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  • Facts About Northern Pike

    The northern pike (Esox lucius) is one of four members of the Esocidae family that lives in North American waters. It is a long, streamlined game fish that lives in cold-water lakes, rivers and large streams in the northern tier of states.
     
    Facts About Northern Pike

    Geography

    The Fish Alaska Magazine website says that the northern pike has the largest geographic distribution of any freshwater fish species. The range of the pike in North America is from as far south as Nebraska northward to the Arctic Circle.

     
     

    Identification

    Northern pike have a yellowish-green to grayish-green back and sides, with a white underbelly. Along the sides are oblong spots of yellow shaped like small beans, with the fins of the pike having yellow, red or orange hints.

    Size

    When pike live in an ecosystem that provides enough food, the fish can grow longer than 40 inches and exceed 20 lbs. In the wild, the average pike lives to around age 25, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.

    Diet

    The northern pike hunts its prey during the daylight hours. On the menu for a pike are creatures such as frogs, crawfish, large bugs, other fish and animals as large as muskrats and baby ducks.

    Function

    The mouth of a northern pike has a flattened "duck-bill" appearance and contains rows of small but very sharp teeth. Once the pike grabs its victim, the inward-pointing teeth hold it fast until the fish can swallow it.

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