How the Pike Spawn Works

By: Simon Shadow

When Pike Spawn

When pike spawn they are more interested in the business at hand than with eati­ng. Pre-spawn, just before and during ice thaw in early spring, male and female pike eat feverishly in preparation. If you want to fish during the pre-spawn, ask local guides and fisherman to point you in the right direction. Be sure to check with your local fishing agency to ensure pre-spawn pike fishing is legal in your state.

Generally, pike become sexually active between their second and third years, but size matters more in determining sexual maturity than age. Bigger females will release more eggs and attract more males [source: Pikezander]. Once they are all grown up, they are ready to join their peers at the spawning grounds.


Spawning times are not set in stone and are determined by water temperature. Spawning takes place when the water's temperature reaches at least 40 degrees F. It can begin anytime starting in late February and continue until May or June, depending on the location. In the northern United States, pike will most likely be spawning in mid-April.

Males move into spawning grounds a couple of weeks before the females and hang around for a few weeks after spawning is complete, averaging approximately a one-month residence. You can hone your pike fishing techniques by practicing on the males. Post-spawn females don't stick around, heading back to their normal waters shortly after dropping their eggs. You can expect females to be actively spawning for roughly 10 days before they go back to their regular lifestyles.

Now you know when the pike spawn is happening, but where are they? Read on to learn about prime pike spawn locations.