Pickerel is a common name used for several species of freshwater fish in North America, and it can sometimes lead to confusion due to its regional variations. Pickerel are part of the pike family, and they are known for their elongated bodies and sharp teeth. Here are some key points about pickerel fish:
Northern Pike (Esox lucius): In many parts of North America, especially in the northern United States and Canada, “pickerel” is often used to refer to the northern pike. Northern pike are large predatory fish that inhabit lakes, rivers, and other freshwater bodies. They have a long, slender body, greenish coloration, and distinctive markings. These fish are prized by anglers for their challenging fight and tasty flesh.
Chain Pickerel (Esox niger): In some regions, particularly in the eastern United States, “pickerel” can also refer to the chain pickerel. Chain pickerel are smaller than northern pike, typically reaching lengths of 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm). They have a chain-like pattern along their sides and are also popular targets for anglers.
Grass Pickerel (Esox americanus): Another species sometimes referred to as a pickerel is the grass pickerel. They are the smallest of the pike family and are found in the southeastern United States. Grass pickerel typically grow to about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) in length and are often caught by anglers using light tackle.
It’s important to note that the term “pickerel” can vary in meaning depending on the region, and it may refer to different fish species. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to clarify the specific species of pickerel when discussing these fish. Pickerel are often targeted by anglers for their sport and for their tasty white flesh, which is similar to that of other members of the pike family.