Latin name

Esox niger

Other names

Jack, pike, eastern pickerel, eastern chain pickerel, lake pickerel, reticulated pickerel, federation pickerel, mud pickerel, green pike, grass pike, black chain pike, duck-billed pike, river pike, picquerelle, water wolf.


With its long, slender body, chain pickerel resembles northern pike and muskellunge, especially when young. It gets its name from its coloration, which is a net or chain pattern of black lines that cover its golden yellow or greenish flanks. The small bright oval spots on the sides of the pike are similar to the very large bright oval spots on the zander, but can be distinguished by the darker background behind the pattern on the pike. Also, the spots on the pike are never large in relation to the background, while the lighter areas dominate on the zander. Pike perch have their cheeks and gill covers completely covered with scales. This distinguishes it from northern pike, which usually has no scales on the lower half of the gill cover, and from muskellunge, which usually has no scales on either the lower half of the gill cover or the cheek. It has only one dorsal fin, which is very far back on the body near the tail appendage. There is a dark vertical band under each eye, and the snout is shaped like a duck's beak. The lower jaw has a row of four sensory pores on each side, and the mouth is full of needle-like teeth.


This species is distributed along the Atlantic slope of North America from Nova Scotia to southern Florida, as well as along the Gulf Coast west to the Lake Sabine drainage in Louisiana and from the Mississippi River basin north to southwestern Kentucky and southeastern Missouri. Chain pickerel have been introduced into Lakes Ontario and Erie as well as other places. Their main numbers are noted in the mid-Atlantic states to the north, as well as Florida and Georgia.


Chain pickerel inhabit the shallow, vegetated waters of lakes, marshes, streams, ponds, swamps, tidal and non-tidal rivers, backwaters, and quiet pools of streams and small and medium-sized rivers, as well as the bays and coves of large lakes and reservoirs. Solitary fish prefer water temperatures of 75º to 80ºF and are sometimes found in low salinity estuaries, although they can tolerate a wide range of salinities. In winter, they move to deeper waters and continue to feed actively. The habitat preferred by Chinook salmon is similar to that of largemouth bass, especially with respect to vegetation and abundant cover. Their primary habitats are lilies and various types of weeds, and they are sometimes found near objects such as stumps, docks, and downed trees. The best populations of pickerel are always found in reservoirs with abundant vegetation, usually near the shore.


Сhain pickerel can exceed 30 inches in length and 9 pounds in weight, although the average fish is less than 2 feet long and weighs less than 2 pounds. In some waters it can be even smaller. The world record for any tackle is believed to be a 9-pound, 6-ounce fish caught in Georgia in 1961. The maximum age is about 10 years, although the average is about 4 years. Females grow larger and live longer than males.

Life history and Behavior

No information

Food and feeding habits

No information


No information

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Esociformes
Family Esocidae
Genus Esox
Species E. niger
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years 10
Maximum body weight, kg 1.5
Maximum length, cm 78.7
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

Write a comment

Note: HTML is not translated!
    Bad           Good

Pickerel, Chain

Tags: Pickerel, Chain