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- In Alberta, members of this species have been known to weigh up to 22 kilograms (50 pounds).
- Sometimes called jackfish, northern pike are long, slender fish with sharp, backward-slanting teeth, duck-like jaws and a long, flat head.
- The back and sides are predominantly dark green to olive-green, with yellow to white spots.
- Because of a tiny gold spot found on the tip of most scales, pike appear flecked with gold.
- A popular sport fish, pike are found throughout Alberta.
- Distribution in the foothills and mountains is limited to a few lakes in the foothills.
- This species prefers shallow, weedy clear waters in lakes and marshes, but also inhabits slow streams.
- Pike will eat insects, but as voracious predators they feed primarily on fish and other vertebrates.
Reproduction and Growth
- Spawning occurs in flooded areas of vegetation in early spring, often when ice is still on the lakes.
- Northern pike are broadcast spawners, with females and males swimming alongside each other releasing their eggs and milt (excretion of male sperm cells) into the water.
- Fertilized eggs stick to vegetation and incubate. Hatching occurs in 12 to 17 days.
- Young of the year are present as early as May.
Conservation and Management
Northern pike are classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:
Northern pike are cool-water game fish subject to current Alberta sportfishing regulations. For details, see the My Wild Alberta website at: