Pike have an elongated body and head, with a broad flat snout is broad and flat, and are colored olive green, shading into yellow to white along the belly. These toothy critters have jaws, roof of the mouth, tongue, and gillrakers covered with numerous sharp teeth. Males and females are similar in appearance but females live longer and attain greater size. Northerns can reach large sizes with fish to 60 inches and 50 plus pounds possible.
These top end predators will readily take big prey, upwards of one third their body length and are not particular about what they’ll eat. Pike can be found in a variety of waters having a tolerance for many conditions. As ambush predators, pike typically lie in wait for prey, showing high acceleration as they strike.
Spawning occurs in spring soon after the ice goes out, typically in the grassy margins of lake shores, slow-moving streams, or sloughs. The eggs are dropped to the bottom where they adhere to grass, rocks, or other debris. The young pike feed on small invertebrates and quickly move on to larger prey like small fish.
Pike eggs and new hatchlings (which stay inactive, attached to vegetation for their first few days of life) fall prey in large numbers to larger pike, perch, minnows, waterfowl, water mammals, and even some insects. Larger pike have two primary enemies – lampreys, and man. Spawning adult northern pike, exposing themselves recklessly in the shallows, are vulnerable to bears, dogs, and other large carnivores.