The northern pike (Esox lucius) is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox. They are typical of brackish and fresh waters of the Northern Hemisphere (i.e. holarctic in distribution). They are known simply as a pike in Britain, Ireland, and most of Eastern Europe, Canada and the United States. Nicknamed the waterwolf, a well deserved label, because they have an overzealous appetite and have been known to eat other fish over half their own size as well as small ducks and anything swimming on the surface that they can fit in their mouths.
Pike are found in sluggish streams and shallow, weedy places in lakes and reservoirs, as well as in cold, clear, rocky waters. They are typical ambush predators; they lie in wait for prey, holding perfectly still for long periods, and then exhibit remarkable acceleration as they strike. They inhabit any water body that contains fish, but suitable places for spawning are also essential. Because of their cannibalistic nature, young pike need places where they can take shelter between plants so they are not eaten. In both cases, rich submerged vegetation is needed. They are often overlooked as a target fly fishing species, but with explosive takes often on top water flies and a few good runs, any angler will come to appreciate these toothy apex predators.