Author Topic: I hate Pickerel with questions  (Read 418 times)

Offline Gamalot

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I hate Pickerel with questions
« on: Jun 07, 2021, 07:11 AM »
My hatred of the freshwater barracuda began back in the mid 1960s on one of the last ice days before ice out. I caught a real nice 24" pickerel and while removing the hook I got slashed by his tooth and it was a bloody mess and very deep wound. 7 stitches in my thumb that night and then the real fun began when it got badly infected and had to be opened back up and drained 3 different times. Most of my summer was ruined and I have hated them ever since.

So, we have a number of private lakes and ponds in this area that I sometimes get an invite to fish. In the past these were always great LM Bass waters with some tipping the scales in the 6-8 pound range. I fished in one last year that always produced big LMs but none could be caught except 10-12" ones and maybe just 1 pound. We did catch an inordinate number of small pickerel, all about 10-12" and on almost every cast we were getting skinny little slime darts attacking our lures. We could never afford to use minnows in this lake because the bait would be gone seconds after it hit the water. If I say we caught over 50 small and very thin pickerel I would not be lying. The lake is overrun with pickerel and they eat anything they can get their jaws around including themselves. Not a single one in 50+ caught was longer than 14 inches. I suspect the reason we did not do well with the bass is because the thousands of pickerel are eating the fingerlings as fast as the bass can produce them. This particular lake never had much in the line of sunfish or perch that we ever noticed so I think the forage base is so depleted it is destroying the bass fishing and stunting the growth of all the fish in it. A friend who fished the lake 2 weeks ago did catch an 18" pickerel and the tail of 10" pickerel was still sticking out of it's mouth. I see pickerel in a few of these lakes as nothing more than an invasive species doing more harm than good and anything but a sporting fish to go after.
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Offline zcm_82

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Re: I hate Pickerel with questions
« Reply #1 on: Jun 07, 2021, 07:44 AM »
What was the question?

We don't have chain pickerel this far west, but we do have grass pickerel (similar but much smaller), and they can choke out small ponds and ditches/creeks that don't have any larger fish if they get a solid foothold. One of my favorite ditches to catch chubs and shiners for catfish bait got overrun with grassies a couple years ago after a flood.  :'(

Offline Rebelss

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Re: I hate Pickerel with questions
« Reply #2 on: Jun 07, 2021, 07:50 AM »
Agreed...snot rockets can decimate a fish population under certain conditions and small water size.

                                    


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Offline Gamalot

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Re: I hate Pickerel with questions
« Reply #3 on: Jun 07, 2021, 08:18 AM »
What was the question?

We don't have chain pickerel this far west, but we do have grass pickerel (similar but much smaller), and they can choke out small ponds and ditches/creeks that don't have any larger fish if they get a solid foothold. One of my favorite ditches to catch chubs and shiners for catfish bait got overrun with grassies a couple years ago after a flood.  :'(

The question was pretty much as you answered, Am I correct in assuming these predatory cannibals will overeat and overpopulate certain waters to even their own demise? Too bad we don't get monster Pike or Muskies down this far south. At least they could be a great sport fish and they would have an endless supply of bite sized pickerel on the menu.
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Offline zcm_82

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Re: I hate Pickerel with questions
« Reply #4 on: Jun 07, 2021, 09:06 AM »
The question was pretty much as you answered, Am I correct in assuming these predatory cannibals will overeat and overpopulate certain waters to even their own demise? Too bad we don't get monster Pike or Muskies down this far south. At least they could be a great sport fish and they would have an endless supply of bite sized pickerel on the menu.
They can definitely take over small waters, especially ones with little to no panfish in them. They won't kill themselves off, but they'll get stunted really badly. That ditch I mentioned earlier is loaded with little 4-6" grassies now, and the chubs and shiners are pretty much gone.

You can pickle or smoke small pickerel, if that's your thing, so they aren't entirely worthless, but they can otherwise ruin a good pond or creek.

Offline Rebelss

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Re: I hate Pickerel with questions
« Reply #5 on: Jun 07, 2021, 11:19 AM »
They can definitely take over small waters, especially ones with little to no panfish in them. They won't kill themselves off, but they'll get stunted really badly. That ditch I mentioned earlier is loaded with little 4-6" grassies now, and the chubs and shiners are pretty much gone.

You can pickle or smoke small pickerel, if that's your thing, so they aren't entirely worthless, but they can otherwise ruin a good pond or creek.

Pickled hammer handles are delicous... the only thing they're good for.   :P

                                    


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Offline zcm_82

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Re: I hate Pickerel with questions
« Reply #6 on: Jun 07, 2021, 11:54 AM »
There was a little pothole lake a few miles from where I grew up that was loaded with stunted northerns, and I can't even imagine how many my uncle smoked back in the 80s, but it was A LOT. You could catch one just about every single cast on a little beetle spin or Mr Twister around the lily beds.

Looking back on it now, I imagine some laws were probably being pretty strongly bent 🤔

Offline Gamalot

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Re: I hate Pickerel with questions
« Reply #7 on: Jun 07, 2021, 12:02 PM »
Bending the rules hey! About every 4th or 5th slime dart we caught swallowed the lure half way into their stomachs. There was no saving lots of them so the Eagles ate very good that day. I have had them pickled and yes they are pretty good if done right. I am not big on any pickled foods and would not bother doing it.
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Offline Adironzach

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Re: I hate Pickerel with questions
« Reply #8 on: Jun 08, 2021, 05:22 AM »
Pickerel make great fertilizer. My veggies love them. I harvest as many as i can over the winter, especially in waters where theyve been introduced recently. I can also attest to them choking out other fish populations in small bodies of water.

Offline Rebelss

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Re: I hate Pickerel with questions
« Reply #9 on: Jun 08, 2021, 09:09 AM »
If you lay them on the ice and let 'em freeze, they shoot great out of a potato gun!  Gives new meaning to snot "rocket".   :roflmao:

                                    


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Offline AcezHi

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Re: I hate Pickerel with questions
« Reply #10 on: Jun 08, 2021, 01:04 PM »
Grew up fishing for them. That was what we had to fish when we were kids and they were easy to catch. Never heard of a trout in this lake.

Now the same lake has Browns, Tons of Bass (large and small mouth), White Pearch, Yellow Perch, Sunfish, Smelts, Cusk, and more.

Still has the chain pickerel, but has definitely improved over the 50+ years I have fished it, not gotten worse.

Guess I just like catching any fish that bites the older I get. Beats being skunked.


Offline Gamalot

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Re: I hate Pickerel with questions
« Reply #11 on: Jun 08, 2021, 02:35 PM »
If my buddies want to go to a lake full of pint sized pickerel I stay home and would rather be skunked. Lakes that have a balance mix of trout, perch, walleye, and bass along with some pickerel and I go with a target in mind that I try to avoid the pickerel. Lake is very subjective label. The place I fished last week is a big lake but the maximum depth is about 12 feet and it has lots of weeds and lily pads throughout it, I would call it a pond except for it's size. I can't honestly say if the problem in the lake is the pickerel or the weed beds. It is getting choked with both and the bass fishing has taken a serious dive in the past decade. With over 60 years of fishing here I have seen some places go down hill while other places got much better.
If I agreed with you we would both be wrong!

 



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