Return to Easily Identify Pike   

Grass Pickerel

Esox vermiculatus

Pike Family

Freshwater Fish Identification

Grass Pickerel

Common Name(s):
Mud pickerel, little pickerel
The grass pickerel is much smaller than the chain pickerel but has the same long, slender body with a long, generally concave, snout. The back is olive-brown to green, fading to a white belly. It has 11-13 branchiostegal rays as opposed 14-16 in a chain pickerel. There are dark, wavy vertical bars on the sides, and like other pickerel, the cheeks and gill covers are covered with scales.
Similar Fish:
Redfin pickerel, chain pickerel
Feeding Habits:
The grass pickerel lies in wait to ambush it’s prey, generally small fish (especially minnows), tadpoles, aquatic insects, and larvae.
They’re found in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River drainage systems. Range boundaries go from Montreal south to the tributaries of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie and west into Nebraska. Also found in Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Grass pickerel tend to stay in shallow streams and lakes with soft bottoms that are conductive to heavy plant life. They like a slow current to none at all, and stay away from large bodies of water.
Typical Size:
Average size at full maturity is 7-10 inches. Rarely exceeds 12 inches.
World Record:
1 pounds, 0 ounces (Source - IGFA)