LINCOLN, Neb. – Early spring is a great time to fish for northern pike, and Nebraska offers several great places to do so, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Northern pike are best suited for colder environments; they are one of the first species to spawn in the spring. Spawning is currently underway, which means pike are coming up into the shallows to spawn on rooted vegetation. During and immediately after spawning, pike can be easily caught by working the shallows with various baits. That is the time when a pike's metabolism rate is ready for it to start feeding.
Most of the state's best pike waters are located in north central and northwestern Nebraska; however, eastern Nebraska anglers have an excellent location at Lake Wanahoo in Saunders County to catch and release pike into the 40-inch range.
Sandhills lakes cannot be beat, for anglers wanting to experience true pike waters. The Valentine National Wildlife Refuge lakes in Cherry County are excellent, with the best pike opportunities at Dewey, Pelican and Hackberry lakes. The best reservoirs in the state for pike are Box Butte in Dawes County and Merritt in Cherry County, as they have excellent numbers with a variety of sizes.
Check the 2017 Nebraska Fishing Guide, as these water bodies have different harvest regulations. Purchase a fishing permit at OutdoorNebraska.org.