As a kid I can recall catching many a pikeminnow while fishing off the end of a dock.
The very fact the lowly northern pikeminnow can be caught easily on a variety of tackle and techniques means they really are the perfect fish for young anglers just learning how to fish – anglers who are more interested in quantity over quality.
Pikeminnows tend to inhabit shallow portions of rivers, lakes and streams, and can be found pretty well anywhere throughout the province. Look for them close to shore near structures such as rocks, logs, reeds, pylons and piers. They usually choose slower water where little or no current exists – areas where trout, salmon fry and fingerlings swim about during their growth stage, thus providing ampler food supply for the pikeminnow.
Pikeminnows can be caught anytime between the months of May through to September using a variety of tackle and techniques. All that’s needed is a bobber or light float rigged up with a small hook and some bait such as bread, worms or roe. Cast the float out and strikes will usually occur within seconds if fish are present. Popular lures include spoons and inline spinners. Choose your lures based on the colour of the water and the light intensity. If it’s cloudy and the water is dirty, I would go for a darker lure. If it’s sunny and the water is fairly clear, then a silver or bright lure is best. If baitfish are present, make sure the size of the lure matches the size of the baitfish. When retrieving your lure, try to keep it as close to the bottom as possible without snagging.
Also, be prepared for pikeminnows to strike the moment your lure hits the water but also anytime during the retrieve.
Pikeminnows are aggressive and predacious feeders that swallow their food whole so they also tend to swallow the hook deep. Pinching the barb down on the hook is a great way for kids to learn how to keep fish on while reeling in. It also makes it easier to remove the hook.
When it comes to kids learning how to fish, there really is something to be said for quantity over quality.