Pike spearing brings a ton of action to ice fishing.
The great thing about ice fishing is the bevy of methods that can be used to land a fish. Rod and reel and tip-ups are two of the more popular ones. Often forgotten in the mix is the art of spearfishing for northern pike. It's something of a lost art form that involves cutting a large hole in the ice and using fish decoys to draw in northerns.
When one appears, the antler throws the spear to snare the fish. It sort of feels like deer hunting, only on a frozen lake in a shanty.
Given the right conditions, spearers can quickly fill the freezer with plenty of fish using this method. Just watch the video below to see what we mean. The action is fast and furious.
It looks like a ton of fun doesn't it? Pike spearing isn't legal in every state. Places like Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and Michigan are some of the most prominent states for spearing fish. Usually, only rough fish and pike are legal, so be careful anywhere muskie are present. Some states have specialty seasons for the spearing of lake sturgeon, which uses nearly identical methods. However, the seasons are much shorter and much more highly regulated. Check your local DNR's website for more specific regulations.
Of course, for this method of fishing does require a bit more gear than fishing for panfish. You can get away with an auger to make the initial hole, but you'll likely want an ice saw of some kind to open the spearing hole to a size large enough to work with. Then you'll need a specialty shanty called a darkhouse. This type of shanty does not have windows because this style of fishing usually takes place in shallow water. The dark shanty prevents the fish from spotting the outline of the anglers sitting on the ice and spooking away.
You will also need a decoy of some kind to jig up and down in the hole to draw the predatory fish in so you can get the tines of the spear in their back. You can also use minnows or suckers for bait. The great thing about this style of fishing is that the pike doesn't have to take the bait for you to catch one. It simply must get into range.
It takes a little practice but darkhouse spearing can be a highly effective method to catch a mess of northern pike for dinner each winter. It's a good way to break the winter blues and have some fun outdoors during times you'd normally be stuck on the couch. Give it a try this season!