The Pike’s body has longer and cylindrical shape and is flattened on the sides. The head is typically flattened and long much like ducks beak. Its mouth is big and reaches right to the eyes. The bottom hinged jaw is bigger than the upper. In its mouth there are hidden strong, sharp and backwards curved teeth which are bigger on the bottom jaw. The colour of the back is green with brown and grey reflections. The sides are lighter with dirty yellow and grey spots its belly is dirty white. Its fins are also covered with spots in combination of colour from red yellow to brown red. The dorsal fin is located way back above the diaphragm. The Pike can grow over 1 m in length and it can weigh over 15 kg. In Lake Cerknica Pike grows very fast due to the rich food supplies. Some fish reach 40 cm in length in just 2 years. Due so fast growth and intermitted lake the Pike here has a slim body and at the length of 1 m rarely reaches the weight of 10 kg. It swims in areas covered with water vegetation from where it can lurk on the smaller fish and other small water mammals. Pike is a fears carnivore and will eat smaller pikes also.
It spawns in February, March and April depending on the water temperature. The female can lay even 50.000 eggs per 1 kg of her weight. It lays her eggs on water grass and other vegetation. That is why the spawn season is successful if the water level is high enough to cover the grassy areas and if the lake is note frozen. The young fish stay in grassy areas which offer them some shelter from predators.
The Pike can be found all over Europe except of Southern Spain and Italy. The most densely populated area in Slovenia is Danube basil. It can be found in all waters except for Soča basil, rivers as Rižana and Reka and in Lake Bohinj. In the district of Cerknica Fishing Association you can find Pike in Lake Cerknica, Rak Creek and in the lower stream of Cerkniščica Creek. This fish likes still waters and slow running waters and can also coupe with lower temperatures and as such it can be found in trout areas also.
We fish for pike with spinning with spinners and wobblers (artificial fish) in various materials and colours. When fishing in clearer water we use bait of darker colour while in muddy water we use lighter even fluorescent bait. It is believed that baits with red tassel are more efficient. Nowadays fly fishing has become very popular. We use special fly fishing rod with possible reddish spin fly and steel wire leader since pike has sharp teeth and can bite trough the line. The fish swims in all water layers. If you lead the bait by the vegetation where it guards for prey pike will usually burst from the hidden place for the bait. When taking out the hook from the fish’s mouth we should be vary careful because of its sharp teeth.
Pikes flesh is juicy and tasty although quite bony. In the past fish were important parts of the diet for the people leaving close to the lake. There are still few recipes preserved. You can find them in our special column Recipes.