Blue Pike fish identification, its habitats, characteristics, fishing methods.
A former member of this group, the extinct blue pike, was a subspecies of the
Walleye. Once abundant in Lake Erie, blue pike supported important commercial and recreational fisheries. Although similar to walleye, blue pike could be distinguished by the lack of yellow skin pigment and larger eyes. In addition, blue pike frequented deeper offshore areas and had different spawning habits than walleye.
A combination of understanding the fish and the techniques used to catch them will help you to hook more fish to the end of your line. Better knowing and understanding of the fish that you are trying to catch will make you a more successful angler, whether you are fishing for trout on a river or surfing on the beach or trolling on the open water.
The Blue Pike or Blue walleye - Sander vitreus glaucus, was a subspecies of the walleye that went extinct in the Great Lakes in the 1980s. Today, although scarce, blue walleye can be caught in Canada. Blue walleye of Canada are genetically different than the extinct "blue pike" of Lake Erie. They are albino for yellow color and have blue color in the mucous of their skin. The blue color forms on the dorsal (upper) part of the body and is particularly noticeable in the two dorsal fins and the upper part of the tail.
The blue pike was once an important part of the ecosystem of Lake Erie and a significant catch for the commercial fishing industry. One of the few fish in Lake Erie to spawn in deep water, the blue pike preferred the clearer portion of the lake (primarily the eastern two-thirds) and chose deeper, colder water than the
Walleye. It was quite successful, providing an annual commercial catch that often exceeded 20 million pounds (an estimated $150 million today).
This fish is a full-fledged member of the pike family (Esocidae) also known as Blue walleye. It feeds like a pike, fights like a pike and looks like a pike except for one striking difference – it has no body spotting, but exhibits beautiful iridescent blue-silver flanks.
Differences between blue pike and walleye include the larger eye of the blue pike and their bluish-gray back, fading into bluish-silver on their sides. Another name for the blue pike is the blue walleye. The blue pike was an endemic fish of the Great Lakes region in the United States and Canada. It was once commonly found in the waters of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the Niagara River.
The blue pike is a subspecies of the walleye and can be easily identified by its overall grayish-blue cast and the absence of dark markings on the back and sides. Its eyes are larger than the walleye or sauger and the pelvic fins are bluish white.
Blue pike had similar spawning activity of the walleye. They did not build nests, but were free spawners during April and May. Adults reached an average body length of nine to sixteen inches and weighed five ounces to one and a half pounds. They were carnivorous, eating mainly fish but also aquatic insects.
The blue pike was very similar to the walleye in appearance. They had larger eyes and a smaller maximum size. Their over all body color was more silvery blue compared to that of the walleye. They had no yellow or brassy coloration to their body, and the fins were also blue or silvery in color.
Blue pike have similar characteristics as the walleye but are smaller only getting to a size of 1/2 to 1 pound in weight and about 10-12 inches in length. Color - slate-blue to steel-blue on dorsal surface, ice blue to silvery on sides and white ventrally. Pelvic fins white or silver-blue; Maximum length - 20 inches; Orbital-interorbital proportion - 1.0-1.4
The blue pike preferred clear to slightly turbid waters. They occurred in greatest abundance over reefs, shoals of gravel, bedrock, and other firm bottoms. Blue pike habitat consisted of the clearer areas of Lake Erie, mainly in the eastern two-thirds of the lake. Bass Islands in the fall and winter Blue Pike were extremely important to the Lake Erie commercial fishing industry.
It preferred cool, clear waters, living in deep water in summer, and switching to nearshore waters as they cooled and became less murky in the winter. The blue pike inhabited the deeper and clearer waters of the eastern two thirds of Lake Erie. It was less common in the shallower waters of the western basin, especially in summer. The blue pike has not been seen since the mid to late 1960's and as a result is considered to have become extirpated from Lake Erie. Additionally since this fish has never been found outside of Lake Erie it is now considered to be Extinct.
The blue pike had a similar diet to the walleye. The young fed on plankton and insect larvae for most of the first year. Following that stage the young shifted to a diet of small fish. Adults fed mainly on shiners, shad, minnows, and rainbow smelt.
The blue pike presumably spawned on the reefs and other such rocky areas in the western basin of Lake Erie. No individuals were ever recorded from any Lake Erie tributary rivers so apparently their spawning was restricted to the lake itself. Walleyes spawn soon after ice-out when the water temperature is about 45°-50°F. Females move into the spawning area-a stream, shallow area, or shoal-where the males have already congregated. Usually, the spawning area is a location with 1 to 5 feet of clear water in some type of current. The female is attended by several males as they swim over the spawning area, simultaneously emitting eggs and milt as they go. Fertilized eggs fall among the gravel and rocks on the bottom which provide some protection. No parental care is given to either eggs or young.
Freshwater Fish Species
The Perch family species
Saltwater Fish Species