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If you’re curious about when pike spawning takes place in the UK, you’ve come to the right source. The short answer is that pike typically enter their spawning season in the early spring months, with some beginning as early as March and others extending their spawning activities into April.
However, the peak of pike spawning in the UK generally occurs from late March through early April, aligning with the optimal water temperature conditions. If you are looking to understand the intricacies of pike spawning, we will delve into every aspect in this article. When it happens, how it happens and what you can expect to see if you happen to be fishing for pike as they begin spawning.
Below we explain everything you need to know about pike spawning behaviour.
Recognising Pike Spawn Season
Determining whether pike are in the midst of their spawning season is vital for responsible angling and conservation efforts.
Nobody should be fishing for pike whilst they spawn. For starters, your chances of catching will be minimal as they will have other things on their mind. Secondly, it only makes sense for us to let them get on with it, as a successful spawning season will only improve fishing for us in the future.
Here are some key signs to look out for:
Pike being aggressive in shallow water
Male pike, in particular, can become extremely aggressive during spawning as they compete for access to females. You might witness intense chases, biting, and nipping among pike as they vie for dominance and the opportunity to mate.
More often than not, you’ll see this behaviour in the shallower water near to their preferred spawning areas. This is a key indicator that the spawn season is underway.
Pike will often head to the shallower areas of the lake where weed is present, as this provides adequate cover for their eggs.
Female pike become visibly swollen due to the presence of eggs in their ovaries. This typically happens right ahead of spawning.
In such cases, where fishing is still viable, you may be lucky enough to catch a pike which is close to spawning at its biggest weight.
With pike being generally quite lean fish, you can easily see a female pike that is ready to spawn. Its body will have taken on a rounder, bulging appearance as it prepares to release its eggs.
Male pike with cuts after spawning
Spawning is an intensive exercise for all fish, not just pike.
However, the male fish take the brunt of it, as they battle it out to mate. Competing with other males often results in injuries, inflicted by the other fish or simply by their surroundings.
If you’ve ever witnessed pike spawning, you’ll see how they often disregard what’s around them, smashing off reeds, shallow/rocky margins and anything else that gets in their way!
Injuries are very common and post-spawning you’ll often catch male fish with marks and lacerations across their flanks.
When Exactly Do Pike Spawn?
In the UK, pike spawning is influenced by local conditions, leading to some variation in timing between venues. However, there are key patterns to note:
Pike spawning typically commences in early spring, usually around March, coinciding with the gradual rise in water temperatures that we get during this time of year. Around this time, you will start to spot some of the signs we’ve already outlined above, such as pike chasing each other and becoming more aggressive.
The peak of the spawning season falls within the spring months, from late March to early April, after we’ve had prolonged periods of warmer weather. It is during this time that water temperatures reach their optimal range, prompting female pike to release their eggs while males fertilise them.
You’ve probably already guessed by now, but water temperature serves as the crucial determinant for pike spawning. When the water consistently reaches or exceeds 10°C (50°F), you can anticipate pike to be actively engaged in the spawning process. This temperature-dependent trigger is instrumental in synchronising the reproduction process.
How does pike spawning happen?
As the temperatures in the water begin to rise during the early spring months, you’ll see pike start to become more active, driven by the instinctual urge to mate with a female.
At this point, you will see Male pike engage in pursuit, chasing potential female mates through the shallows. Following the establishment of a suitable nesting site, female pike enter the crucial phase of egg laying. These nests are usually located in shallow, weedy areas within their chosen spawning grounds.
Female pike can release thousands of eggs during this process, which are strategically laid among aquatic vegetation which provides cover and shelter for the eggs.
Simultaneously, male pike contribute to the reproductive process by releasing their milt, which contains sperm, either during the egg-laying process or shortly thereafter.
How Much Weight Do Pike Lose After Spawning?
After spawning, female pike experience a noticeable weight loss.
This weight loss is primarily due to the energy expended during the reproductive process and the consumption of stored fat reserves. Female pike may lose anywhere from 10% to 30% of their body weight, depending on factors such as the number of eggs laid and environmental conditions.
Conclusion – Pike Spawning In The UK
In conclusion, understanding pike spawning seasons and the associated behaviours and timings is crucial for anglers and those interested in pike conservation.
By recognising these patterns and respecting the spawn season, we can ensure the continued health and sustainability of pike populations in the UK’s freshwater ecosystems.