Like other pikes, this fish has a duckbill-shaped snout, large mouth with many sharp teeth and a single dorsal fin, which is similar in shape and size to the anal fin, and both are positioned far back, near the forked tail fin. Northern pike is distinguished in having the cheek fully scaled but the gill covered scaled only on the upper half, and in having a row of 5 sensory pores along each side of the lower jaw. The overall color pattern consists of light spots against a darker background. The upper parts are green or blue-gray, with numerous roundish yellow spots on the sides. There is no dusky bar beneath the eye. The fins, except the pectorals, are often marked by roundish black spots.