Chain Pickerel eat primarily fish, but they are opportunistic feeders. This means frogs, salamanders, mice, and even other Chain Pickerel are on the menu. Some fishermen blame Chain Pickerel for eating fish like trout or bass, but they usually prefer to eat small minnows.
Inline spinners, spoons, jerkbaits, and live minnows are all good lures for Chain Pickerel. They will quickly swim out of their hiding spot to ambush your lure. Then, they use their speed and strength to try to escape. Some Chain Pickerel will even jump when hooked. They hit hard and swim very fast, making them fun to catch.
As the water begins to cool in fall, these already aggressive fish become more aggressive as winter draws near. In winter, Chain Pickerel can still be caught through the ice. Early in spring, they’re tough to find. Spawning becomes their main focus. Once summer begins and aquatic vegetation starts to cover ponds and lakes, Chain Pickerel are back to hunting prey.
Even though Chain Pickerel do not have the size of some other pike, they’re still fun to catch. Chain Pickerel are more abundant than Northern Pike or Muskies, but some people have never heard of them. Next time you want to go pike fishing consider the other pike.