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When do pike shed their teeth?

Anglers working the Lake Ontario shoreline and weed edges of many area inland bays, lakes and ponds saw some super sizes and nice numbers of northern pike this past spring season.

Each year, as waters warm and weed growth thickens, the pike bite seems to drop off by mid-summer and improve somewhat in the fall season.

Up-to-date, scientific-based information on this biting trend is always helpful. A seven-page Institute for Fisheries Research "When Do Pike Shed Their Teeth" report from Ann Arbor, Mich. offers some interesting insights on this question.

Researchers Milton B. Trautman and Carl L. Hubbs responded to numerous "fish stories" - recounted in a Frank Buckland report some 55 years earlier and put together some interesting data on tooth growth and seasonal production for fish in the esox (pike) family.

Tabulating tooth growth of 188 northern pike (esox lucius), Trautman and Hubbs put to the test the sore-gum theory for these fish during the late-summer period of the season.

Their findings showed no measurable loss of teeth during this period and no indication of gum weakness.

They report: "It is evident from the data summarized; that the northern pike shows no seasonal variation of importance in the number of teeth in service or in the number being replaced. We therefore find no confirmation for the popular idea that the pike shed their teeth exclusively or chiefly in late summer."

The report concludes: "The failure to catch pike, muskellunge and pickerel in large numbers in summer may be due to the especial abundance of availability of natural food in summer, or to the retirement of these cold-water fish to deeper water at that season, or to sluggishness induced by the warm water."

There you have it.


What is more stunning about these findings is when they were first done: This Trautman-Hubbs report, recently republished, was originally written back in 1935.?