Pike are physically capable of breeding at an age of about two years, spawning in spring when the water temperature first reaches about 9 °C (48 °F). They have a tendency to lay a large number of eggs. A likely explanation for such actions are to produce as many surviving offspring as possible, as many most likely die early in life. In females, the gonads enlarge when it is time to shed her eggs. However, after they are shed, these eggs will not hatch if the water is below 6 °C (43 °F). Male pike arrive to the breeding grounds before females do, preceding them by a few weeks. In addition, the males stay after the spawning is finished. Parental stock is vital for pike success. Egg survival has been shown to be positively correlated with number of eggs laid. For breeding, the more stable the water, the greater the fitness of the pike. Mortality results from toxic concentrations of iron or rapid temperature changes, and adult abundance and the strength of the resulting year classes are not related. It is based upon two points of development: one during embryo stage between fertilization and closure of the blastopore, and the second between hatching and the termination of the alevin stage.
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