Pike is one of the most common freshwater predatory fish in the northern hemisphere. Habitat includes Eurasia and North America. It lives in freshwater bodies of water, but it is found in desalinated parts of the seas, for example, it lives in the Gulf of Finland. In this article we will talk about the common pike, about the other species, more rare, you can read in this article.
The pike body is elongated, torpedo-shaped. The mouth is wide, the lower jaw protrudes forward. In the lower jaw the teeth are of different sizes and they are primarily needed to capture the target. In the oral cavity pike has teeth that are inclined toward the pharynx. When pike captures prey, they can sink into the mucous membrane, if the prey tries to escape, they rise. That is why poking pikes in the mouth of your fingers and hands is strongly discouraged: your teeth are very sharp and can hurt you badly.
The appearance of a pike depends on the reservoir in which it lives. Meets a lot of variations: gray-green, gray-brown, gray-yellow and even silver. On the sides are spots that can form transverse stripes. They also vary in their coloration. Often pike, which are caught in two adjacent reservoirs, can be very different in appearance.
Pike can reach a mass of 35 kilograms and body size up to one and a half meters. However, such giants are very rare, most of the specimens that the fishermen catch have a weight of up to 8-9 kilograms and a body length of up to one meter.
Record pikes were caught in Ireland. Thus, in the 19th century, a pike weighing 43.5 kilograms was caught, in 1822 a pike weighing 41.7 kg was found on the banks of the River Shannon. In Russia, a record pike was caught in Lake Ilmen in 1930, its weight was 34 kilograms.
In any reservoir pike prefers thickets of aquatic vegetation. As a rule, she just stands still, waiting for prey. After the pike sees suitable prey, a sharp jerk follows. It is curious that the pike always swallows its prey from the head, even if it grabs it across the body, it will unfold it.
Even large pikes prefer shallow waters. There were cases when in small lakes, at depths of up to 40-50 centimeters, very large specimens were caught. For pike, the oxygen content of the water is important, so in small bodies of water it can die during long and cold winters. She dies while reducing the oxygen content in water to 3 mg / liter.
It is important to know that the pike will always wait for their prey where there is any shelter. For example, large individuals, unlike small and medium pike, can also be found at depth, but at the same time they will still look for algae, snags, etc. On sunny days, even large pikes like to go out in shallow waters and bask in the sun, you can often see big fish at depths of 20-30 centimeters near the coast.
Reproduction and growth of pike
Pike begin to multiply on average at 4 years of age, spawning begins after the ice has melted, when the water temperature reaches 5-6 degrees Celsius. Spawning occurs in shallow waters, pike rarely spawns at depths of more than 1 meter. One female can lay from 15 to 220 thousand eggs, it depends on her size.
The development of the game depends on the water temperature and usually takes from 8 to 15 days. After that, the larvae appear, which on average are about 7 millimeters in length. They feed on small crustaceans. Having reached a length of 15 millimeters, they can already feed on the larvae of other fish, mainly carps. Cyprinids usually spawn after pike, therefore their fry appear just when they are needed for young pike. Reaching 5 centimeters, the pup is almost completely transferred to the food by fry of any fish.
By two years, pike reaches a weight of 700 grams and a body length of up to 45 centimeters. By three: 1.6k and 60 cm, by 4 - 3.2 kg and 75 cm, by 5 years - 4.7 kg and 84 cm. By 8 years, it can reach a weight of 10 kilograms and a body length of more than a meter. Note that these data are averaged and strongly depend on nutritional conditions and other factors.
What pike eats?
This fish is characterized by high growth rates, therefore pike is a voracious predator. It prefers roach, perch, minnows, podleschikov, gustera, ruffs, crucians. It can hunt representatives of its own species, this picture is often found in small ponds. There are lakes where only pike lives, therefore cannibalism is the only way to survive.
Large pikes can snatch ducklings, and even ducks, rats, squirrels, or mice that swim across bodies of water. In general, this fish is unpretentious in food, which is why it is relatively simple prey for a fisherman.
The pike meat per 100 grams contains 82 kilocalories, so it can be called dietary. 100 grams of pike meat contains about 1 gram of fat, 18 grams of protein, no carbohydrates. There are the following vitamins: PP, A, B1,2,6,8, E, C. Also in pike meat there is: phosphorus, potassium, cobalt, iodine, iron, chromium, fluorine, zinc, manganese.
On sale it is found chilled, frozen or live. Fish pies are often made from large pikes. The disadvantages include the fact that the meat is bony and can sometimes smell of mud, which many people do not like in this fish. The most tasty small specimens, weighing up to 2.5 pounds.
How do you catch pike?
More information on how to catch a pike can be found in other articles in this section. In general, pike is a desirable object for any angler, and due to its greed, it is quite easy to catch it. It is also interesting that this fish, caught on a hook, usually behaves very violently, therefore, it is not easy to pick out large specimens, but that is why they are so welcome.
Pike is caught on spinning, mugs, track, swords, trolling, on winter fishing rods. Less commonly, she is caught in the usual float rod or on the donk.
There are many tips for choosing the best lures for catching pike or live bait, but the truth is that there is no optimal option. Experienced fishermen know that in one and the same body of water one spoon can catch a lot in one day, and nothing else in one day. And there are days when this fish will be very eagerly grab any bait. Its behavior depends on the weather and other factors that are individual for each water body. That is, it is possible to give general recommendations, but it’s far from the fact that they will work on a particular day and on a specific reservoir.
Before telling what fish the pike eats and where it lives, let's form a general idea about this predator. Representatives of the species have a rounded body, elongated like a cylinder. Massive fins, a wedge-shaped head, as well as extremely smooth scales, covered with an abundance of mucous secretion, help the pike to move swiftly in the water column.
The predator has a wide jaw, capable of wide open to absorb the entire victims. The buccal cavity of the pike is generously strewn with small, but extremely sharp teeth, which allow it to easily keep the frisky prey.
The eyes of the fish are large in size and highly mobile. Due to this pike gets the opportunity to perfectly distinguish objects at a considerable distance, not only in front of him, but also on the sides.
Individual members of the species are distinguished by a varied color. Depending on the age and habitat of the pike may have a greenish, gray, white or yellowish tint. Juveniles usually have dark green scales. Over time, the body becomes grayish. Then a yellowish reflux is formed on the scales. In general, the color of the fish is determined by the nature of the reservoir. So, pike that live in muddy ponds have a darker color. Predators from ponds with sandy bottom, as a rule, have a light shade.
Pike is widely distributed in rivers, ponds and lakes of the most numerous European countries. The predator also lives on the territory of Asia and North America.
This fish prefers to settle in stagnant, muddy water with an abundance of vegetation. In lakes and ponds, pike tries to be closer to the shore, keeping in shallow water, where you can hunt small "relatives". In the rivers it occupies mostly deep-water areas.
Pike is able to survive only in reservoirs enriched with an abundance of oxygen. With a decrease in its level, in particular with the appearance of ice on the surface of rivers and lakes, the predator often suffocates and dies.
What feeds young pike
Fry fish, before hatching from eggs, absorb the contents of yolk sacs. What eats pike during a period of active growth? Attaching to independent living, the fry transfer to the consumption of small crustaceans and zooplankton. The basis of the predator's diet in this period are all kinds of daphnids and cyclops.
When the body of a pike grows up to several centimeters in length, the fish begins to hunt other fry. In addition, insect larvae become prey for the young. Over time, the old food can no longer provide the young growth of an adequate supply of energy. Therefore, upon reaching a value of about 5 centimeters, the pike completely switches to feeding on fish.
What do adults eat?
What pike eat large size? With the advent of heat, when the ice crust disappears from the surface of the reservoirs, the hungry predator with greed attacks almost on any prey. The hunt during this period continues until the pike is completely overfished.
The diet of adults includes the most numerous fish. Carp, roach, crucian carp, gudgeon are the favorite delicacies of pike. Representatives of the species do not refuse to absorb other predators, in particular, small perch and ruff. Since such fish contain prickly shoots of fins on their bodies, the pike swallows them not at once, but waits until they stop fluttering.
What else does pike eat in a pond? In rare cases, crayfish and frogs become prey of the species. The predator also hunts rats, mice, and other small mammals, which are forced to overcome water bodies during migrations. At the first opportunity, a large pike is ready to pounce on a duckling and even on an adult bird.
What behavior does a pike show during a hunt? Having noticed a potential victim, the predator slowly turns its head in its direction, making slow movements with its pectoral fins. Further, there is a powerful push by the tail and a quick leap forward. If the pike fails to grab the prey the first time, it will not spend forces on the pursuit. In such cases, the predator returns to ambush, where it can expect a new prey for a long time.
What does pike feed on when fish disappear in water for one reason or another? Even in such crisis conditions, the predator does not switch to vegetable food. In such situations, large individuals begin to absorb their own young. According to the observations of naturalists, cannibalism for pike is quite commonplace.
The above cases most often manifest themselves during periods when the predator is enclosed in shallow reservoirs due to their drying out. Usually other fish quickly die in such conditions. Therefore, the pike has no choice but to eat its brethren.
In Alaska and the Kola Peninsula, there are isolated reservoirs known as pike lakes. They completely lack other breeds of fish. Pikes here survive only due to the eating of their relatives. At first, caviar is used. Then the adults, large individuals begin to absorb the young, which can not hide.
There are several separate groups of pikes. We are talking about the so-called grass and bottom predator. The first type includes juveniles, which prefer to be in dense thickets of aquatic vegetation at an average depth. Upon reaching a large size, representatives of the species become ground pike. They move to the depths of reservoirs, where they lie in wait for large prey. The pike acquired such a name due to its ability to merge with the bottom surface, which allows it to remain invisible to potential victims.
Spawning in pike begins early, as soon as the ice comes off, and the water warms to a figure of several degrees. The ability to reproduce offspring differ individuals, whose age reaches about 4 years. Like other fish, this predator chooses shallow water areas generously covered with vegetation as spawning grounds. Marriage games begin when in a limited area one female and a whole group of males gather. After fertilization, the eggs are fixed on the algae. Embryos develop in such eggs in a period of 8 to 15 days. The rate of ripening of young stock in eggs directly depends on the water temperature.
Seasoned fishermen are well versed in what fish pike eats. Therefore, as bait prefer to use live bait. The lure is most often a moving fish, such as a crucian carp, a perch, a ruff, a minnow. Sluggish bait can leave a fisherman without a catch.
Live bait is thrown over a long distance with the help of a spinning rod, after which an unhurried wiring is performed. If the pike spotted the bait, she immediately attacked her and abruptly swims to the side. Predator prefers to swallow prey entirely. Given this feature, as a tackle, fishermen use hooks with double or triple branching.
Features of the form
Pike does not fall into hibernation for the winter, it feeds all year round, although during the cold season the intensity of nutrition is much lower. Individuals that have reached puberty (at three to five years) do not form large flocks. They live either singly or in small homogeneous groups. In females, caviar matures from fall throughout the winter. They throw it in early spring. After this begins intense zhor.
What pike eats during this period? Anything that catches your eye: fish, large insects and their larvae, frogs, lizards, rodents that have fallen into the water. In addition to good vision, this predator has a developed sense of smell, so sometimes not only a moving object, but also rotting carrion can miss.
With a length of 70 cm, the weight of an ordinary pike is about two (up to three) kilograms. Record copies reach the size of one and a half meters and can weigh up to 35 kg if they live to 30 years. According to the structure of the body, the individuals living in the river have a long and narrow body, in the pond they are thicker and shorter.
Although pikes are considered voracious predators, their digestion is poorly developed. A well-fed "robber" can digest swallowed food for several days or even weeks. At this moment, she is indifferent to any prey at her mouth. The stomach of this predator is very elastic, it can double in size, while its walls become thinner to such an extent that they become translucent.
After spawning, the pike is covered with glue-like mass, attached to snags, vegetation and stones. After a few days, this substance dissolves, and individual eggs settle to the bottom, where their development continues from one to two weeks. As a result, the larvae are born. In the early days, they are stuck with sticky threads to bottom vegetation and feed on the contents of their yolk sacs. Their length is about 7 mm.
What pike eats during this and subsequent periods of growth? When nutrients run out, they begin to feed on small zooplankton: Cyclops and Daphnia. The size of the larvae in this period is about 1 cm. Having increased in size up to 1.5 cm, pike fry can already hunt juvenile carp fish. Although it is rare. Mostly their prey becomes chiromonid larvae, water donkeys, and mayflies. Having reached the size of 5 cm, the young of the pike switch to feeding on fish. This process is natural and obligatory, as a growing organism requires energy, and insect larvae and crustaceans can no longer fill them.
What pike eats in nature
The diet of the predator is directly dependent on the habitat and the species of fish that prevail in the pond. In reservoirs and lakes, it usually consists of roach, white bream, white bream, perch, ruff. In the river, its prey, in addition, may be minnows, minnows, barrows, bullheads. In the pond, she, besides crucians, enjoys tadpoles and adult frogs with pleasure, but she throws away the toad.
What eats pike during the spring and autumn zhora? With a lack of fish, it can catch a waterfowl, even when physically unable to swallow it. There are cases when the pike dies, having swallowed too big a duck or a goose, suffocating from feathers and down.
Having got into the water, mice, rats, moles and other rodents, as well as lizards, in the presence of a hungry "robber" nearby, risk to pay with their life, becoming its prey. Smaller individuals may have worms and leeches. A pike will take decaying carrion and fish that “fall asleep” only when it is especially hungry and cannot find more worthy prey.
Pike eats algae?
This fish leads exclusively predatory lifestyle, therefore, simply can not eat plant food. Даже когда в водоеме совсем нет рыбы и нет возможности добыть другую живность, водорослями она питаться не будет. Замечено, что до 20% объема рациона этого хищника может составлять более мелкая щука. Каннибализм для этого вида – привычное явление. Поэтому на вопрос о том, чем питается щука в пруду, когда там совсем нет рыбы, ответом будет – своими собратьями.
This feature is most pronounced in the floodplains of the rivers, when the water after the spill falls and the reservoir becomes cut off from the main channel. Fish of other species in them quickly ends, and the young of the pike begins to eat each other. In such places, the development of the species is uneven. Large individuals are more than twice as young as they are their food. Pike is held in such places by very homogeneous groups in order to reduce the desire and ability to eat each other.
Habitat and hunting characteristics
Pike lives everywhere. Less common in mountain rivers, replete with shallows and rapids. It does not survive in the waters freezing to the bottom. In the reservoirs pike does not happen much; the conditions for its spawning in such places are not particularly favorable.
Most often it lives in the coastal zone, often hiding in dense thickets of aquatic vegetation or in the shade of coals. What pike eats in such a situation and how does it find a victim? With abundant food, it shows legibility. In places it does not like crucians, squeamish by tench and burbot. With a large number of carp fish, little attention is paid to perch and ruffs.
At the sight of a suitable object for attack, the pike slowly turns in its direction, carefully working with one or two fins. Then follows a jerk. Its length can be up to several sizes of its body. Pike is not going to chase swiftly catching prey. She is a representative of an ambush hunt, so she most often stops her unsuccessful pursuit and returns to her place to wait for another victim.
Characteristic feature of a predator
Never tries to hibernate. Continues to eat all year round.
The organization of packs in large numbers is unusual for pikes, and they try to live alone or join together in small groups. In the autumn and the entire winter period, their calves mature, and the fish begin to spawn in early spring.
Here at the onset of this period and she begins with intense zhor, eats everything that the eye sees:
She has a very developed sense of smell and good vision. By weight category usually reaches 2−3 kg and has a length of 70 cm. One and a half meters with a weight of 35 kg are large predators. A narrow body of decent length is inherent in pikes that live in rivers, and in the pond they are thicker and inferior in length.
Development and nutrition in nature
Despite its predatory nature, digestion has a weak development. It can digest swallowed food for weeks at the expense of an elastic stomach, which doubles in size. Over time, the stomach walls become translucent. It should be noted an interesting detail that immediately after spawning, the body of the pike is covered with glue mass, and with the help of its fish is attached to the bark, stones, plants.
Then the substance dissolves after several days, and the eggs then slowly settle to the bottom, where they continue to grow for two weeks, and then the larvae appear, which are attached to aquatic plants with threads with a sticky composition.
When they are small (about 7 mm), they eat the contents of the yolk sacs that belong to them. When the contents of the bags ends, they begin to feed on daphnia. When the size becomes approximately 2 cm, the hunt for young carps begins.
Hiromonid larvae are the main prey of growing predators, when pike fry reach 5 cm in length. Subsequently, they eat fish, because the growing organism requires replenishment with energy resources, and the larvae are no longer able to satisfy the increased needs.
The diet of adult individuals is directly dependent on the environment and species that exist in this reservoir. Lakes, reservoirs tend to have:
- white bream and many other fish
In the river can live:
In the pond:
It can grab a duck and a goose, and rats, moles, and mice that accidentally fell into the water are at risk for a predator's tooth. Squirrels, which are smaller in size, are content with worms. A “fallen asleep” fish can be swallowed in rare cases when it experiences a great feeling of hunger and is unable to find a good prey for itself.
Pike does not eat plants even when there is no fish. Cannibalism (eating its own kind) is inherent in the pike, because its relatives make up 20% of the volume, only small in size.
Here you have the answer to the question, but what do pike eat in the water of the pond, where there is no fish food. The answer suggests itself: by their own kind. Often this manifestation can be seen most vividly in the floodplain of the river, where the inhabitants are cut off from the channel. Larger ones eat smaller ones in size and strength. They keep homogeneous groups in such places, so as not to eat their fellows.
So, the main answer to the question, where the pike lives in the fresh water of North America and Eurasia, is found in the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea, the Sea of Azov. Habitat is everywhere, but less abides in the rivers of mountainous terrain, reservoirs that freeze to the bottom.
An unfavorable place is considered to be a reservoir, where spawning opportunities are not entirely favorable. In the zone along the coastal strip is much more intense, where you can hide among the vegetation.
In the river is found both off the coast and at depths. If the feed is sufficient, it shows a selective approach in the choice of prey, and sometimes it disdains to eat burbot and tench. If there is a lot of carp in the water, then swim past the perch and ruff. Seeing the victim of his attack, carries out a slow maneuver in his direction, turning with the help of two fins. Then a swift attack occurs, and the victim finds himself in the teeth of a predator.
There are rare blunders when the victim rapidly escapes the hunter. In this case, the pike will not pursue it. She is an ardent supporter of an ambush hunt, so she returns to her place to wait for another victim.