Since starting Pike Caster, I’ve gathered so many great facts about Northern Pike that give a perfect overview who that fish is and how to catch it. But what’s so special about pike and why should you care?
Northern Pike is a perfect predator who is often at the top of the food chain. It strikes its pray in a bolting speed and grabs it with its powerful jaws and countless pin-sharp teeth. Because Northern Pike has such powerful movements – It’s a perfect catch!
Let’s get into pike fish facts and see why it’s the perfect predator and think of how you can use this info to catch it more successfully.
The biggest ever recorded carcass of a Northern Pike was 50 inches long and had 700 teeth. On average, pike have 300-700 teeth which are up to 1 inch (2,5 cm) long. If you’re interested, you can read more in my other post called Northern Pike Teeth.
Pike usually stay in deeper and cooler regions of the water body, in springs they move into shallower waters to spawn. They like to hide in water weeds and in the slower stream so that they can hide from their prey and not spend too much energy.
That’s a good spot to start fishing for pike. If you’re fishing at a river, I suggest reading more river pike fishing tips in my other post.
3. World record
The current official world record for biggest pike ever caught is 55 lb 1 oz (25 kg) and held by Lothar Louis. Lothar caught the pike on October 16, 1986.
But there are probably examples which would’ve probably trumped that record – They’re just not official.
Northern pike is a predator fish who mostly feeds on perch, walleyes, bass, chubs, frogs, snakes, bugs etc. As pike sits on the top of the food chain in most cases, it feeds on anything it desires – even smaller pike.
I have written a whole post about what Northern pike eat. If you’re interested in understanding how you can use that information to help catch more pike, I strongly recommend to read it.
5. Found in
Northern Pike are found throughout the northern parts of the temperate climatic zone. Meaning, it’s found in many different countries.
Pike are most well known in the upper states of USA, south Canada, UK, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Russia etc. So if you’re thinking of taking a pike fishing trip, these are great options to consider.
6. How it attacks
Firstly, when pike find a potential meal swimming along, they bend their bodies like a bow to collect as much momentum as possible. This allows pike to charge to their prey like a torpedo.
Secondly, for bigger preys, the pike tend to attack the fish from their sides as this allows pike to prevent their preys to swim away. Using its pin-sharp teeth, pike try to drown their prey before eating.
7. Relatives and Hybrids
Northern pike are closely related to the Muskellunge. so close, in fact, that they sometimes interbreed – creating a hybrid of the two fish, the Tiger Muskie.
Northern pike are also relatives with Pickerel but are not the same fish as some might think.
Northern pike are known to swim up towards the speed of 8-10 mph (13-16 km/h).
Have you ever wondered if the pike can even catch the lure when you’re slowly cruising in your boat and pulling your lure with you? Well, now you know that it’s all good up to 10 mph.
There’s a lot of questions about whether pike is a good fish to eat. The short answer is YES!
Although pike is a very bony fish, it has very tasty white meat.
Read my post about 10 easy and healthy pike recipes, if you’re looking for a great meal.
Just keep in mind, that in order for the pike meat to feel extra good, you should try aiming for a mid-size pike.
Despite some saying that Northern Pike relies mostly on its other senses, they actually have great vision.
So you can be confident that they can spot your lure with their bright yellow eyes.
11. Hooking Depth
Swedish researchers revealed in a study published in 2014 found that the hooking depth, be it in gills or the fish’s snout, is affected by water temperature – with lower temperatures tending to result in deeper hooking.
That’s a great reason to use barbless hooks when fishing for pike in colder seasons like in the winter.
Northern Pike are known as a predator fish who, in most cases, are at the top of the food chain.
As I mentioned earlier, they hunt everything from small perch and bass to other pikes and sometimes even water birds.
So, if pike wants to attack and eat, it will – the color of your lure won’t make much difference. I’d say it more important finding right spots where to fish and keeping the lure in water for as long periods as possible (to cause interest).
13. Human Attacks
Although they are known as predator fish and grow as big as 55 inches, they don’t usually attack prey bigger then 1/2 of their body size.
This being said, there are some instances where pike have attacked humans – but that’s most likely out of instinct.
There’s no record of any pike attacks being lethal. Thankfully.
14. Power and endurance
Northern pike are famous in the fishing community for their powerful movements in the water.
They give a good fight and take a while to land – which is why they are so fun to catch.
This is probably the number one reason why I like fishing for pike so much.
Pike is one of the fish species which has a distinct fishing season.
They are most active from late fall to early spring and tend to lay low in the summer when the water temperatures are higher.
This being said, make sure you’re not fishing for pike during the time of the year when it’s banned. That time might vary from country to country – so make sure you make yourself familiar with your local restrictions.
Northern Pike spawn in the spring when the water temperature reaches at least 48 degrees Fahrenheit or 8 degrees Celsius.
As the female spreads her eggs on vegetation in water no more than a foot deep, the male fertilizes them. Typically there are between 15,000 and 75,000 eggs.
After the sticky eggs are attached to the submerged vegetation, the male and female both leave. The eggs hatch after about two weeks.
We have covered, that pike is most active from fall to spring, but let’s talk about the time of the day.
The best time of the day to fish for pike is during around sunrise and sunset – this is where the Northern Pike does most of it’s hunting and is most likely to bite your lure.
During the day, pike tend to lay low and don’t actively hunt for prey. That doesn’t mean, they don’t attack your bait if it’s really close by.
18. Slower Stream
Pike are big predators, who like to conserve their energy as much as possible.
This is one of the reasons you don’t usually find Northern pike in fast streams. When they’re in the main current, pike stay at the bottom, where they’re able to stay still without using much energy.
When you’re at the river, try to find a spot where the river turns (the outer curve is usually slower) or find slack waters along the main river (river mouths). Read more about where to find pike in rivers in my other post.
Northern Pike are an ancient species and there’s a reason why they’re able to stay at the top of the food chain.
Although they’re not very picky when it comes to food and mostly they are very aggressive and competitive, they’re also very smart fish.
Sometimes they can stare at a bait for far longer than you can imagine. This is why dead bait rigs work so well with pike. Look at the video and see how long a pike can stare at a bait before attacking (especially in the summer).
I really hope that these facts and tips help you in fishing for pike, and also help create a better understanding and overview of the majestic fish species that is Northern Pike. If you like the article, please be sure to share it with friends who might also be seeking great facts about pike tricks about catching them.