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Northern Pike illustration

Northern Pike

World Record ~ 55 Lbs. 1 oz. Caught at Lake of Grefeern, Germany on Oct. 16, 1986 by angler Lothar Louis

Scientific name ~ Esox Lucius

Other names ~ Pike, Northern, Jack, Great Northern Pike, Northern Pickerel, American Pike, Great Lakes Pike, Common Pike

Identification ~ The Northern Pike has a elongated body and head. The snout is broad and flat. Northern pike are most often olive, shading into yellow to white along the belly. The sides are marked with short, light bar like spots and there are a few dark spots on the fins. The lower half of the gill cover lacks scales and they have large sensory pores on their head and on the underside of the lower jaw which are part of the lateral line system. Unlike the similar-looking and closely related muskellunge, the northern pike has light markings on a dark body background and fewer than six sensory pores on the underside of each side of the lower jaw.

Size ~ Angler caught Northern Pike are usually between 2 and 7 pounds and 15 to 30 inches long. Anglers who fish the northern lakes of Canada and Alaska have common catches of 20 pounds and an occasional fish of 30 pounds is caught. Females attain a larger size then males.

Habitat ~ In a lake environment pike prefer weedy bays, estuaries and shoals as spring and summer habitat. During cool autumn days pike are most likely to seek deeper water. The species occurs in parts of the United States and most of Canada, with the exception of the Maritime Provinces. It is also found across Europe and Asia.

Feeding Habits ~ Usually solitary and highly territorial, the northern pike lurks at the edge of weed beds and attacks unwary creatures that enter its domain, such as fish, crayfish, frogs, mice, muskrats and young waterfowl. It is an opportunist that can be best described as an omnivorous carnivore, as it feeds on whatever is most readily available.

Fishing Prints


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