The Northern Pike

The Northern Pike is a type of carnivorous fish that favors the Northern Hemisphere, particularly its brackish and freshwaters. Depending on the given region, this species of fish can go by a variety of names. These include the Jackfish, American Pike, and the Great Lakes Pike.

The Northern Pike derives its name from its likeness to the medieval weapon commonly known as a ‘pike.’ Research has shown that once this fish reaches maturity, it becomes very territorial, favoring a life of solitude.

This, combined with the fact that the Northern Pike fish does not consume artificial food, makes it hard to domesticate. Read several more interesting facts about this fish species right here.

Northern Pike World Record.

Lothar Louis presently holds the world record for the largest Northern Pike ever caught. He trapped this 22-kilogram fish on October 16th, 1986, along Greffern Lake in Germany.

Official Northern Pike World Record
Official Northern Pike World Record

Interestingly, a Bulgarian angler named Petar Filipov sent shock waves across the internet when he posed with a pike that reportedly weighed 25.3 kilograms. This shatters the previous record set back in 1986. However, it has not yet been recognized by the International Game Fish Association.

Some anglers even believed that the picture he posted was faked in some way. However, a video he posted on Facebook showed him posing with the large pike before he released it back into the water. The same doubt was cast on Lukas Matejka, an angler from the Czech Republic who reportedly reeled in an even larger pike.

Lukas Matejka's uncertified record pike
 (Image source:https://www.flickr.com/search/)

If the reports are to be believed, the fish he caught measured in at an impressive 133 cm, weighing 26.7 kg in the process. In an interview, Lukas claimed that he had caught the fish along the Czech Bohemia region.

He put the Pike back into the water after recording its size. Most Pike experts agree that it is not easy to determine which claims are real and which ones are faked.

Diet.

The Northern Pike is primarily carnivorous. When they are small, the pike favors tiny invertebrates such as daphnia, leeches, and insects. In some instances, young northern pike fish will even try to consume other pikes. More often than not, they end up choking.

Once they grow older, they graduate to larger invertebrates. They will also prey on amphibians like frogs, other fishes, and small mammals such as squirrels, waterfowl, and voles.

A northern pike fish that tried to eat another fish
A pike fish consuming another fish (Image source: https://www.flickr.com/search/)

Remarkably, one northern pike was even reported to have consumed a bald eagle chick. Northern Pikes are extraordinary hunters. They typically remain still, hovering about schools of fish as they wait for the perfect moment to strike.

When faced with larger prey, Northern Pike will first attempt to drown them before feeding. In the early phases of their lives, these fish will try to ambush their prey. This is because they do not like to stay out in the open, leaving themselves vulnerable to predators.

Northern Pike Teeth.

The Northern Pike Fish has about 700 large fang-like and tiny needle-like teeth. All of these are razor-sharp and backward-pointing, which enables it to trap its prey in its mouth. The Northern Pike will typically trap its prey along the side of its mouth.

Northern Pike's Teeth
The Northern Pike’s Teeth (Image source: https://www.flickr.com/search/)

Studies have revealed that Northern Pikes do not shed their teeth once winter rolls around. Despite its razor-like teeth, this fish will avoid biting people. That is not to say that it will not injure an angler’s hand if presented with the opportunity.

Location and Habitat.

Northern Pike fish are scattered across America, particularly Alaska, the Great Plains, and the Upper Midwest. Other than America, they can also be found in Russia, Canada, Siberia, and Europe, where they were recently introduced.

A significant portion of the Northern Pike population is located along the north of latitude 40 degrees North. As far as their habitat is concerned, the Northern Pike typically inhabit freshwaters. They are demersal, which means that they prefer waters between 0 to 100 feet.

Some of the places you’ll find the Northern Pike include sluggish streams, small/large rivers, creeks’ backwaters, and even vegetated lakes.

Lifespan.

The lifespan of a Northern Pike ranges from 10 to 15 years in the wild. In some instances, however, they can live up to 25 years.

Description and Size.

Most Northern Pikes are olive green in color. They also have a white to yellow strip that runs along their stomach. When they are young, these fish have yellow stripes that stretch across their green body; these stripes will eventually split into spots that are lighter as their body shifts from green to olive green.

The Northern Pike Fish
The Northern Pike Fish (Image source: https://www.flickr.com/search/?advanced=1&text=northern%20pikefish)

On average, Northern Pikes usually grow up to 137 cm in length, weighing 28.4 kg in the process. Research has also revealed that Northern Pikes in Europe are significantly larger than those in North America.

Taste.

If cooked well, then the pike will have a bold taste that can match other popular fish species, such as the trout. Their meat also tends to be flakey. The most popular way to prepare them is through frying. Because they are full of bones, however, you must be careful while eating the pike.

 

 

Fried Northern Pike
Fried Northern Pike Fish (Image source: https://www.flickr.com/search/)

Some of the health benefits of consuming the Northern Pike include:

  • Strengthening one’s immunity.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Regulating sugar levels in the blood.
  • Helps to maintain healthy skin.
  • Combats Obesity.
  • Prevention of cramps.
  • Production of Hemoglobin.
  • Helps in the treatment of anemia.

Nutritional Facts.

Northern Pike (Serving Size 3 oz)
Calories- 75
Fat- 0.59g
Protein- 16.37g
Cholesterol- 33mg
Calcium- 48mg
Iron- 0.47mg
Potassium- 220mg
Sodium- 33mg
Vitamin C- 3.2 mg

Facts about the Northern Pike.

  • Studies have shown that the Northern Pike is a very hostile and aggressive species of fish. Their aggression is not only limited to other species as well. When food is scarce, Northern Pikes will quickly turn on each other. Experts say that cannibalism among this species will occur once the ratio of predator to prey drops to 2:1.
  • The Northern Pike is renowned for its fast movement. It makes use of high energy bursts to capture its prey. Interestingly, most other fish species employ this strategy to avoid life-threatening scenarios.
  • Northern Pike Fish have bright yellow eyes.
  • Its scientific name is Esox lucius.
  • This species of fish is highly popular amongst anglers. Being voracious feeders, they will usually snap at any bait cast into the water.
  • Being a top predator, the Northern Pike only has two natural predators. These include human beings and Sea Lampreys.
  • Spawning amongst the Northern Pikes will vary depending on their given region. For instance, the Pike scattered across the Great Lakes opt to reproduce between April and May after winter wanes.
  • To court females, the male northern pike will nudge its head in her direction.
  • Pikes tend to breed after they reach 2 years.
  • Newly hatched Pikes will attach themselves weeds in freshwater for sustenance. They also consume their yolk sac while their teeth are still developing.

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