Chain Pickerel

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FISH PROFILE

COMMON NAME

Chain Pickerel

Scientific name

Esox niger

FAMILY

Esocidae (pike and muskie) family

LENGTH

2-3 feet

DIET

Fish, crayfish, frogs, mice, and salamanders.

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FISH PROFILE

COMMON NAME

Chain Pickeral

Scientific name

Esox niger

FAMILY

Esocidae (pike and muskie) family

LENGTH

2-3 feet

DIET

Fish, crayfish, frogs, mice, and salamanders.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

Chain pickerel are long slender fish with elongated spots that form a chain-like pattern along their green/bronze sides. They will also have a dark stripe downward through the eye. Juveniles will have a stripe along the body as opposed to the adult pattern. At first glance the elongated body might resemble a gar or needlefish, but the beautiful pattern and duck-billed face are unique.

RANGE, HABITAT, AND BEHAVIOR

Chain pickerel are found along the Gulf and East coasts of North America and throughout Florida. They prefer warmer waters (~70°F) less than 10 feet deep that are typically clear and contain weeds. As ambush hunters, pickerel will likely be found alone rather than in groups, hiding motionless in the weedy vegetation, waiting for prey such as fish, frogs, and crayfish.

FUN FACTS

Chain pickerel are also known as “jack” or “jackfish” and are ambush feeders. The world record for the largest chain pickerel is a 9-pound 6-ounce fish that was caught in Mill Pond, Georgia in February 1961!

FISH GALLERY

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