Found on the western side of North America from Oregon up to Canada, northern pikeminnows are one of the larger members of the minnow family. They can be caught by fly fishing, spin casting, and still fishing with worms, or baits that look like small fish.
Habitat: Lake, Pond, River
How to identify Northern Pikeminnow
Northern pikeminnows are one of the larger members of the minnow family. They are often mistaken for the Plymouth. Their backs are silver-blue-gray, and their sides and abdomen are silver. Northern pikeminnows have deeply forked tails and a mouth that extends past their eyes. Their average weight is 1-3 pounds, though they can weigh as much as 15 pounds.
Where to catch Northern Pikeminnow
These fish are present in basins of the Columbia River drainage, Oregon, and Washington coastal drainages, and up as far as Canada. They prefer slow, stable current water and lakes. They can often be found in the same areas frequented by salmon. The young northern pikeminnow can be found near backwaters of rivers, or by lakeshores. Their spawning season runs from May to early July.
The following are habitats where you can catch Northern Pikeminnow:
- Dams and Falls
- Freshwater Lakes and Ponds
- Islands or Sand Bars
- Open Water
- Overhanging Trees and Bushes
- Riparian Zones
- Rock and Boulder Pockets
- Springs Holes
How to catch Northern Pikeminnow
Anglers can catch a northern pikeminnow using fly tackle, bait-casting, and light-spinning gear. Drift fishing also works well for these fish. Some anglers use a technique called plunking, in which they weigh down the bait to keep it from drifting away. Back bouncing is another option. This is when anglers let the bait hit the bottom, then lift their rods to bounce it back up a few feet above the bottom. Other methods to try include fly fishing, spin casting, and still fishing.
The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Northern Pikeminnow:
Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Northern Pikeminnow
Worms are the most common bait to use for northern pikeminnows. Other good options include salmon eggs, fried chicken skin, fish guts, and chicken liver. Lures that look like small fish or invertebrates will also do the job.
The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Northern Pikeminnow: