Pickerels are small freshwater fish that can be divided into three distinct species: the Chain Pickerel, the Grass Pickerel, and the Redfin Pickerel. The Chain Pickerel is the most common of the three species. They are all little members of the pike family from the United States. Pickerels are structurally and morphologically similar to one another. These fish are also known by a variety of other names, including gun fish, grass pike, federation pickerel, jackfish, and Eastern pickerel, among many more.
The name of the fish is derived from the Latin word “Niger,” which means “black,” and refers to the fact that their predominate color is, as you might have guessed previously, black.
The Redfin Pickerel is distinguished by vertical lines and pale orange-red fins, whereas the Chain Pickerel is olive-gray with yellow-green spots and is splotched with white. Something to note is that the grass pickerel has been listed as an endangered species since 2008, and it is a sub-species of the Redfin Pickerel, which is also listed as an endangered species.
Pickerel can be found along the coasts of the southern and eastern United States, as well as in lakes such as Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes, among other places. The fish is normally 24 inches in length and weighs 3 pounds, depending on the size.
Pickerels begin to reproduce in the early spring. The ladies deposit their eggs in shallow water on the weeds that grow in the rivers, and the males eat the eggs. Pickerels are born and eat on zooplankton until they reach an adult size and are able to feed on larger prey items such as fish.
Because these are little fish, they spend the majority of their time feeding on the bottoms of lakes or rivers. Pickerel will eat almost anything that comes their way, starting with small fish and progressing to snails, larvae, and caddis larvae.
Pickerels of various sizes prey on newts, frogs, and even tiny rodents, depending on their size. Due to the fact that these fish cannot manage larger prey, the Grass Pickerel, which is their closest relative, mainly consumes insects.
As a precaution against becoming prey for larger Pickerels, the smaller ones prefer to reside in waters where they are unlikely to encounter their larger relatives and become prey.
Pickerels can be considered predators because they prey on smaller fish as well as larger ones. The Northern Pike is one of the Pickerel’s favorite dishes to eat. Pickerels grow in size until they are able to compete with larger fish.
Hunters use their sharp, deep teeth to secure their prey as they lunge at them from cover to secure their prey.
Pickerels are known for jumping out of the water to catch flying insects, despite the fact that the water is their playground.
Due to the fact that this species is also edible, bass lures with a plastic worm attached to the hook can be used to catch them.
It is worth noting that the Chain Pickerel can get aggressive when hooked, so it is recommended that you wear fishing gloves when fishing with them. Pickerel fishing can be accomplished with a bass fishing rod if you so choose.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.