Stub­born species of chain pick­erel

South Shore Breaker - - HEALTH&WELLNESS - CAR­ROLL RAN­DALL REEL TIME dacara@east­link.ca

I cer­tainly hope that ev­ery­one is get­ting out and that you are catch­ing plenty of fish.

Chain pick­erel are the topic for this week. Chain pick­erel is an­other fish found in our wa­ters in Nova Sco­tia that is not na­tive to our prov­ince. These pick­erel have been il­le­gally in­tro­duced to our lakes and rivers by fish­er­men who had no idea of the dam­age that these fish would do to our na­tive stocks.

Chain pick­erel are re­lated to pike and musky and look sim­i­lar to a skinny pike, they can also grow up to a me­tre long and are preda­tors to some fish pop­u­la­tions.. Chain pick­erel, to some ex­tent, have a duck bill mouth that is full of very sharp teeth.

Pick­erel are fun to catch; they fight very strong and are good to eat. When fil­let­ing pick­erel, they do not have the same anatomy as reg­u­lar fish so you will need to learn how to nav­i­gate the Y-bone. Chain pick­erel are am­bush feed­ers, so they can be found in shal­low wa­ter in and around veg­e­ta­tion and around most struc­tures.

Any type of fish­ing method works and top wa­ter fish­ing is es­pe­cially fun be­cause pick­erel will strike very vig­or­ously. One word of cau­tion is that you need to pro­tect your hooks and lures by adding a steel leader at the end of your line be­cause their very sharp teeth will cut reg­u­lar fish­ing line. An­other bit of ad­vice is to carry a pair of long nose pli­ers with you so that you can pro­tect your fin­gers from those sharp teeth when un­hook­ing the fish.

Many avid fish­er­men have no use for chain pick­erel, and for that mat­ter, small mouth bass, but pick­erel are easy to catch and fight ex­tremely hard. No one re­ally knows how much dam­age chain pick­erel will do to res­i­dent fish pop­u­la­tions but ev­ery­one is con­cerned. When you are fish­ing this sum­mer and you catch a chain pick­erel in a lake that you did not know had chain pick­erel, please let in­land fish­eries know by email at in­land@no­vas­co­tia.ca or email me. The bag limit for chain pick­erel is 100 per day.

Chain pick­erel can be found in lakes and rivers that are heav­ily veg­e­tated. Also, veg­e­ta­tion pro­vides cover for their am­bush style of for­ag­ing, ac­cord­ing to the Bluenose Coastal Ac­tion Foun­da­tion web­site.

Iden­ti­fy­ing pick­erel

Long snout.

• Long, slender body with a chain-like pat­tern on a bright green to olive green to brown back­ground.

• Head is long, flat and de­pressed above. •

• Large, long head with dark bars ra­di­at­ing back from the eyes. Dark ver­ti­cal bar be­neath each eye. Eye has yel­low pupil.

• Dor­sal fin lo­cated back to­wards long, and deeply forked, cau­dal fin.

• Sharp teeth (Bluenose Coastal Ac­tion Foun­da­tion study).

If you are fish­ing the La­have River or Wentzells Lake and you hook a chain pick­erel with a small grey tag left of the dor­sal fin, please record the num­ber of the fish from the tag (1,000-2,000) and re­port it to Shawn Feener of the Bluenose Coastal Ac­tion Foun­da­tion at shawn@coasta­lac­tion.org or call 902-523-0157. These tagged fish are part of a mark and re­cap­ture study to de­ter­mine the pop­u­la­tion size within Wentzells Lake.

One thing is for sure though; give pick­erel a try and you’ll dis­cover they have more to of­fer than you ever imag­ined.

If you have ques­tions and can­not find the answers, then please send me an email.

Up­com­ing bass tour­na­ments in­clude Lake­side Small­mouth

Bass Club, July 28-29, Su­per­bass Tour­na­ment on Aug. 11 at Og­den, Parr, Pete’s Lake in Yar­mouth and the South Shore Bass Masters has a tour­na­ment on Molega Lake in Queens County on Aug. 12.

Car­roll Ran­dall owns and op­er­ates dacarafishin out of Lunen­burg County and is a Nova Sco­tia Li­censed Fish­ing Guide. He of­fers guided fish­ing ad­ven­tures and fish­ing schools. To book a trip or to find out more, call 902-212-1508 or email dacara@east­link.ca.

Car­roll Ran­dall

The chain pick­erel are a species of fresh­wa­ter fish that are not na­tive to Nova Sco­tia and were il­le­gally in­tro­duced to the prov­ince’s lakes and rivers.

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