Fish Fry Day: Northern Pike

Well, it’s that time of the week again. The day in Wisconsin offers up its fabulous fish fry dinners and the day here at the blog where we celebrate some of our favorite fishes. If you missed the first installment of “Fish Fry Day,” you can learn more about that beautiful panfish, the pumpkinseed, by reading this blog post. Today, though, we’re featuring a fish with a bigger, well, bite. Ladies and gentlemen – the northern pike.

CFL grad student, Zack Lawson pulled this impressive pike out of Lake Mendota this winter right outside Hasler Lab's doors. Photo: Dane Oele
CFL grad student, Zack Lawson pulled this impressive pike out of Lake Mendota this winter right outside the doors of Hasler Lab. Photo: Dane Oele

This time last year, the blog was up in Green Bay with CFL grad student, Dan Oele, trying to catch some of these beautiful and popular sport fish on their annual spring spawning runs. Thanks to crazy warm weather in March, though, most pike had already headed back out to the bay before we arrived. Luckily, we did find one slow-moving specimen. Below is a podcast/slideshow recapping the day of field work as Dan seeks answers to a great fish mystery – do pike return to the waters where they were born to spawn, or will any ol’ wetland (or even road culvert) do?

For more fun facts on pike, you can visit this University of Wisconsin Sea Grant page, where you’ll learn, among other things, that “the northern pike is a voracious predator -- consuming three to four times its weight during the course of a year. Besides smaller fish, its diet includes frogs, crayfish, small mammals, and birds -- almost anything within range."

Northern pike. Photo: Wisconsin DNR
Northern pike. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

So get out and enjoy the finest in fried Wisconsin cuisine tonight, stay tuned for a new featured fish next week, and keep out of range of those voracious Northerns!

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