8 Differences Between a Pike and a Pickerel with Table

What is the difference between a pike and a pickerel?

Fish is very common and used as food in many parts of the world. Most people think that pickerel is a term used to refer to pike hatchlings.

Pike and pickerel are two different types of fish and they are both found in freshwater bodies. Pike is mostly caught in the Northern climate hence they are called Northern pike. Pickerel is mostly known as chain pickerel.

The main difference between pike and pickerel is that pike has fewer spots on its body while pickerel has more spots on its body.

Differences Between a Pike and a Pickerel

Comparison Table (Pike vs Pickerel)

Characteristics Pike Pickerel
Spots It has fewer spots on its body. It has more spots on its body.
Classification There are 3 species of pike. There are 2 species of pickerel.
Nature of the spots They are oval in shape and do not run into each other. The spots run into each other just like a chain.
Markings It has markings on its fins. It does not have markings on its fins.
Jawline The jawline is stretched more towards its eye. The jawline is not stretched towards its eye.
Size It grows to a bigger size. It is comparatively smaller.
Gill area The lower portion of the gill does not have any scales. The entire area is covered with scales.
Eye They do not have a teardrop on the eyes. They have a teardrop on their eyes.

What is a Pike?

A pike is a type of fish found in the Holarctic region. They live in freshwater bodies. There are three species which include; Northern pike, Southern pike, and Amur pike.

They have light spots throughout their bodies. The spots are oval in shape and do not run into each other. They have markings on their fins. They have a jawline that stretches more towards their eye.

They are mostly found in shady areas and this where they are often caught. They like feeding when the sun is high. They like meaty substances hence they can be used as baits. They have very sharp teeth and they can easily injure the fisherman so you need to be careful.

They are capable of breeding at any age. They spawn during the spring season when the water temperatures reach about 9 degrees. They lay a large number of eggs.

What is a Pickerel?

Pickerel is a type of fish that lives in freshwater bodies. They are of two species; that is the American pickerel and the chain pickerel. They are mostly found in North America.

They prefer slow-moving water with aquatic vegetation so that it may be easier for them to feed on the aquatic vegetation.

Pickerel species seem to be a smaller version of pike species although the two are different from each other. Pickerel is comparatively small as compared to pike.

They have a lot of spots on their bodies. The spots run into each other and they form chain-like patterns hence appearing to be more on their bodies.

They are more aggressive and can be found all over in water bodies. They also like meaty substances hence they are used as bait to get hold of them. They have sharp teeth and the fisherman has to be careful when handling them.

They migrate from lakes to streams during spawning. Eggs are fertilized externally. They can be found in flood plains and swamps. They hatch within 12 to 14 days.

Main Differences between a Pike and a Pickerel

  1. Pike is larger in body size while pickerel is comparatively smaller in body size.
  2. Pike has fewer spots that are oval in shape and do not run into each other while pickerel has more spots that run into each other forming chains.
  3. Pike has a jawline that stretches towards its eye while the jawline of pickerel does not stretch to its eye.
  4. Pike has markings on its fins while pickerel do not have markings on their fins.
  5. Pike’s lower portion of the gill does not have scales while the pickerel’s gill area is covered with scales.
  6. Pike feed on other fish species while pickerel can feed on other small aquatic animals.

Similarities between a pike and a Pickerel

  1. They both live in freshwater bodies.
  2. They both like shady areas.
  3. Both have sharp teeth.
  4. They both have spots on their bodies.

In Conclusion

Pike and pickerel are fish species that live in freshwater bodies. They both feed on aquatic vegetation and aquatic animals. They have very sharp teeth hence when doing the fishing you need to be careful as they may hurt you.

The two seem to appear the same although there are very many distinctive features that make them different. The main feature that makes them different is the nature of the spots on their bodies.

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