Also known as:

Great Northern pike, common pike, jack, jackfish, chain pickerel, snake, gator.


The largest, and most voracious, predator of northern waters. The most widely distributed freshwater fish in the world, found in northern Asia, Europe, and North America. Found in nearly all Minnesota lakes and streams except for the lower reaches of the North Shore creeks and the well-drained watersheds of the southeast.

A river fish which can weigh up to 9lb, known for having many very sharp teeth. It is said to have a muddy flavour and is not easily available.

A long and toothy fish that has a head shaped like a large duck bill and is often mistaken for a muskellunge.

Best Cooking:

To scale, put pike in a bucket and pour boiling water over both sides. Then place it in the sink under cold running water. Grasp the fish firmly by the gills and scrape off scales with a fish scaler or small, dull knife. Using short strokes, work from the tail to the head.

To remove the head, cut the flesh on both sides with a knife. If the fish is small, slice directly through the spine. For a larger fish, place the knife between vertebrae and tap the back of the knife with a hammer. Cut off the tail with a sharp knife.

The secret to successful pike cookery is do not overcook. Whichever of the following cooking methods you choose, your pike will be cooked when its flesh becomes opaque yet is still moist all the way through.

Pike is excellent for baking, grilling, broiling, deep frying, poaching, and steaming.

Buying Tips:

Quality pike is easy to recognize. Fresh pike never smells fishy, and the eyes should appear bright and clear, almost alive. The gills should be clean, and the skin moist and with tightly adhering, shiny silver scales. Fresh pike flesh will give slightly when you press it with a finger, then spring back into shape.

When choosing pike steaks or fillets, whether they’re fresh or previously frozen, look for moist, translucent (never dried out) flesh. Keep pike cool on the trip from the market to your house. Never let it stay unrefrigerated for long.

To store pike, remove packaging, rinse fish under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Fish deteriorates when it sits in its own juices, so place it on a cake rack in a shallow pan filled with crushed ice. Cover with cling wrap or foil and set in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Pike will store well this way for up to two days.

Frozen pike will keep two months in a refrigerator freezer compartment and three to four months in a deep-freeze. Use lined freezer paper and wrap fish tightly from head to tail with at least two layers of paper. You can thaw the fish or cook fillets without defrosting. To thaw slowly, unwrap, place fish in pan, cover, and leave for 24 hours in the refrigerator. To thaw more quickly, place the whole fish (in a waterproof bag) in a sink with cool running water, allowing about 30 minutes per pound (450g). For fastest thawing, use the defrost cycle of your microwave, allowing two to five minutes per pound, with equal standing time in between zaps.

Nutrition Value:

Pike (cooked, dry heat), 1/2 fillet (5.5 oz / 155.65g)
Calories: 175
Protein: 38g
Carbohydrate: 0.0g
Total Fat: 1.4g
Fiber: 0.0g
Excellent source* of: Niacin (4.3mg)
Good source* of: Calcium (113mg), Magnesium (62mg), and Potassium (513mg)

When cooked (dry heat), Northern pike provide 0.164 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, derived from EPA** (0.042g), DHA*** (0.095g), and AL A**** (0.027g), per 100 grams of Northern pike.

* Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
**EPA - Eicosapentaenoic Acid
***DHA - Docosahexaenoic Acid
****ALA - Alpha Lipoic Acid

Substitutes for Pike:

Freshwater fish, such as trout or whitefish.

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