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Ice Off, Pikes Up

I often smart off that northern pike are called “northern” for a reason:  They are a cool-water fish who’s native range is thought to have extended only as far south as north-central Nebraska.  Many waters, especially in eastern and southern Nebraska, simply can get too warm during the summer to support northern pike.

Where we do have northern pike in Nebraska, they go through their spawning rituals as soon as the ice is gone.  If we have ice longer than usual, pike will even begin spawning activity under the ice.  Spawning occurs in shallow areas, ideally with some aquatic vegetation or other shallow water cover.  Marshy areas are classic pike-spawning habitats.

One thing for certain, by late ice in February and ice-out in March, pike will be present near or in their spawning habitats.

Here are a few examples of some toothy monsters our Nebraska Game & Parks Commission fisheries biologists and helpers have had their hands on already this spring.

KattPike2017
Jordan Katt photo. Thanks, Jordan!
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Jordan Katt photo. Thanks, Jordan!

I promise to tell you more next week about some of the pike work our biologists are doing right now.  Yes, it has been windy most days and darned cold on some of them.

Oh yes, they are biting too!

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Larry Dostal photo. Thanks, Larry!

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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