To concentrate on larger northern pike through the ice, it takes mobility and knowledge of the water. During early ice, big pike can often be found in shallow weed bays and the edges of them, but deeper bars should be tried too–and any sharp break lines. In mid-winter, the main lake water is the best bet. Try deep hard bottom to mud transitions (with dead bait on the bottom); also check for suspended fish in open water on lakes with ciscoes or tullibees.
Late ice pike are most predictable, since pike spawn as soon as the ice goes off or even under the ice. This simply means that big females start to stage by–and get into spawning areas during the last month of ice. There is no doubt that on average, dead smelt or cisco on a quickstrike rig is the best for big pike. Please set the hook immediately to prevent swallowing.