View Full Version : Chain Pickerel Taking Over?

07-29-2017, 07:11 PM
I have a 15 acre pond on my property and we have in the past had plenty of success catching black crappies, large mouth bass and panfish.

A couple of years ago we landed a chain pickerel, last year a few chains, this year its like every time we go out and they seem pretty large in the 16" - 22" range...... and we are catching fewer and fewer crappie and bass.

Chains have some nasty little teeth and huge mouths, it seems to me they are affecting the population of the other fish in the pond.

Anyone encountered something similar or have any thoughts on the chain pickerel in general?

07-29-2017, 07:58 PM
Had to look up the name. We call them jack down here in Mississippi. When I catch one I pull the gills and feed it to the eagles out in the lake. Jacks and gar are bad news on the fish population in my books. I have had the crappie bite to go south only to wind up catching a jack that had ran the crappie off. It is going to be very hard to get rid of them.

07-29-2017, 11:53 PM
I've only ever caught one in a smaller state park lake but like scrat said, I was on a good bite until it showed up. Looked a lot like a northern pike and with a mouth full of teeth like that, they have to be pretty prodigious eaters. I can't imagine them doing much good in a small lake.

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07-30-2017, 04:56 AM
I can tell you that you are not alone! Most of the waters we fish contain pickeral. And they are inhabiting the shallowest, weedy areas of most waters here. This is why I am reluctant to go shallow, especially in the summer time. Fortunately, we've found plentiful crappie suspended in the deeper areas of each lake. Scout around the main basin and see if you cannot spot any schools out there. Hopefully you do have some deeper water in that pond. If not, the best you can hope for is not loose too many jigs to these voracious, persistent critters.

07-30-2017, 07:35 AM
Caught a pike in a local oxbow this year, and took it home to cook it. When I cut it open it had about a 6" crappie in it. Them guys up north have to deal with them all the time, and it looks like we will also.

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07-30-2017, 01:55 PM
Hope you enjoyed eating that pike. One of the best eating fish we have in fresh water. Folks are jut unsure of how to filet these fish. Once you get the knack, you have a great source of fish to eat.

07-30-2017, 03:52 PM
Hope you enjoyed eating that pike. One of the best eating fish we have in fresh water. Folks are jut unsure of how to filet these fish. Once you get the knack, you have a great source of fish to eat.

Caught this today on Ky Lk

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07-30-2017, 04:25 PM
I was up there last week, had me Carl's several times.

Generally most don't recommend stock black crappie in any pond smaller than 25 acres. They stunt and compete for food with bass and bluegill, hence your not catching many of any of them. Pickerel will feed on the stunted crappie, which is probably a good thing. If you don't like them, then stock 30-50 12"+ largemouth per an acre every year. They will eat the stunted crappie and outcompete the pickerel. Also you could have a dissolved oxygen problem too. I have heard of several the sand-lined ponds south of Fredericksburg routinely (every 4-6 years) having issues with dissolved oxygen, which the pickerel tolerate better than crappie/bass/bluegill.

07-31-2017, 10:12 AM
Many years ago I fished a 10 acre spring fed lake in North Alabama. Had good bass and bream fishing. Owner put pickerel in it and totally ruined the fishing. Those things would attack your bait before you could get a bite from anything else.

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07-31-2017, 01:16 PM
A small lake i used to fish when i was younger, Garrett Lake, near Dresden Tn has a bunch in there. They would eat anything a bass would that was fast moving. Mean dudes!

07-31-2017, 09:21 PM
My boys fish the pond everyday, I asked them to start bringing in the pickerel and tonight they brought in a 9"-10" chain.

I've read they are very boney fish, but I fileted the fish across the top of the backbone and did not find them to be overly boney. We got a couple small but decent sized filets, a few of these and maybe you have a meal?

Anyone have any tips on prep and recipes for chains?

As crestliner suggests I may go out, fish the deeper areas and see what happens.

In addition to the chain mentioned above, one of my sons also caught and released this guy tonight.


08-01-2017, 09:37 AM
I don't know how close the Chain's are to an Alligator Gar, but I would suspect maybe close? I have no idea, but do know lots eat Gar Balls and I never have made any myself, but always here how good they are. I have had some to eat many years ago and was good to me! Being from SE Texas I have heard about Gar Balls most of my life!

Here are a couple links if interested.

How to Prepare Alligator Gar: Fried Alligator Gar Balls - The Home Guru (http://blog.chron.com/thehomeguru/2011/07/how-to-prepare-alligator-gar-fried-alligator-gar-balls/)

One more note I have not even watched this video yet!


08-01-2017, 12:59 PM
They more closely resemble a northern pike. There are several ways to prepare them and all of them are good in their own right.

My grandmother learned this from an indian many years ago.
Scale the fish then fillet it off the bone.

Turn your slab meat side up (skin side down) and start at the tail section. Make incisions all the way through the meat to the skin every 1/8 in all the way across the entire fillet. It is called "Scoring". Prepare fish as you would like and the bones will fry right out.

She was an excellant pike fisherman and we spent many summers living in Canada in the mid to late 80's.

Some great recipes with pike or Chain's:
Crush Cheetohs in plastic bag with rolling pin, dip fillets in egg then in cheetohs and fry
Poor man's lobster: boil pike in water
Pickled pike (one of my favorites)

08-03-2017, 05:35 AM
They do have some "extra" bones going on and I have been told what was already posted about scoring the fillets . Being in the same family as walleye I am pretty sure they are tasty ....I used to ketch large chains back in the day up in Pennsylvania on big live shiners very early in the morning free swimming them on top ....sure was fun to watch the water blow up when they took them , never ate them myself though, we let them swim on .

08-03-2017, 12:05 PM
Have to be careful with the word "pickerel" in the north country. Many people in Canada refer to the walleye as a "pickerel".