Fishing reports and lake information for Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, North Dakota and South Dakota
Fish Identification

Northern Pike

Windsor Nature Discovery
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Northern Pike
Fish image provided under agreement from Windsor Nature Discovery, LLC. Fish image created by Ron Pittard.
Common Name: Northern Pike

Scientific Name: Esox Lucius

Fish Family: Esocidae

Other Names: pike, northern, jack, jackfish, snake, great northern pike, great northern pickerel, American pike, common pike, Great Lakes pike; Danish: gedde; Dutch: snoek; Finnish: hauki; French: brochet; German: hecht; Hungarian: csuka; Italian: luccio; Norwegian: gjedde; Portuguese: Ício; Russian: shtschuka; Spanish: lucio; Swedish: gäddo

Northern Pike Photos:

For more Northern Pike photos visit Lake-Link's Photo Gallery.
Northern Pike caught by Ashley Anderson Northern Pike caught by Jerad Bane Northern Pike caught by Steve Steve Northern Pike caught by Josh Staudt Northern Pike caught by Janel Enright
State Fish For: North Dakota


Light to dark olive dorsall becoming white ven- trally; light bean-shaped horizontal markings dis- persed in oblique rows on sides; vertical fins com- monly orange-yellow. Young northern pike (under 279 mm) with oblique dark bars. Young solid black-green on back, con- trasted with cream-colored stripe on back of muskel- lunge fingerling.
In Wisconsin, the northern pike occurs in the Mississippi River, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior drainage basins. It is widely distributed throughout the state except in the unglaciated area, where it is sparsely dispersed except in large river systems and impounded areas. The northern pike is generally common except in the southeastern quarter of the state, where populations are seriously depressed.
Spawning may occur from late March to early April, as soon as the ice begins to break up in the spring. Migrations into the spawning areas take place during the night. Spawning occurs at temperatures between 34 and 40ºF, but 36-37ºF seems to be the preferred range. Spawning takes place in flooded areas with emergent vegetation and involves one female and from one to three attendant males. Eggs are deposited on vegetation to which they adhere. There is no parental care.
Angling Methods:
Unlike other common species of game fish, northern pike are most active when the water is cool. The northern pike is quite accommodating to anglers, biting best during the daylight hours. Being a predator, northerns prefer live fish baits, and wobbling spoons. They are a favorite target of ice fisherman with tip-ups.

State Northern Pike Records:

  • Illinois State Record:
    26 lbs 15 ozs caught by Walter Klenzak caught on Strip Mine Lake on November 9, 1989.
  • Indiana State Record:
    30 lbs 2 ozs caught by Jack Barnes caught on Clear Lake on January 1, 1992.
  • Iowa State Record:
    25 lbs 5 ozs caught by Allen Forsberg caught on West Okoboji, Dickinson County on February 1, 1977.
  • Michigan State Record:
    39 lbs 0 ozs caught by Larry Clough caught on Dodge Lake, Schoolcraft County on January 1, 1961.
  • Minnesota State Record:
    45 lbs 12 ozs caught on Basswood Lake, Lake County on May 16, 1929.
  • Wisconsin State Record:
    38 lbs 0 ozs caught on Lake Puckaway, Green Lake County on August 6, 1952.
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