Northern Pike

Esox lucius 

Pike, courtesy of Jack Perks


Pike are very large (up to 1.5m) and predatory. They have long, slender bodies with a very large head with a large mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. They are typically a light shade of green with yellowish speckled markings along their bodies.  



Pike prey predominantly on other fish by ambushing from a camouflaged position. They have also been recorded killing and eating other smaller, or similar sized, Pike. During the spring and summer they can also take small waterfowl like ducklings although they are often unfairly blamed for the lack of water fowl when the true culprit is either other birds eating the eggs or mammals like stoats and introduced mink. In parts of Europe pike are eaten by humans and are considered a delicacy with its firm flaky flesh.  



Although not considered a migratory fish, they do in fact cover significant distances for spawning; being territorial they have to travel to find a mate. A recently tagged pike in the Norfolk Broads was recorded travelling distances of over 100km in one month, and a large adult pike was filmed attempting a salmon-like ‘leap’ up a man-made weir on a river in Europe. Pike will readily use fish passes where provided. Pike are typically found in slower-moving rivers or still water, therefore they will most typically be found in deeper stretches of the River Severn, as well as on canals. A pike was once caught in the Gloucester and Sharpness canal that weighed 37lbs (16.8kgs)! 

Did you know?

Pike can be cannibalistic and there are numerous populations in deep lakes in northern latitudes where they are the only species apart from trout, where they survive quite happily eating each other. 

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