Pike

Esox lucius

Ravi Chatterji with pikePike are classic 'sit-and-wait' predators, capable of fast acceleration after a slow stalking of their prey which may be invetebrates, fish or, less commonly, birds or mammals. 

An ancient group of fish, pike are represented in the Cromer Forest fossil beds (500,000 years ago) at which time they looked identical to today's species.  Eocene sediments in Canada have produced specimens of the very similar Esox tiemani of 60 million years ago.

In Britain, pike are prized by coarse anglers, who pursue them on both running and still waters, but reviled by game-fishing interests because of their undoubted ability to eat significant numbers of wild and stocked brown trout, rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon, as well as Arctic char and other species of conservation priority, such as whitefish.  Pike will often constitute 10-15% of overall fish biomass in still waters and slow-flowing rivers but less in fast-flowing streams because of their preference for relatively low-velocity currents.

Pike predation has always been a problem for fishery managers trying to maintain salmon and trout populations. Studies have shown that pike removal reduces pike numbers in the long-term. The Trust carried out research from 1993 to 2001 to discover the effects of pike removal on a stretch of river.

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