Game Fishing > Pike Family, Esocidae > Banded Pickerel

Banded Pickerel

Banded PickerelThe banded pickerel, Long Island pickerel, or brook pickerel, as it is variously known, was one of the first of its family to be recognized. It was described by Gmelin, in 1788, from Long Island, New York. He named it americanus, or "American pike," as a variety of the European Esox luczus.

It is found only east of the Alleghanies in coastwise streams from Massachusetts to Florida. It is almost a duplicate of the little western pickerel in its general form, and represents that species in eastern waters.

The characteristics of fin rays, scales, and squamation of cheeks and gill-covers apply equally to both species. The ground color is dark green; belly white; sides with about twenty distinct, blackish, curved, vertical bars, often obscurely marked, but not distinctly reticulated. There is a black vertical bar below the eye, and a horizontal band extending from the snout, through the eye, to the gillĀ­cover. The lower fins are often quite red.

I have collected it on the east coast of Florida of a beautiful emerald-green coloration, without distinct dark markings, and with orange-colored lower fins a most beautiful fish. Although an interesting little fish, it is of no importance to anglers and is merely mentioned here, with the little western pickerel, to enable the reader to identify the different members of the pike family.

It spawns early in the spring. It seldom grows beyond a foot in length, and is usually much smaller. Fishing for it is on the same plane with sunfishing, and the lightest tackle should be employed.