.. DESCRIPTION:Northern pike is known by other names such as 'Jack Fish', 'Wolf Fish'. The scientific name for the northern pike is Esox lucius. The major characteristic of the northern pike is its elongated, large, flattened head and elongated and somewhat compressed body. The upper half of the gills are covered with scales and the cheeks are completely covered with scales. The top and sides of the body is covered with small elongated, pale dots. The sides are brownish to brownish green. The fins have darker, and usually reddish tinged spots. The pikes coloration varies, darker or lighter, depending upon its habitat. The pikes underbelly is usually a variation of pale yellow or cream. Its mouth is large and full of needle sharp, long backward pointing teeth. The northern pikes coloration helps it to hide in its aquatic environment and allow it to surprise its prey. Pike can be found in North America, Europe and northern Asia. Some of the larger northern pike which live in the colder waters of the northern lattitudes, can live to twenty five years of age. Females grow faster and live longer compared to male pike. Female pike can grow to over forty inches and weigh more then thirty pounds. Pike living in southern parts of their habitat areas in the world do not live as long as pike which live in colder waters of the north nor do these southern located pike reach the large sizes they have become famous for in the northern parts. Lunkers can be found anywhere however, but you'll find more in northern waters compared to southern waters.

.. SPAWNING:Northern pike spawn in early spring usually before the winter ice completely melts from the lakes. They prefer clear water with weedy areas. Females lay their eggs randomly in shallow waters usually on flooded plant material. A large female norhtern pike may lay as many as a quarter million eggs. The pike do not protect their eggs, nor lay them in nests. The large number of eggs ensure some small pike survive to grow into adults. Pike rarely go into deep water. Northern pike tend to prefer shallow waters with temperatures in the mid sixties and areas thick with weeds and much vegetative cover. Northern pike are also found in rivers and streams which provide them with ample cover and which do not have any substantial current.

.. FEEDING:Northern pike are voracious predators and feeders. Some call the northern the 'ultimate predator'. The northern's body is designed for speed in attacks and movement in their weedy environment. The northern's large jaw and sharp teeth are perfectly designed to grasp its prey. Larger northern have been known to take ducklings, small muskrats, frogs, mice and insects off the water. Younger pike are also voracious predators feeding on smaller fish, fish eggs, tadpoles and any other aquatic animals which have the unfortunate luck to become available prey. However, the main diet for pike consists of other fish, including other pike.

.. SPORT FISHING CHARACTERISTICS: When fishing for northern pike, because of their voracious appetities and hunting characteristics northern pike hit lures with a vengenance. Their hits are fast, powerful and if pike don't grab the lure in their first attack, they will persist and attack again. It isn't unusual for pike to strike a lure right beside a boat after chasing and hitting the lure several times. Pike can easily see baits coming over them if they are resting in waters ten feet deep or more. The position of their eyes allows pike to see any movement of prey above them easily. As a result, pike will attack shallow running lures and usually will attack from the side or rear of the bait. Lunker pike are territorial. Lunkers will stake out a certain area of a small cove or territory and stay in that area except for going out to feed. Most fisherman realize that fishing for lunkers is different compared to fishing for smaller northern. Once a lunker is caught in a small cove, you might as well leave that particular spot for a few weeks. Smaller pike tend to congregate together in areas. If a two to five pound pike is caught, there usually will be more in that same area. Since the northern has a variety of prey which it feeds on, the northern will attack and take a variety of lures, spinners, jigs, plugs or other baits. Because northerns aren't that fussy about and have a variety of prey, the northern is an excellent sport fish for fishermen.

.. RECORD CATCHES: A world record pike was caught by Peter Dubuc in 1940 on the Sacandaga Reservoir, New York state in the United States - 46 pounds, 2 ounces.
In 1954 in Lake Athabaska, in northern Canada, a 42 pound, 12 ounce northern was caught.

.. CONTRIBUTIONS: Anyone wishing to contribute information for this site can submit it by e-mail, to bschipilow@auracom.com

Bill Schipilow, 17 Canterbury St., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, B2Y-1S8.