Northern Pike

Northern Pike

The northern pike is a holarctic species, meaning that it occurs around the world in northern, or Arctic waters.

Midwest, Northeast, West


Midwest, Northeast, West

Catch ease



Lake, Pond

How to identify a Northern Pike

Like the muskellunge and the pickerels, it is a long, sleek, predatory fish with a broad, flat mouth resembling a duck’s bill and a single dorsal fin located on the posterior portion of the body. In body shape the members of the pike group are all identical, but the northern pike can be distinguished from its relatives by three main features. Most noticeably the greenish or yellowish sides of the fish are covered with lighter colored oblong horizontal spots or streaks, whereas all other species have darker markings than the background color. The second distinction is the scale pattern on the gill cover and cheek. In the northern pike the cheek is fully scaled, but the bottom half of the gill cover is scaleless. In the larger muskellunge, both the top half of the gill cover and the top half of the cheek are fully scaled. The third distinctive feature is the number of pores under each side of the lower jaw; usually 5 in the northern pike (rarely 3,4, or 6 on one side), 6-9 in the muskellunge (rarely 5 or 10 on one side), and 4 in the smaller pickerels (occasionally 3 or 5 on one side only).

Where to catch Northern Pike

In North America it is found in the Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific, Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins from Labrador to Alaska and south to Pennsylvania, Missouri and Nebraska, USA. The following list includes additional details on where to catch this fish:

How to catch Northern Pike

Pike are usually taken by trolling with large spoons, plugs or natural baits, but casting and still fishing are also frequently successful. The following are fishing methods used to catch this fish:

Northern Pike lures, tackle & bait

The following are lures, tackle or bait that can be used to catch this fish:

Find Northern Pike

View Map