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Florida Fish Species

Alligator Gar
American Eel
American Shad
Atlantic Croaker
Atlantic Sharpnose Shark
Black Bullhead
Black Crappie
Black Drum
Blue Catfish
Blue Tilapia
Brown Bullhead
Brown Hoplo
Chain Pickerel
Channel Catfish
Clown Knifefish
Common Carp
Flathead Catfish
Florida Gar
Gizzard Shad
Golden Shiner
Grass Carp
Green Sunfish
Hybrid Striped Bass(wiper/palmetto)
Inland Silverside
Lake Chubsucker
Largemouth Bass
Longnose Gar
Longnose Sucker
Mayan Cichlid
Mozambique Tilapia
Peacock Bass
Red Drum
Redbreast Sunfish
Redear Sunfish
Redfin Pickerel
Redspotted Sunfish
Shoal Bass
Spotted Bass
Spotted Sunfish
Spotted Tilapia
Striped Bass
Striped Mullet
Suckermouth Catfish
Sunfish (Bream)
Suwannee Bass
Threadfin Shad
White Bass
White Catfish
Yellow Bullhead

Lakes with Chain Pickerel on FishExplorer
Rivers with Chain Pickerel on FishExplorer
Chain Pickerel
Chain pickerel are members of the pike family.  They are found along the Atlantic coast from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia south to Florida. The Mississippi River drainage from the Gulf Coast as far north as Illinois and Indiana, and the Gulf drainages as far west as the Sabine and Red rivers in Texas are also home for pickerel. Weed beds, sunken stumps, and logs in natural lakes, ponds, and manmade impoundments, along with sluggish parts of clear streams are ideal habitat.
Chain pickerel have a distinctive chain-like pattern along its side.  Coloration is a dark green/brownish back, fading to green on the sides and a cream underside. Cheeks and gill covers are fully scaled, with few, if any scales on the top of the head.  Bodies are long and torpedo shaped. Pickerel seldom exceed a couple feet and a few pounds. The world record is over nine pounds.
Once the water temperature nears 50 degrees Fahrenheit Chain Pickerel spawn over submerged vegetation or structure. Females up to 50,000 eggs in adhesive ribbon-like mass that attach to the vegetation.  No parental care is given. Once hatched, fry attach themselves to vegetation while they absorb the yolk sac.
Young pickerel feed primarily on aquatic insects and crustaceans.  As size increases, fish become the mainstay of their diet. Chain pickerel are solitary predators. As sight feeders they are most active during the day.

Chain Pickerel in Florida

Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Appearance: Chain pickerel are deep olive-green on the back, shading to a creamy yellow on the belly, with the back and anal fin about the same size and located far back on an elongated body. A distinct black chain-like or interwoven marking on the sides give them their name.
Habitat:  Found statewide, normally in vegetated lakes, swamps and backwaters of small to large rivers.
Behavior:  Spawning occurs in late winter to spring among heavy aquatic weed growth or flooded grasses, in water from a few inches deep to several feet deep. Large number of adhesive eggs are scattered over vegetation.
State Record:  5.75 lbs. Big Catch: 27 inches or 4 lbs.
Fishing Tips and Facts:  Chain pickerel are often encountered by bass anglers, especially while plug casting. They are good fighters, especially on light tackle. Productive lures include spinnerbaits, weedless spoons, surface plugs, crankbaits and jigs. Minnows are a reliable year-round bait. The white, flaky meat is good tasting, but quite bony.
Most Recent Chain Pickerel Forum Posts
Chain pickerel 08.18.15 by Matt
Chain Pickerel Articles, Blogs, & Podcasts
Blog: Boomerang Tool Co. Grip 11.07.12 by Joshua Christensen
Blog: 4 Apps Every Angler With A Smartphone Should Use 02.09.12 by Joshua Christensen
Blog: Clouser Pattern Detailed - New Article 12.16.11 by Matt Snider
Blog: Become a pro 09.30.11 by Joshua Christensen
Blog: Launches California 09.27.11 by Matt Snider
Blog: California now on 09.23.11 by Matt Snider
Blog: California 09.23.11 by Matt Snider
Blog: Welcome to California 09.23.11 by Joshua Christensen
Recent Florida Chain Pickerel Photos by Fish Explorer Members
by Fishing Bob - open wide... by Fishing Bob - 25 1/2 inches long  3 1/2 pounds.