Northern Pike

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  • Northern Pike : (Esox lucius)
    Non-native, originally found in Canada and northern states around the Great Lakes. Introduced to Arizona in 1965. Back and sides are dusky olive-green with rows of light oval spots. Dorsal, anal and tail fin have round to oblong darkened spots. Dorsal fin located far back on an elongated body. Large canine-like teeth. Cheeks completely scaled, only upper half of the gill cover is scaled. Length: 12 to 47 inches. Weight: 8 ounces to 24 pounds. Maximum age is 30 years.

    Location and Habitat
    Found in Lake Mary, Ashurst Lake, and Long Lake, south of Flagstaff. Also found in Rainbow and Fools Hollow in the Show Low/Lakeside area. Prefer shallow water and areas congested with aquatic weeds.


    Spawn in early spring just after ice thaws. Spawning occurs during the day. Adhesive eggs simply scattered over the bottom or onto vegetation. Eggs hatch rapidly in 12-14 days. Young remain in shallows for several weeks.

    Fish make up the bulk of their diet but they will also take frogs, crayfish, waterdogs, ducklings, birds and mice. Unfortunately, pike enjoy eating rainbow trout and can greatly disrupt trout populations (and fishing success) in waters intended for trout only.

    Effective lures and bait for pike are "LARGE" spoons, spinners, plugs or waterdogs. Fishing with minnows is unlawful in nearly all pike waters; make sure to check the fishing regulations. Northern pike have sharp teeth; so many anglers use a wire leader to prevent the line from being cut.

    Table Quality
    The meat is white, firm, flaky and has good flavor, but each fillet has a row of Y-bones. By cutting around the bones they can be removed.

    Information from The Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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