Pike Esox lucius

The pike, or northern pike is one of the largest freshwater fish found in the UK. They can be spotted in various locations such as rivers, canals, lochs and lakes throughout Scotland. They are distinguishable by their large size, long body, rows of sharp teeth, and fearsome reputation. Olive green in colour with light spots, their dorsal fin is located just in front of the tail.

Behaviour

Specialising in ambush tactics, pike use their olive green colour to perfectly blend into the dark and weedy areas of the water, lying in wait to pounce on any unwary fish that comes their way. Using their large tail (caudal) fin, they shoot out from the shadows, catching their prey sideways in their mouth.

Size

  • Length: 16-22 inches
  • Weight: 7kg

Status

Common throughout Scotland.

As they are one of the most fearsome apex predators in the UK waters, there are not many other species that can threaten the pike. Overfishing is a potential threat, as well as lack of prey such salmon that has seen a reduction in numbers in recent years.

Distribution

Widespread across the county

When to see

January – December

Facts

  • The name pike comes from shape of the fish which resembles the medieval pole-like weapon, the pike.
  • While mainly feeding on other fish, they are known to eat frogs, insects, and sometimes young or mature ducks.

Common name

Pike

Species name

Esox lucius

When to see in Scotland

January – December

Where to see in Scotland

Most freshwater habitats including Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Loch of the Lowes

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