If you look at the satellite photo (to the right) of Lower Manitou Lake, you can see that the north-east end of the lake is a maze of islands, rocky points and small bays. Most of the bays have weeds such as Water Cabbage, Pickerel Weed, Lily Pads and Bulrushes. These are the conditions that Northern Pike really like. It also has water-flow with a constant supply of migrating baitfish.
There is water-flow between Upper Manitou Lake and Lower Manitou Lake. Baitfish actively migrate through this area, thus the Northern Pike just sit there and ambush their prey and grow larger. There are Muskie in the area but Muskie tend to stay in areas with quick access to the larger open areas of the lake. With this in mind, our Northern Pike and Muskie population is segregated, and the Muskie population does not prohibit the Northern Pike from growing. There is enough room and food for everybody.
It’s impossible to answer what is the average size of Northern Pike in the lake. They are very common in all sizes up to 10 pounds. If you really wanted to, you could spend the day hitting the back bays and during the right atmospheric conditions, catch 30 to 60 Pike in a day. That would depend on how hard you fish and how good you are at quickly taking lures out of Pike mouths.
Catching Northern Pike all day is very hard on your lures. You can sacrifice numbers and go after the big ones. There are lots of Northern Pike in the 20 to 25-pound range in the lake. Lower Manitou Lake is a big-fish lake. There is no shortage of food and the lake has minimal fishing pressure.
Smaller Pike sit in the weeds in the back of bays or they hide in weed beds out on the lake. The really big Pike behave differently. Big Monster Trophy Northern Pike are ambushers. They hang around rocky points leading into bays. They will also hang around areas between weed-beds and drop-offs. The best spot is close to narrows where there is some water flow and baitfish are migrating through.
Even though there is a great population of trophy Pike in the lake, Pike over 20-pounds are trophies and harder to find. If you caught them every day they would not be considered trophies. If you diligently fish for Pike all week and you are an experienced Pike hunter, you should catch a couple in the trophy class. Any Northern Pike in the 15 to 23 pound range is an excellent fish. A 25-pound Pike would have to be close to 50 inches. A Pike that big is very rare on any lake. Rest assured, Lower Manitou Lake is quite capable of producing Northern Pike of that caliber.