The Northern Pike (Esox lucius) is a carnivorous fish of brackish and freshwaters of the northern hemisphere. It is also known by the somewhat misleading folk-name, "Water Wolf." It eats mainly fish, but on occasion water voles and ducklings have also been known to fall prey to pike. It is moreover a cannibal and this cannibalism serves in maintaining stability in the pike population. Young pike have been photographed eating pike of a similar size. Pike grow to a relatively large size: lengths of 150 cm and weight of 25 kg are not unheard of.
The pike generally hides in wait for prey, holding perfectly still for long periods, and is then capable of remarkable acceleration, sometimes propelling it a meter into the air (though it rarely leaves the surface). It catches its prey sideways with its sharp teeth, in order to kill it, before turning lenghtwise to swallow.
E. lucius caught by an angler in the river Dráva, Hungary.
Whilst a worthy adversary for any rod and line fisherman, pike are often caught and released by fishermen since its flesh is bone-filled. However, the larger fish can be filleted, and pike have had a long and distinguished history in cuisine and are popular in Germany, with historical references to its cooking going back as far as the Romans. Pike have very soft, mild flesh, and are considered one of the best tasting freshwater fish. When eating pike, be sure to chew carefully, as their "y-bones" are not always easily visible.
Fishing for pike is very exciting with their explosive hits and aerial acrobatics. The pike are some of the biggest freshwater fish.
See also: Muskellunge, fishing for pike, Luce
- "Esox lucius" (TSN 162139). Integrated Taxonomic Information System. N.p.: Integrated Taxonomic Information System, 2004. Accessed on 8 December 2004.
- "Esox lucius". FishBase. Ed. Ranier Froese and Daniel Pauly. October 2004 version. N.p.: FishBase, 2004.
- Broughton, Bruno. "A Review of the Scientific Basis for Pike Schools". N.p., 2000.