Chain Pickerel

Chain Pickerel is a type of Pike that looks like a small Muskellunge. Fishing techniques that include jerking the bait to make it look like injured prey are most effective for catching Chain Pickerel. The best bait for fishing Chain Pickerel include live minnows, topwater lures, spinner baits, plugs and flies.

Chain Pickerel

Region: Northeast, South
Habitat: Lake, Pond

How to identify Chain Pickerel

Chain pickerels have markings that make it easy to identify from other fish of the same species, which all look similar. Young chain pickerels are black, but as they get older, they develop yellow-green sides with a distinct chain-like, black markings. Redfin and grass pickerels have scaly gill covers and cheeks. Northern pikes and muskellunge lack scaling on the lower portion of their gill covers.

Where to catch Chain Pickerel

These fish are present throughout the eastern coasts of the U.S. and Canada. The areas in the U.S. where they can be found include eastern Texas/Arkansas, southeastern Missouri, west Tennessee, southwestern Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, both Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, eastern Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, most of New England, and Nova Scotia, Canada. Chain Pickerel are found in the warmer, slow moving waters of vegetative lakes and swamps and can tolerate water with high acidity.

Chain pickerels are often found in swamps and lakes with thick vegetation. They prefer warm, calm waters and can tolerate high acidity.

Range: Northeast, South
Chain Pickerel Fishing Map

The following are habitats where you can catch Chain Pickerel:

How to catch Chain Pickerel

Anglers enjoy fishing for chain pickerels because these fish are known to put up a good fight. A good method for catching them is to use the “figure 8” technique with a flashy bait. For this technique, anglers throw out the bait, making light curves that alternate between moving close to and away from the boat. Techniques that work for bass, such as jerking the bait, also work well for the chain pickerel.

Chain pickerels generally only weigh about 2-3 pounds, but due to their strength and sharp teeth, a 12-17 steel test line is recommended.

The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Chain Pickerel:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Chain Pickerel

Live bait, like minnows, work well for catching chain pickerel. Lures that work well include spinnerbaits, plugs, flies, and topwater lures.

The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Chain Pickerel: