Wildlife Wednesday: Northern Pike
Welcome to another Wildlife Wednesday! Today we have one of the more predatory fish of the Great Lakes: the northern pike! This fish is found in all of Michigan’s Great Lakes as well as in inland waters. They have a high tolerance of a range of water temperatures, clarity, and oxygen levels making them extremely adaptable to many different water conditions. They do prefer to live in shallow and weedy waters. Their coloration is perfect for blending in with aquatic plants. Their color can range from shades of green to olive to brown, always with light colored spots along their body. They can grow to 4.5 feet in length and weigh up to 60 pounds. However, more commonly they grow to around 2 feet in length and weigh 30 pounds. Their size and very sharp teeth make them excellent predators. They wait in the shallow and weedy water for their prey to come to them before striking quickly and sometimes giving a quick chase after stalking their prey. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything they can get in their mouths. Their usual diet is made up of invertebrates, smaller fish, amphibians and even small mammals. Even though the northern pike is a predator they are themselves preyed upon by us humans! They are a favorite of anglers and popular among ice fishing.