Freshwater fishing in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina offer an abundance of a variety of species for anglers to target. One of the more unfamiliar types of fish that fisherman infrequently focuses on is pickerel. There are a couple of forms of these fish found in these three states’ fresh bodies of water. Here is what you need to know about the pickerel fish. 

Redfin Pickerel

The redfin pickerel has a unique appearance, specifically as the name implies, because of the red-colored fins. Here is what to know about the redfin pickerel. 

Where do Redfin Pickerel Live

The redfin pike share a similar range to that of the chain pickerel. The redfin range from as far north as Massachusetts and west to the eastern portions of Texas. 

Regarding habitat, The redfin is uncommon in the open waters of lakes. Instead, focus on shallow vegetated areas of ponds and creeks. 

How Do You Identify A Redfin Pickerel

When identifying a redfin, look for these specific markings. Vertical bars extend from the top of the fish towards the belly before dissipating. Beneath the eye is a black bar. 

The fish’s body is olive green in color and has a particularly blunt snout compared to others in the family. Lastly, the telltale sign is the red fins. 

Are Redfin Pickerel Rare

The redfin is not rare in freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. 

Anglers catch significant quantities of the fish when specifically targeting redfin pickerel in these three states. 

Are Grass Pickerel And Redfin Pickerel The Same 

The grass and redfin are not the same species. The grass variety is significantly smaller in size and shares the appearance of a musky.

In addition to the differences in size, the two fish do not overlap in range except the central portions of the US. Grass pickerel are found in middle America. 

How Do You Catch Redfin Pickerel

When targeting redfin, focus on shallow waters with dense vegetation. Utilize a light-action spinning rod with live bait or a spinner.

Cast the spinner or bobber and hook tipped with a small minnow on the outside of the edge of the vegetation line. When the spinner or bait is hit, pull back and reel the fish to the shore or boat. 

How Big Do Redfin Pickerel Grow

The redfin is small in stature. Redfin grows to a maximum size of fourteen inches and weighs between two and four pounds. 

Is Redfin Pickerel Good To Eat

When determining whether or not to keep a redfin for a meal, consider the following. Due to the size of redfin, the yield is small. Multiple fish are required to feed a family.

In regards to taste, the fillets are mild and sweet. The flesh is comparable to perch and walleye. 

Chain Pickerel

Despite its qualities, a commonly overlooked fish is the chain pike otherwise known as a chain pike. Here is what to know about the fish. 

Where do Chain Pickerel Live

The chain pike is widely distributed along the eastern and southern portions of the United States. Anglers catch them in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina and through Louisianna to the west and Maine to the north.

Anglers catch chain pickerel in nearly every body of water. The bodies of water include streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes. Chain pike prefers slow-moving water and seeks shelter in areas of vegetation, including lily pads, sunken trees, or brush. 

How Do You Identify A Chain Pickerel

Here are the distinguishing marks of a chain pike when it comes to identification. A black bar runs angled through the eye from the head to the gill plate. 

The name chain is derived from the chain-like pattern that extends along both sides of the body. Forward of the eyes is an extended mouth much like the shape of a duck beak. 

Lastly, count the fins as the fish has seven fins between the pickerel’s top, bottom, and back. 

Are Chain Pickerel Rare

The chain pickerel is common to the fresh bodies of water in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Therefore, the fish is not rare in these three states. 

What’s The Difference Between A Chain Pickerel And A Northern Pike 

Consider the northern pike is similar in appearance to the chain pike. However, they are not the same fish. 

Northern pike grows substantially bigger but does share many similarities in appearance. Don’t worry about confusing the two fish in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, as the northern pike does not call these states home. 

How Do You Catch Chain Pickerel

When the water is cool, the fish congregate close to the surface compared to the hot summer months. In the summer, chain pike migrates to deeper and colder water. 

To catch chain pike, utilize light to medium action spinning combinations. Be aware that the fish strikes aggressively. When targeting chain pike, the best method is casting bucktail spinners, or minnow imitation lures in areas of structure. 

While artificials are effective, a second option is live bait. Catch or buy minnows and fish the minnow on a hook beneath a float near lily pads or sunken trees. 

How Big Do Chain Pickerel Grow

Because of the long and slender shape, chain pike max out at only seven pounds. When it comes to length, the largest fish measure three feet. Despite their small stature, chain pike are brutes when in battle. 

Is Chain Pickerel Good To Eat

The chain pike makes excellent table fare despite the significant number of bones. The flesh is white, flakey, and sweet when prepared. 

Some of the best methods include frying, sauteeing, or broiling in the oven when it comes to cooking. 

Now You Know The Difference Between A Redfin Pickerel Vs. A Chain Pickerel

The next time you are fishing in Georgia, South Carolina, or North Carolina, focus your attention on pickerel fish. Remember to obtain a freshwater fishing license before casting a line. These fish are unmatched when it comes to strength versus size. Lastly, take caution when removing the hook as their teeth are razor sharp.