Northern Pike

Northern Pike (Esox lucius)

Northern pike are prized by sport anglers due to their aggressive nature and determined fight. The common name “pike” comes from their resemblance to the medieval pole weapon commonly used by infantry in the middle ages. Pike inhabit fresh water rivers and lakes of the northern hemisphere.

Pike are ambush predators, lying-in-wait for long periods of time, with high-energy bursts of speed when attacking their prey. Pike are territorial and the larger the pike the larger the territory it controls. The larger the pike, the less cover vegetation it requires, as the threat from other fish decreases with size.

Pike spawn in the spring immediately after ice-out when the water temperature reaches 9 o C (48 o F). Spawning areas are normally shallow, weedy bays and marshy areas that may only hold water in the spring. Male pike arrive in the spawning areas before the females and stay longer. Pike are capable of spawning at around two years of age. Typically, northern pike live 10 to 15 years, but are known to live up to 25+ years.

The pike’s lateral line detects the vortices in the water produced by its intended prey.  Lures that imitate these vibrations are effective in triggering a strike by a northern pike.  Pike attack their prey from the side, immobilize them, then turn the prey to swallow it head-first.

All six of Slippery Winds Wilderness Resort’s lakes hold northern pike.  Yoke, Crossroute and Sullivan have produced the largest pike over the years.  Straw Lake has a large population of pike in the low 20-inch to mid-to-high 30-inch range and is an excellent choice of fishery if you have young anglers in your group and want to provide them with lots of action.  Sucan holds pike that are similar in size to Straw Lake, but the population of pike isn’t as dense as it is on Straw.  Bluffpointe also holds pike ranging in size from the low 20’s to mid-30 inches.

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