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What Does a Pike Look Like? (Photos and Video)

Northern pikes are very large fish with olive green, elongated bodies. They also have very distinctive heads with wide mouths.

This post is all about how to identify a Northern pike, and includes photographs and videos.

What Does a Pike Look Like?
Photograph of a pike

Northern Pike are the only species of pike to be found in the UK. There are, however, four different fish species known as “pike”, and seven fish in total in the Esox Lucius genus.

The Northern Pike is also called the Jackfish, or American pike since they are native to North America.

What Does a Pike Look Like?

A Northern pike is a very big fish. In fact it’s one of the largest freshwater fish to be found in the UK.

Northern pikes have long, olive green bodies with light spots. Their dorsal fin is located in front of their tails, and they have big, sharp teeth.

What Are the Other Species of Pike?

In total there are seven species of fish in the Esox genus, but only four of them are known as “pike”. The other three are the American pickerel, the chain pickerel, and the muskellunge.

The table below breaks down the four different fish known as pike (Northern Pike, Southern Pike, Amur Pike and Aquitanian Pike), with where they are found and what they look like.

Where it is Found What it Looks Like
Northern Pike Europe, Northern Asia,
North America
Large, elongated bodies.
Large head with wide mouths.
Olive green colour with a white or yellow belly.
Short bar like spots on body.
Dark spots on fins.
Southern Pike Italy,
Southern France,
Large elongated bodies.
Olive green or silver colour.
Has both horizontal & vertical lines on its body, as opposed to the Northern’s pike’s bar-like spots.
Fewer scales along its lateral line.
Amur Pike The Amur River in East Asia
Large elongated bodies.
Silver body with small black spots.
Aquitanian Pike South West France Large elongated bodies.
Grey to yellow green colour.
Yellow to orange fins.
Faint pigmentation on paired fins
Dark pigmentation on unpaired fins.

What Does a Pike Look Like?
Photograph of a pike

What Does a Northern Pike Look Like?


From the image below, you can see that the Northern Pike has a long body shape. This makes it a fast swimmer, and good predator.

Its body is covered in small scales which are usually an olive green colour, and become paler on its belly. Although northern pike are usually olive, they can also have grey or pinkish-red colors on their backs.

What Does a Pike Look Like?
Photograph of a pike

Head and Eyes

The Northern Pike has a very distinctive looking head with large eyes that are disproportionally big compared to its body size.

Its head has a bony looking appearance, and its eyes are just above the snout. Pike have very good eyesight to detect their prey, and their eyes are forward facing which helps them to judge distance.

Northern Pike
Photograph of a pike’s head

Teeth and Mouth

The Northern Pike has a duck-billed shaped snout with a large mouth. It is an apex predator, which means it’s at the top of the food chain without any predators of its own. Apex predators have strong and sharp teeth to catch their prey.

A pike’s mouth can have up to 700 teeth. The teeth are various sizes, and usually long and sharp. Very large pike can even have teeth that are up to 1 inch in length on the lower jaw.

Northern Pike
Photograph of a pike’s mouth


The Northern Pike has a single dorsal fin and anal fin each near the tail. It also has two pairs of fins near the head and stomach.

The fins are a different colour from the rest of the body, and are usually red or brown. They can also have dark lines or spots on them. The diagram below will help you identify the dorsal and anal fins.

fin diagram
Fin diagram

What Colour is a Pike?

Pikes are olive green coloured with creamy blotches. You can see from the photograph below the pike’s back is dark green and its belly is white. It has orange fins with dark patterns, and bright orange on its tail.

What Does a Pike Look Like?
Photograph of a pike

How Big do Pike Get?

Larger pikes can grow to over 1 metre in length and weigh up to 30kg. The largest pike ever caught was 161.29 cm long, and weighed 30.61 kg. It was found in Wisconsin in the United States.

What Does a Pike Look Like?
Photograph of a pike

What Fish Looks Like a Pike?

American pickerel, chain pickerel, and muskellunges are all species of fish in the same genus as the Northern pike, and have similar characteristics. They all have long slender bodies and markings on their backs. They also have the same duckbill-shaped snouts.

What Does a Pike Look Like?
Photograph of a pike

What Does a Baby Pike Look Like?

Adult pike leave their eggs in shallow water. After the eggs hatch, the baby pike remain in the shallow water until they are around three inches long, before moving to deeper water.

Baby pike have the same colouring as bigger fish, and appear olive green with cream bar spots. Baby pike appear as long, thin green fish with a large head and eyes.

Northern Pike
Photograph of a pike

Video Showing What a Pike Looks Like

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Thank you for reading my post about what a pike looks like. If you are going pike fishing you will need a steel fishing leader as the pike’s sharp teeth can cut through mono-filament lines.