All about the Northern Pike

Recognition

The northern pike is the largest predatory fish found naturally in the US and Canada. Its coloring is a perfect example of natural camouflage, as it harmonizes with the weeds where pike spends much of their time in ambush. It varies from deep olive on the back through to a beautifully marbled combination of grey, green and yellow on the flanks, overlaid with a silvery sheen. The dorsal fin is set well back on the body, directly above the anal fin, and together with the large tail, forms a powerful propulsion unit giving the pike incredible acceleration from a standing start.

The head of the pike is unmistakable: long, flattened and equipped with the most fearsomely armed mouth. The upper jaw carries many rows of small, needle-sharp teeth, while the lower jaw has five or six large teeth on each side and rows of smaller ones between. The roof of the mouth and the tongue are also equipped with small teeth, enabling it to seize prey of up to 10-25 percent of its own body weight.

 

Habitat and Location

Most rivers, lakes, ponds, and pits in US and Canada contain northern pike, making the fish one of the most widely distributed. Specimens can as farm ponds American lochs, and to many, that is the appeal and mystery of pike fishing.

The pike is by nature a visual hunting predator, using whatever cover or camouflage it can to approach its prey undetected. It will be found lying among tree roots, in rush beds, and in the shadows of trees. It particularly favors depressions in the bed where it can be inconspicuous, both in rivers and still waters. Favorite pike hot spots are the natural stream beds in reservoirs, as they are deeper than the surrounding water and the freshwater entering the reservoir creates a current that attracts fish.

In rivers, most fish seek out swims where fast water meets more sedate flows, known as creases.

The river pike angler need look no further than a substantial crease swim. A steadier stretch immediately below fast rapids can also pay dividends. Roach, dace, and chub colonize such areas, and the pike follows them.

Size of Northern Pike

Great pike caught from a boat.

There has not been the dramatic increase in pike sizes in recent times that has been with tench and bream and growth rates vary depending on the available food supply. Some of the deep trout reservoirs have certainly seen unprecedented numbers of 30 lb (13.61 kg) fish taken, but the ultimate size fish, with the present record at 46 lb 13 oz (21.23 kg), is no bigger than might have been expected years ago.

The problem with pike is that artificial stocking with big fish rarely succeeds, as it does with carp or catfish, for pike invariably regresses in the condition when they are stocked. Second, pike does not enjoy the pressure. When a large fish is caught, it is rarely allowed to live in peace. Other anglers pursue it, and eventually, it will be caught once too often, or be badly hooked, and then it loses weight or dies. A 20 lb (9.07 kg) fish is still a super specimen and a 30 lb (13.61 kg) pike, the fish of a lifetime.

Fishing methods

Spinning for pike.

Pike can be caught in various ways, one of the most common is spinning fishing. We recommend beginners choose one of the best spinning reel and rod to start out with. As some of its diversity acts trolling-fishing from a moving boat equipped with a motor. Also, you can use a bobber tackle for catching pike on live bait. In winter, fishing with tip-ups is especially popular.

Behavior and Feeding Habits

Pike rely on food: their sight when taking live fish, which they do at lightning speed; their sense of smell, for locating dead fish lying on three senses to find their on the bottom; and their sensitivity to vibration, for detecting the fluttering distress signals of a wounded or dying fish. It used to be believed that the pike was never a scavenger, but now we know better, In fact, one of the most reliable methods of taking pike is the legered or freelined dead bait. A careful analysis of some records shows that the fish caught using dead baits are a much greater average size than those taken by any other method. All fish tend to get lazier as they get bigger, and a large pike uses a lot less energy taking a chunk of mackerel than it will chase a sprightly roach.

Pike are instinctive attackers and can be goaded into action even when are not hungry. If a noisy fish through a pike’s field of view, creating a disturbance, the pike will often attack through sheer irritation. This is the basis of pike fishing with plugs, spoons, and spinners.

Unlocking a pike
Unlocking a pike. Pike have sharp teeth.

 

 

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