The big pike species are native to the Palearctic and Nearctic ecozones, ranging across northern North America and from Western Europe to Siberia in Eurasia. They have been found in many urban lakes in Western Europe, reported to be in the Rostrum (Lucerne) and the Serpentine, (London). Pike can grow to a maximum recorded length of 1.83 meters (6 ft), reaching a maximum recorded weight of 35 kilograms (77 lb). The UK record pike was caught at Llandegfedd Reservoir in Wales in 1992. Individuals have been reported to reach 30 years in age. They have the elongated, torpedo-like form of predatory fishes, with sharply-pointed heads and sharp teeth. Their coloration is typically grey-green with a mottled or spotted appearance with stripes along its back, perfectly camouflaged among weeds. Individual pike marking patterns are unique, like fingerprints.Diet
The pike feeds on a wide range of food sources, predominantly smaller shoal fish. Pike are also cannibalistic, sometimes preying upon smaller members of their own species. They are undeserving of their fierce reputation with only a few minor incidents of pike 'attacks' on people being substantiated.
They will also prey on insects and amphibians such as newts or frogs in times when food is scarce, and occasionally on small mammals, like moles or mice when caught water-borne. Small birds such as ducklings may become a target for hungry pike. Pikes are also known to prey on swimming snakes, such as vipers.
Contrary to popular myth the pike is not a notoriously voracious fish. Its reputation as a pest seems to predominate amongst anglers whose focus is on other species.
Pike has been revered as a food fish at least as far back as the ancient Romans, where many recipes for their preparation are found. The flesh is very white, mild with a delicate and distinctive earthy flavor of its own. It has the leanest flesh of all freshwater fishes. It can be poached or broiled (with adequate basting) but like most low fat fish, it is at its best breaded and fried. Its main drawback is the extra layer of bones, called "Y bones" in its flesh, which are specific to this species. The "Y" bones are not removed during normal filleting techniques. Hence, pike can be delicious, but must be eaten carefully.