What Does a Pike Fish Look Like? [With Images]

What Does a Pike Fish Look Like

Pike is one of the most popular game fish species, and many anglers enjoy catching it. But, beginners often have difficulties recognizing different species.

Being able to recognize a fish is important for various reasons, especially if you catch it accidentally, or you are fishing in unfamiliar waters, and you don’t know the local species.

So, what does a pike look like? This fish has a very recognizable large and bony head. Snout is wide and flattened with a big mouth. Eyes are facing forward and slightly upward. Mouth is filled with very sharp teeth. Body is large and elongated. Colors and patterns can slightly vary but are usually in the olive and cream color range.

This fish can grow big, and it can live quite long. They are aggressive looking and fast predators. Of course, there are various types of pike, and not all of them are the same.

Besides knowing how to catch one, you must know how to recognize all of them, and luckily, pike is a specie with a very unique look.

Here I will tell you more about its appearance and differences among types.

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What Does a Pike Fish Look Like? [Basics]

So, what does a pike look like and what are some significant body features that distinguish it from other fish species?

BODY

Body of a pike is elongated and very hydrodynamic. Color can vary across the body from olive to cream. Sometimes yellow or white spots can be present along the ribs. Size can significantly vary, depending on a location and fish age. Most of them are 20-30 inches long, but some specimens can be twice as big! Weight is up to 12 lb for an average specimen, however, largest ones caught were 5 times bigger. Of course, size depends on a type of pike too, and some are a lot bigger than others.

FINS

Fins are not the same color as the rest of the body, and they are often brown, or even reddish in color. Sometimes, lines can be visible, but pattern can vary from one fish to another, even if they are the same type of fish. Fins are located further back on the body, closer to tail than head. Such shape and position enable very fast strikes to catch prey.

MOUTH AND TEETH

Pike has strong, pointy, and sharp teeth. Therefore strong leader lines are used to catch it. These teeth are placed in large mouth. Mouth is not like in many other fish species, and the pike looks like it has a snout. That is not very common look, so you will be able to recognize it easily. Mouth shape enables it to catch very large prey, and some teeth in larger specimens can be up to 1 inch long!

HEAD AND EYES

Pikes’ head is big and elongated, and has a bony structure. Eyes are quite big, and pike has an excellent eyesight to locate its prey. Eyes are located forward and a bit upward, slightly above the “snout”.

What Does a Pike Fish Look Like - Body

What are Different Types of Pike Fish [Most Common List With Images]

I already mentioned that there are different types of pike, and although similar, they are not the same, and experienced anglers can easily spot the difference.

Altogether, there is 7 species that are in this fish genus, but only four are called pike.

These are common types of pike fish:

NORTHERN PIKE

This is one of the most popular species, and it is the one that can grow the largest among these four. It is native to north America and parts of Europe, but it has been introduced into many waters around the world.

SOUTHERN PIKE

This one may not be as popular as its northern cousin, but it is still a very impressive fish. It lives in southern areas of Europe, including France and Italy.

AMUR PIKE

This pike is also known as black spotted pike, and it can be found in parts of Asia. Anglers in Mongolia, Russia, China, and areas around Amur River in East Asia can enjoy catching it.

AQUITANIAN PIKE

This type is far less common, and it is present only in some parts of France. It was not recognized as pike until 2014.

These are different types of pike fish, and you probably don’t know the details about all of them. Make sure to get to know species in your area, or the area you plan to travel and fish. This is extremely important because you have to be able to recognize the species, so that you can obey local rules and regulations about it.

What Does a Pike Fish Look Like - Northern

What is the Difference Between a Pike and a Pickerel?

I already wrote that there are 7 different fish in the same genus, but only 4 are called pike. The 3 mentioned below are technically also pike, although the names differ. Also, pickerels are not as impressive in size or appearance.

AMERICAN PICKEREL

Although it looks kind of similar to large pike, especially because of the head and mouth shape, this fish is very small, up to 12 inches long. They are native to North American continent.

CHAIN PICKEREL

These fish sometimes called southern pike, but they are not the same as southern pike mentioned in the previous chapter. This species is also native to north America, and it is very common in many waters. It is bigger than its small American pickerel cousin, and can grow to about 25 inches.

MUSKELLUNGE

When compared to previous types, these fish are huge. They grow up to 55 inches, and they are also native to north America. Anglers love them, and they are a popular game fish species.

What Does a Pike Fish Look Like - Pickerel

What is the Largest Species of Pike? [How BIG do they Get?]

Pike fish is popular among anglers for various reasons, including its impressive size.

On the pike species list I mentioned the size of some types, so you may have guessed that muskellunge (also called muskie) is very impressive in size! Although it does not have the word pike in its name, it is actually the biggest of them all.

Some specimens that were measured were 1.8 meters long, although longer have been reported, but not recognized. The longest caught muskie was 1.61 meters long, and it weighted 30.6 kilograms!

But unfortunately, these record-breaking specimens are rare, and average angler will catch average sized specimens. When talking about muskies, that is usually 28-48 inches long and in 15-35lb weight range. Northern pike of an average size is 20-39 inches long.

No matter the size, pike is a strong and fierce predator that will really put your angling skills to the test. It is fun to catch, and if you have never tried it, I advise you to do it as soon as you can!


What Fish Family is Pike?

Genus of pike, that consists of 7 different pikes mentioned here, is called Esox. Family, which is a classification above genus, is called Esocidae. In the past, Esocidae family contained only genus Esox, but Novumbra and Dallia genus have ben added to the family too due to recent research and studies.

I will not bore you with Latin names, paleontological research, and similar info. What is important here is that Esox is the most important genus in the family, and even in the order.

Order is a classification above genus and family, and this one got its name from the pike genus, and this order is called Esociformes. One more family is a part of this order, but it has nothing to do with your favorite game fish.

Conclusion

All pikes have in common their long bodies, aggressive looking head with a snout like an alligator, and large mouth full of teeth. They are aggressive predators that are not easy to catch!

Their fins are placed further behind to enable fast impacts when the prey is near. These predators have been introduced in many waters, although most of them live in North America.

Now you know what does a pike look like, and how to recognize it. There are 7 different types of pike, and not all are called pike. Actually, the biggest one of them is a muskie.

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