suck, the Bann and the Barrow. You can find a comprehensive list of Ireland's fisheries -- along with links to ghillies, or angling guides -- on the website of the Central Fisheries Board.
As with any locale, however, make sure you're familiar with the law before you bait a hook. Ireland does not allow the use of live fish as bait. In freshwater, you may fish with rod and line only, and with no more than two rods at once. Catch-and-release is the rule; you may keep one pike a day, but it will be subject to weight requirements.
If you're really determined, you can try ice fishing. The first place to try: Canada. Manitoba is especially well known for its pike, but you can find pike in Ontario and Saskatchewan as well. You'll also find gorgeous scenery, and under all that ice are famously clean waters. Many of north Canada's lakes are accessible only by plane, so gear up and get ready for an adventure.
The other place to try ice fishing is Russia, where long winters give you lots of opportunity. Orel (on the Kama in the Perm province) offers ice-fishing tours starting in October, and depending on the area you can find ice fishing as late as February or early March [source: Ural Expeditions and Tours]. Take a look at the incomparable Ural Mountains. Some tours offer not just ice fishing but also dogsledding, ski walks and mountain treks. Again, be sure to check out local laws and license requirements.
To learn more, visit the links on the next page.