Find the cool water, and you’ll find the big toothy critters
During summer, one of the slickest ways to find and catch trophy northern pike is to first locate the prey-rich thermocline separating the cold lower depths of the lake from the warm upper level. Simply turn up the gain on your sonar unit slightly more than normal and the thermocline will show up as a dark band of water, usually between 25 and 35 feet down.
Then troll your favourite bottom-banging crankbaits over the tops and around the edges of large, flat structures, such as underwater islands, shoals and points that intersect with the food-rich thermocline. I use Rapala’s Trolls-To series of lures in tandem with the Precision Trolling smartphone app to take the guesswork out of depth control while prospecting the key fishing-holding zone.