Finding the fish is generally harder than actually catching them, particularly on rivers and drains. Nevertheless, once you know what to look for, river piking is easy.
Rivers have features that are attractive to prey fish and wherever they are, pike won’t be far behind. Here are some of the more obvious areas to try:
These are wonderful gathering spots for all types of fish due the high oxygen content of the water and the abundance of food items swirling in the current. Pike will tend to sit in the slacker water. This enables them to easily pick off prey as the strong swirling currents can confuse smaller fish.
Snaggy areas offer the fish a feeling of safety; a place to rest out of the current. Food particles will also become lodged in the trailing branches. This food will attract prey that will, in turn, attract pike.
The current from side streams will add colour to the surrounding water and add oxygen, making it highly attractive to prey fish.
Tight bends can be deceptive. The speed of the current tends to scour a deep hole along the outer edge of the bend. Pike lie up in these areas, tucking themselves under overhanging cover.
Due to the sheltered nature of marinas – they’re out of the current and so the water tends to be warmer – prey fish are drawn to these areas like a magnet. As marinas have no current and high populations of prey fish, there is great potential for some very large pike. The problem with marinas is getting permission to fish. A lot of marinas are private and apart from owning a boat, you may have to do some smooth talking to get permission from the landowner.
Boats are always worth fishing to. Not only do they provide shade and shelter for both prey and predator, but boat owners throw scraps of food over the side, again attracting shoal fish.
Warm water outlets
Temperature plays a big part in dictating the movements of coarse fish, especially in extreme conditions. On very cold days, a warm water outlet will attract all manner of fish.
Similar to fallen trees and snags, the trailing branches of overhanging trees will provide food traps and will also serve the river’s residents with shade and shelter.
Islands make perfect ambush points for pike. The slow eddies around island margins create havens of slack water for shoal fish, and pike can pin these fish against the island for easy pickings.
One of the more common features on any river, canal or drain. The camouflage that reedbeds provide for pike makes them perfect ambushing points.
Rather like islands, bridge supports provide slow eddies, attracting shoal fish. Bridges also offer fish shade and cover from aerial predation. The bridge supports make good food traps, another reason why they attract the prey fish.