Family: Esccidae

Common Family: The Pike Family

Common Name: Northern Pike

Scientific Name: Esox lucius


Northern Pike can easily be confused with musky and pickerel. Northern Pike have small wavy whitish spots on a dark greenish background. The lower half of the gill cover is scaleless with the cheek fully scaled. There are 10-11 sensory pores on the underside of the lower jaws.

Range and Habitat:

Northern Pike are not native to West Virginia but can be found in areas that have been stocked previously by the Division of Natural Resources. Northern Pike prefer waters with an abundant amount of vegetation and submerged logs.

Fishing Facts:

Northern Pike feed on other fish, so live bait is frequently used in West Virginia along with large crank baits, spinners and spoons.

Similar Species:

The muskellunge has no scales on the lower half of its cheeks or its gill cover along with the tiger musky. Chain pickerel have fully scaled gill covers.