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The Other Pike

Jacob D.

This weeks blog post was written by Jacob D., a Brookies alumni! He writes about a pike fish many don’t consider when fishing. 

Many fishermen target Northern Pike and Muskellunge, but few ever go after Chain Pickerel. Chain Pickerel get their name from the chain-like markings on their sides. They’re larger than Grass and Redfin Pickerel, but smaller than Northern Pike and Muskies. They average about 15 inches, but they’re known to grow over 30 inches in length and weigh over 8 pounds. Chain Pickerel may not be the biggest pike, but they’re every bit as aggressive.
Chain Pickerel live in many different bodies of water. They can be found in small ponds, sluggish streams, beaver dams, lakes, and man made dams. They’re native to central and eastern Pennsylvania as well as most of the eastern United States from Maine to Florida. They hide in thick cover like lily pads and fallen trees and wait to ambush their prey.
This Chain Pickerel took an inline spinner
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.
This fish is tired after a strong fight