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Northern Pike Esox lucius


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Northern Pike
credit: Timothy Knepp

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Family: Esocidae, Pikes view all from this family

Description The northern pike (Esox lucius, known simply as a pike in Britain, Ireland, and the USA, or as jackfish in Canada), is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox (the pikes). They are typical of brackish and freshwaters of the northern hemisphere (i.e. holarctic in distribution).

Esox lucius is found in freshwater throughout the northern hemisphere, including Russia, Europe and North America. It has also been introduced to lakes in Morocco and is even found in brackish water of the Baltic Sea. However pike are confined to the low salinity water at the surface of the Baltic sea, and are seldom ever seen in brackish water elsewhere.

Within North America, there are northern pike populations in Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Montana, Maryland, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Iowa, Utah, Northern New Mexico and Arizona, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Idaho, northern New England, most of Canada, particularly the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Qu»bec (pike are rare in British Columbia and east coast provinces), Alaska, the Ohio Valley, the upper Mississippi River and its tributaries, the Great Lakes Basin and surrounding states, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and parts of Oklahoma. They are also stocked in, or have been introduced to, some western lakes and reservoirs for angling purposes, although some fisheries managers believe this practice often threatens other species of fish such as bass, trout and salmon, causing government agencies to attempt to exterminate the pike by poisoning lakes.

Dimensions Up to 4'4" (1.3 m); 46 1/8 lbs (20.9 kg).

Habitat Lakes & ponds, Rivers & streams.

Range Plains, Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Mountains, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, Alaska.