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Illustration of a Northern Pike

Northern Pike

North Dakota Game Species

Pike Family: There are two members of the pike family in North Dakota, the northern pike and muskellunge.

Northern Pike Identification

  • Long body and long snout with large teeth
  • Dorsal fin is located far back on the body
  • Horizontal body spots
  • Never have more than five pores on each side of the lower jaw
  • Scales covering their entire cheek


The northern pike was named North Dakota’s state fish in 1969.

Pike feed on a wide variety of foods including other fish, aquatic insects, salamanders, frogs and even baby ducks.

Pike often get a bad rap, because of their protective slime coating. They are excellent fighters and one of North Dakota’s best-tasting fish.

In North Dakota, pike can reach lengths over 40 inches and live into their teens.