Pike spawn from the end of March to the beginning of May, usually in quite shallow water and often using the same places year after year. The spawning process can last several weeks and the number of eggs varies with the age and size of the female. A large fish may produce as many as half a million eggs. The eggs are sticky and adhere to plants, the young pike hatching after 10 to 15 days. At this stage they have no proper mouthparts and remain attached to the plants until the yoke sac is consumed. Once the young fish become free-swimming, they feed mainly on small organisms, but once they reach a length of five centimetres, they begin preying on other fish larvae and tadpoles. Once they have survived these early stages, pike grow fast, sometimes reaching a weight of one kilogram in the space of three years. Males mature at the age of two, females at four years.
Pike catch their food largely by stealth and lightning-fast acceleration, taking their prey unawares. A large adult pike will eat roach, rudd, dace and perch, trout and salmon, and even other members of their own species. They will also take frogs, newts, crayfish and they have been known to catch ducklings and small mammals.