It remains unknown why the pike has so many names in the countries or regions where it is found: broc, bec, bec-de-canard, gros bec, béquet, brocheton, brochette, brouché, buché, filaton, flute, goulu, grand-bec, grand-gousier, lanceron, lançon, luceau, pognan, pogneau, poignard, sifflet, gobe fish, fusil, freshwater or river shark, among others.
But in many countries, including France, the pike is endangered as a result of water pollution, containment of certain watercourses in concrete channels, and the increasingly common destruction of breeding sites. Female pikes lay their eggs between February and April in reed beds along the banks.
In the Dombes area of France, there are farms that serve to restock rivers and streams.
The flesh of very large pike is less flavorsome than that of smaller ones.
River pike is always preferable; pike from ponds or lakes risk having a muddy flavor. Pike from the Loire in France are the most prized.
In the Dombes area, pike are farmed in ponds to produce young pike weighing 300–700 g.
As with all fish, pike should have bright eyes, and should be shiny with firm flesh.
Pike can be found fresh, but also as steaks or as boned and frozen fillets.
The whole pike is scaled, cleaned, and washed. They are then filleted and boned carefully.
They can be soaked for an hour in vinegar and water to remove any muddiness from the flavor.
Young pike from 500–700 g can be broiled or fried.
Pike quenelles are a typical dish in Lyonnais cuisine.
Pike is traditionally poached and served with beurre blanc. It is also cooked in red wine, champagne, with cream, or with a red wine and onion sauce. It can be stuffed, made into mousseline, or form part of a terrine.
Whole pike can be kept in the refrigerator or cool room for 24–48 hours at 4ºC after being cleaned.
Frozen steaks and fillets should be kept in the freezer without breaking the cold chain.
Pike is particularly low in fat. It is rich in proteins, minerals, and B group vitamins.