Game Fishing > Pike Family, Esocidae > Western Pickerel

Western Pickerel


Western PickerelThe western pickerel was first described by Le Sueur from the Wabash River. He named it vermiculatus, owing to the "wormlike" appearance of its markings. He collected it about 1818, but his description was not published until 1846. It inhabits the Mississippi Valley, south to Arkansas and Mississippi, and the tributaries of Lakes Erie and Michigan. It is not found east of the Alleghanies.

It is formed on the same general lines as the other members of the pike family, but is rather more slender and rounder, with a shorter head, proportionally, but a larger eye. Its color is olive-green, or grayish green, darker on the back, and belly white. The sides are covered with many dark curved streaks, inextricably mixed, or forming reticulations. The coloration is quite variable in different waters. A dark vertical bar is usually present below the eye; the sides of the head are variegated.

It is common in the grassy streams of the Middle West and weedy bayous of the South­west, never exceeding a foot in length.

Someone once sent me a plaster cast of one not more than eight inches in length, with the ovaries exposed, showing the ripe ova. It is not of much importance as a game-fish or as a food-fish. It spawns in early spring, and feeds on small fish, frogs, and tadpoles.

It may be fished, for in the same way, and with the same tackle as recommended for crappies.