Pike can be fickle, so give them a few entrees to choose from
Whenever I ice fish for northerns, I notice they often show a decided liking for one type of dead bait over another—a preference I’ve regularly watch change from day to day, and from lake to lake. When targeting northerns, that’s why it’s important to offer them as many daily specials as possible.
To do that, I typically rotate the baits below my tip-ups, giving the big toothy predators a selection of fresh suckers, ciscoes, anchovies, mackerel and saltwater herring. I change my baits every half-hour or so until I see a preference emerge, then switch all my lines over to that particular bait.
Not giving big pike such choices for dinner is the reason anglers often get false strikes. And remember, only use freshly thawed baits and throw away your used ones—pike are super fussy and won’t eat spoiled, soggy offerings.