An aggressive ambush predator that’s known for keen eyesight and brutal strikes, the northern pike (often known simply as "pike") is a prized catch among anglers. The northern pike has an elongated, torpedo-shaped body and a head with a snout that is broad and flat like a duck’s bill. Northern pike are most often olive, shading into yellow and white along the belly. Light spots mark the flanks and the fins have dark spots. Unlike the similar-looking and closely related muskellunge, the northern pike has light markings on a dark background and fewer than six sensory pores on the underside of the lower jaw.
Pike are ambush predators that lie in wait for prey, holding perfectly still for long periods and then exhibiting remarkable acceleration and aggression as they strike. The fish has a distinctive habit of catching its prey sideways in its toothy mouth, killing or immobilizing it with its sharp teeth and then turning the prey headfirst to swallow it. The northern pike mainly eats fish but on occasion small mammals and birds have been known to fall prey to it. Northern pike can be pursued in a variety of locales, with the premier fisheries being in America’s northern Midwest and throughout central Canada. They are also stocked in, or have been introduced to, western lakes and reservoirs.
Northern Pike are known simply as "pike" in England, Ireland and the USA. In Canada they are known as "jackfish."
Pike are found primarily in lakes, rivers and reservoirs. They prefer deep, calm or slow-moving water where weeds are fairly dense. They usually hide in these weeds, away from the main current.
The northern pike can be found throughout the world in northern or Arctic waters from northwestern Europe across northern Asia to North America. It is quite common in Alaska, save for the offshore islands.