Northern Pike
     Esox lucius

Related Species Muskellunge; pickerel; tiger muskie
AKA Jack; jackfish
Coloration Olive green to dark green with light colored spots; Great Lakes strains more silvery in appearance
Field Marks Numerous sharp canine teeth; yellowish spot on edge of each scale; 10 pores on underside of lower jaw
Habitat Lakes and other waters where current is slow; near vegetation usually
Feeding Habits Like other members of the Esox family, northern pike are predators who key almost exclusively on other fish. Favorite prey include suckers, shiners, chubs, or lake perch.
Comments Pike seek out cool water and vegetation. As a freshwater predator, second only to its close cousin the muskie. Maligned in much of its northern territory, the pike is slowly gaining credibility as a true sportfish.
WI Record 38 lbs 0 oz. 8/6/1952 Lake Puckaway, Green Lake County

Distribution: In Wisconsin, the northern pike occurs in the Mississippi River, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior drainage basins. It is widely distributed throughout the state except in the unglaciated area, where it is sparsely dispersed except in large river systems and impounded areas. The northern pike is generally common except in the southeastern quarter of the state, where populations are seriously depressed.

Spawning: Spawning may occur from late March to early April, as soon as the ice begins to break up in the spring. Migrations into the spawning areas take place during the night. Spawning occurs at temperatures between 34 and 40 F, but 36 - 37 F seems to be the preferred range. Spawning takes place in flooded areas with emergent vegetation and involves one female and from one to three attendant males. Eggs are deposited on vegetation to which they adhere. There is no parental care.

Angling: Unlike other common species of game fish, northern pike are most active when the water is cool. The northern pike is quite accommodating to anglers, biting best during the daylight hours. Being a predator, northerns prefer live fish baits, and wobbling spoons. They are a favorite target of ice fisherman with tip-ups.



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