Did you know that there are actually seven species of pike and pickerel (small pike), which live in waters around the world. Here is a very simple guide of pike species that most of us don’t know exist.
Northern Pike Esox Lucius
When someone refers to a “Pike” they most often refer to this fish. It can be found inhabiting the freshwaters in cooler regions of the Northern Hemisphere. This is the only species of pike found in the UK.
Angling supremo Gary Newman, Korda’s TV Production Manager with a fish 20lb plus
World Record 25.00 kg (55 lb 1 oz)
Lake of Grefeern, Germany
Southern Pike Esox cisalpinus
Is a species of pike from central and northern Italy, south eastern France and Switzerland. It has traditionally been considered a southern European variant of the widespread northern pike. Its distinct markings make it one of Europe’s most stunning looking fish and one that I would like to stick on my bucket list.
This beautiful picture is of Max van Oers from Netherlands with this Italian Southern Pike. Max van Oers Instagram
World Record 10.00 kg (22 lb 0oz)
Lake in Italy near Rome
There is very little information on the record of the southern pike. If you can help then please contact me over social media so we can update this article.
Amur pike Esox reichertii
A pike that is native to the Amur River system in east Asia. Including the Amur drainage and Sakhalin Island, Onon and Kherlen drainages in Mongolia. It is closely related to the northern pike, it reaches lengths of over of three feet and has been known to weigh up to 27 lb. This striking looking fish can be easily recognised by its silvery gold body and small black spots. Stan Dabrowski reported catching a 27lb fish but no record has been officially set. There are unverified reports of bigger fish caught in China but evidence is hard to come by.
Korda’s TV Production Manager Gary Newman. Gary Newman Instagram
World Record according to the IGFA is vacant.
Muskellunge Esox masquinongy
The muskellunge or “Muskie” as its known across North America thrives in and around the Great Lakes in North America. You can find both the Muskie and northern pike in all five lakes and the surrounding rivers.
Nick Watkins with a monster Muskie. Nick Watkins Instagram
World Record 30.61 kg (67 lb 8 oz)
Lake Court Oreilles, Hayward, Wisconsin, USA
Tiger muskellunge (Hybrid)
Because of its stripes you can clearly see how this Pike got its name. The Tiger Muskie, is a usually-sterile, hybrid offspring of the true muskellunge and the northern pike. The tiger Muskie is a hybrid and is produced when a male northern pike fertilizes the eggs spawned of a female muskellunge. It prefers cooler climates and because of this its range extends to Canada, the Northeast, and the Midwest United States. One study showed that tiger muskies grew one and half times as fast as a regular Muskie.
Picture courtesy of U/Amoralman at Reddit
World Record 23.21 kg (51 lb 3 oz)
Lac Vieux-Desert, Michigan, USA
Aquatainian Pike Esox Aquitanicus
Because of its scarcity not much is known about the Aquitanian Pike and the species was only first recognised in 2014. Native to the Charente to the Adour drainages this fish is can be found the rivers and drainage’s of the Rhine, Seine, Loire, and the Rhône in southwestern France.
As of today there is no known record that is currently listed on the IGFA website and because of this, images are very scarce.
This image is courtesy of an amazing wildlife photographer, Matthieu Berroneau. More of Matthieu’s wonderful work can be found at http://www.matthieu-berroneau.fr
Redfin Pickerel Esox americanus americanus
Redfin pickerel are found in freshwater lakes, rivers, streams, and swamps along the Atlantic slope of the USA.
Photo courtesy of Dave Wich Reddit
World Record 1.02 kg (2 lb 4 oz)
Gall Berry Swamp, North Carolina, USA
Chain pickerel Esox niger
A Chain Pickerel looks like a smaller version of it cousin the Northern Pike. They inhabit the eastern United States and Canada, from Nova Scotia southward through all of the Atlantic coast states and most of Florida, and westward through Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana to as far as the Navasota River in eastern Texas. From Louisiana, it extends northward in the Mississippi River drainage through eastern Arkansas to south-eastern Missouri and southwestern Kentucky.
Grass Pickerel Esox americanus vermiculatus
Like the Redfin Pickerel, Grass Pickerel have evolved to be smaller than their pike relatives. I love these beautiful little miniatures and because they are Matchbox size rarely grow more than 300mm in length and weigh on average 170 grams.
These little pike are native to the states of Florida, Eastern Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and the Great Lakes region.
Chain Pickerel By Hellion102792 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85061892
Check out my autumn pike adventures here https://www.fishingmaverick.com/autumn-pike-fishing/