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NATURAL HISTORY, TORONTO REGION

 

of two feet and a weight of eight pounds, but those I have seen were never more than half that size. As a food fish it is not generally appreciated, for its flesh seems to have absorbed too strong a flavour of the weeds among which it lives.

32. Common Pike. Northern Pike. Lucius lucius (Linnaeus).—Common and generally distributed in all waters where there are sufficient weeds to afford it shelter. The Pike is one of the most voracious of our fishes, feeding upon any form of animal life which it is able to overpower. Under favourable circumstances it attains a large size, but in Toronto waters it is so constantly pursued that it does not get a chance to attain its full dimensions, and Pike of over ten pounds weight are becoming very rare. Spawning takes place in early spring, as soon as the ice breaks up ; the fish running up on to rush beds or grassy shallows for that purpose. The females are very prolific; one weighing thirty-two pounds was estimated by the late Professor Buckland to contain 595,000 ova. Many anglers profess to look upon the Pike with contempt, and treat its claim to be considered a game fish with derision. This is because it is usually taken by them in the summer months, when it is not in good condition. It is then soft in flesh and weedy in flavour; but in the autumn, after the weeds have died down, it is a different fish; then its flesh is firm and good, and its fighting powers will tax the angler's skill to the utmost.

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