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Interesting facts about pike

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We found 28 interesting facts about pike

Esox Lucius

This is one of the most recognizable and famous fish in Poland. The predatory large pike is equipped with sharp and long teeth, perfectly adapted for holding prey. Their effectiveness has been proven many times by careless fishermen who were bitten by fish they caught lying on the shore.

This aggressive predator is known for its intense hunting activity. Few people know that there are cases of pike attacking birds. Several years ago there was a case where a mute swan died as a result of injuries received after being attacked by a fish.


They live in the northern hemisphere.

Their distribution range extends from Alaska through Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia to the Sea of ​​Okhotsk.

Pike can be found in standing and flowing waters, both fresh and brackish.

They live in brackish water only in the Baltic Sea and the mouths of rivers flowing into it. After spending some time in salt water, pike usually return to fresh water. They prefer cleaner water with the presence of aquatic plants.

The typical body length of these fish is between 40 and 55 cm.

Record-breaking individuals can reach sizes up to 150 cm.

The average weight of adult individuals is about 10 kilograms, although sometimes individuals twice as massive are found.

The record holder among pikes weighed as much as 35 kg.

Northern pike are olive green in color with a yellow or white tinge along their bellies.

There are short and elongated light spots on the sides of the body. Dark spots appear on the fins, which are usually the color of the body, but can also be reddish.

Juveniles have green skin and yellow stripes running along the body.

As the fish matures, the color changes to olive green and the stripes divide into smaller pieces to form a mottled pattern.

Teeth grow only on the jaw.

They are sharp and directed backwards, making it easy to hold caught prey. The muzzle is flat and long, tapering towards the end.

They are predators and hunt from cover.

Pike (especially small ones) hide in abundant thickets of reservoirs and wait for approaching prey, remaining motionless. At the right moment, they make a sudden movement and attack unsuspecting animals, sinking their sharp teeth into them.

Larger individuals are more likely to follow prey, while juveniles prefer to attack from hiding places.

Adults can be found at a depth of several meters, where they follow schools of other fish. In the Baltic Sea, pike have been observed after schools of herring.

Most individuals lead a solitary lifestyle.

However, smaller pike sometimes form small groups called "wolf packs". Such reports appeared due to observations by divers.

They exhibit cannibalistic behavior.

From about the fifth week of life, the first signs of cannibalism appear, which becomes more active when there is insufficient food. According to research, in order for widespread cannibalism to develop in a pike population, the number of these fish must be twice the number of potential prey.

Larger specimens can also prey on waterfowl.

Cases of killing mute swan and great grebe have been documented.

They are territorial and aggressive.

Aggression within this species is common and is caused by competition for space and food. It happens that larger individuals steal prey from younger pikes.

Their activity mainly occurs during daylight hours.

A characteristic feature of these fish is a long feeding time and a fast digestion process.

Pike lives in fast streams and shallow, overgrown areas of lakes and ponds, as well as in cold, clear, rocky waters.

Due to the cannibalistic nature of these fish, young pike need places to hide among plants to avoid being eaten.

The behavior of these fish is closely related to weather conditions.

On sunny and windless days, pike prefer to stay in the bushes covering the coastal areas of the reservoir, and in windy weather they can be found in deeper waters and further from the shore.

They reach sexual maturity at the age of two years.

Young one-year-old individuals can also spawn, but in their case the amount of eggs produced is very small.

Spawning occurs in early spring - in March or April.

Males arrive at breeding sites several weeks earlier than females. During spawning, eggs are deposited in overgrown, stagnant and slow-moving waters, most often on floodplains, oxbow lakes and shallow waters. After spawning, the males remain in the place where the eggs were laid.

Pike caviar is sticky, yellow in color, its diameter is from 2,5 to 3 mm.

They hatch into fry about 10 mm long, which remain in the embryonic stage for 5 to 16 days. The duration of the embryonic stage is determined by the temperature of the water; it lasts the shortest at 19°C and the longest at temperatures below 10°C. The survival rate of a 75 mm long larva is only 5%.

Young pike feed on small invertebrates such as daphnia.

As they gain weight, they quickly move on to larger prey such as isopods. When their body length is between 4 and 8 cm, they begin to hunt small fish.

High mortality causes pike to grow rapidly.

Annual individuals living in a food-rich environment can reach a body length exceeding 30 cm.

The reproduction process is related to water temperature. When the temperature exceeds 9°C, the fish are ready to reproduce.

They lay large numbers of eggs because few members of this species are able to survive to adulthood. Fertilized eggs stop developing if the water temperature drops below 6 °C.

High iron concentrations and large temperature fluctuations affect fry mortality.

The largest broods usually grow in clean, stable waters.

Their lifespan ranges from 10 to 15 years.

However, there are individuals that live up to 25 years. In conditions of poor nutrition, the average life expectancy of pike drops sharply due to widespread cannibalism.

The pike population has been declining in recent years.

This is due to poaching, recreational fishing and improper fishing. Factors limiting reproduction also include water pollution and a reduction in the number of available spawning grounds.

The record pike in Poland was caught in 1976.

The caught fish had a length of 128 cm and a weight of 24,1 kg.

The protective period for common pike is from January 1 to April 30.

During this period, up to 2 fish can be caught per day, and individuals with a body length of no more than 50 cm must be released back into the wild.

This is a very popular fish among anglers who value it for its courage, strength and aggressiveness.

When fishing for pike, they most often use dead fish, bait or a spinning rod, and catching a large specimen is the dream of almost every angler. The fishing rod must be strong and the fishing line must have a diameter of at least 0,25 mm.

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