Chain Pickerel Size, Diet, Bait | Chain Pickerel vs Pike

It is a long, torpedo-shaped fish with a big mouth loaded with needle-like teeth that can be found in the Pacific Ocean. The broad dorsal and anal fins, which are located close to the tail, are an adaptation to the fish's ability to accelerate quickly. Adults are distinguished by a distinctive pattern of dark chain-like markings on a dark green to the yellowish-green backdrop. 

Generally, a black bar continues straight down or slightly forward from beneath the eye, toward the lower jaw. The dark band beneath the eye of the redfin pickerel is similar, but it extends back toward the tail. Chain pickerel can be differentiated from northern pike by its entirely scaled operculum (the hard bony flap protecting the gills), whereas northern pike's operculum is scaleless on the bottom half.

    Chain pickerel are found east of the Appalachian Mountains, from the St. Lawrence River to Florida. They can also be found in the Mississippi River drainage system in the south. Chain pickerel can be found across the state of New Hampshire.

    Chain Pickerel Size, Diet, Bait | Chain Pickerel vs Pike

    Chain pickerel are active and often easy to catch. Target places that are less than ten feet deep and have an abundance of aquatic plants. Pickerel can be caught with live bait, such as worms and minnows, or artificial lures. Lures like spinnerbaits and plastic worms are recommended. 

    Chain Pickerel  Size

    Chain pickerel are the pike family's smallest gamefish. They can live for ten years, grow to be three feet long, and weigh approximately 7 lb or more.

    Chain Pickerel Diet

    Pickerel are primarily active throughout the day and are sight-oriented predators. These predators are very opportunistic feeders, and they strike with extraordinary speed when they spot unsuspecting prey swimming nearby. The pickerel's primary diet comprises small fish, crayfish, frogs, mice, newts, and insects, among other things. 

    Chain Pickerel Bait

    Weedless fishing spoons and spinnerbaits with pork or plastic dressings work well as well. Soft plastic jerk baits are fantastic for fooling pickerel, even though the fish prefer to chew them up a little. While moderate to quick retrieval is usually successful, there are situations when slowing down is necessary.

    Live shiners of all sizes are popular with pickerel, but 4- to 5-inch baits are particularly appealing to larger individuals. They are attracted to Arkansas shiners, pond (golden) shiners, emerald shiners, chubs, and sucker minnows.

    Northern pike vs. Chain pickerel

    Northern pike can reach considerably greater lengths than pickerel. Pickerel have a dark chain-like pattern on their sides, whereas pike has numerous little, light bar-like markings all over their flanks, so body colors, as well as dot and bar patterns, are other reliable ways of distinguishing these two species.

    While northern pike (Esox lucius) and chain pickerel (Esox niger) are technically distinct species of fish, they are closely linked due to their membership in the larger pike family Esocidae and the same genus type Esox.

    As such, they have some characteristics that make them relatively difficult to distinguish apart. The body shape of the pickerel is strikingly similar to that of the northern pike, and so the fish is often assumed to be a young pike.

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