A Yellowknife angler had the surprise of a lifetime when he hooked and landed a neon pike. The mystery of the ‘fish chameleon’ appears to have now been solved.
The day on the water started out as most do for Randy Straker and a friend. But as they began to pack up and leave late that afternoon, Randy hooked into a fish that was about to make big news.
The pair were working the North Arm of Great Slave Lake – the tenth-largest lake in the world – when Randy brought the 14-pound pike boat side. To say they were surprised is an understatement.
Not only was the body of the pike lighter in color than normal, its fins and back were a defined green. But, what was most shocking were the lips and mouth. They were colored a brilliant hue of fluorescent blue and green, and looked as though it was applied like lipstick.
Both anglers were left scratching their heads.
The fish was released to fight another day after Straker’s friend Craig Thomas snapped some pics.
Fishery experts have weighed in on the unusual neon pike and the mystery appears to have been solved.
Jeff Goudreau, a Fish and Wildlife technician and Great Slave Lake guide, says it all comes down to cells called chromatophores. These cells enable fish to change color when they are frightened, excited while hunting, or to blend in with their habitat. It is the latter that he believes the reason for the coloring in this case.
A pike expert from England, Neville Fickling, agrees with Goudreau’s assessment.
The narrow arm where this fish came out of is algae-rich and relatively shallow water, which attributed to the color change.
Talk about a fish tale! But, as with most far-fetched fables fishermen tell, these two lucky fellas have the pics to prove it happened.