KIDS CLUB ANIMALS | NORTHERN PIKE

Northern Pike

NORTHERN PIKE

The Northern Pike, also referred to as Pike, is a large freshwater gamefish with a ferocious appetite.  The species is native throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including North America, Europe and Russia.  While the Northern Pike can be found throughout the United States, many parts of the country are encouraging or requiring anglers to keep any Pike that are caught to decrease the population because of a perceived negative impact to other fish populations.    

Pike are able to live in almost any size of lake or river, as long as there are shallow areas with weeds where they can spawn in the spring.  That being said, Northern Pike tend to favor clear and shallow water with a lot of aquatic vegetation.  They can also be found on deeper weed edges, sand flats and deep rock piles during the warmer months.  They can blend into a lot of environments because of their coloring.  Their main body color is a blend of olive green, brown, copper and/or gold with light colored horizontal markings or spots and a white or yellowish belly.  Their fins also range from in color from green to brown to red.  They have an elongated, almost torpedo like, body and a flat head that allow it to quickly speed through the water and catch prey.  If you look inside their mouth, you will find that they have a lot of small and razor sharp teeth.   

Northern Pike are one of the top predator fish in the body of water they inhabit, often only behind the Muskellunge.  They are an ambush predator which means they will hide in weeds, rocks or other structures until they spot an opportunity to attack.  During the first couple of weeks after being hatched, Northern Pike eat small insects and plankton until they grow to about 2-4" in length.  After about two weeks, they will start to feed on small fish.  Once they reach adulthood, they eat many different types of fish and even baby ducks, rats, and mice.  

The Northern Pike is often a popular target for anglers because they are very aggressive feeders and are often easy to catch.  When fishing for Northern Pike, you can use almost anything to fool them.  A spoon, live minnow, spinnerbait, jig, swimbait or an inline spinner should do the trick!  

 

SCIENTIFIC NAME:  Esox lucius

HABITAT:  Aquatic vegetation (lilly pads, reeds, milfoil, pondweed, coontail and more), bushes, man-made structure, sand flats, rocks, 

RANGE: North America, Europe, and Russia

AVERAGE LIFESPAN: 18 years

CLASSIFICATION: Fish

DIET: Carnivore

NICKNAMES: Northern, Pike, Gator, Water Wolf, Snot Rocket, Toothy, Jackfish

FUN FACT: The Northern Pike can swim up to 10 miles per hour!

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