angling tips

Elusive Chain Pickerel A Freshwater Predator

Chain Pickerel

Understanding the Chain Pickerel: Characteristics and Habitat

The Chain Pickerel, a captivating member of the pike family, is renowned for its striking appearance and fierce demeanor. With its slender, torpedo-shaped body and distinctive chain-like pattern along its greenish sides, this fish is not only a sight to behold but also a challenge to catch.

Predominantly found in the freshwater bodies of North America, from the muddy waters of the Mississippi Basin to the serene streams of the East Coast, the Chain Pickerel has adapted well to various aquatic environments.

Fishing for Chain Pickerel: Techniques and Tips

Anglers seeking the thrill of catching Chain Pickerel should equip themselves with the right techniques and gear. This fish is known for its aggressive strikes, making spinnerbaits, spoons, and live minnows ideal baits.

Fishing in areas with abundant underwater structures, such as weed beds or submerged logs, can be particularly productive. Additionally, understanding the Chain Pickerel’s seasonal movements helps in planning the best fishing expeditions, especially during the early morning or late evening.

Effective Lures and Baits for Chain Pickerel Fishing

Lure/Bait Type Description Best Used In
Spinnerbaits Flashy and creates vibration to attract fish Weedy or murky waters
Spoons Metal lures that mimic the movement of small fish Clearwater
Live Minnows Natural bait that mimics small fish behavior All types of water
Plastic Worms Soft bait used with a weedless rig to avoid snags Heavily vegetated areas
Jerkbaits Hard bait that jerks in the water to simulate an injured fish Clear to slightly turbid waters
Topwater Lures Floats and creates surface disturbance Early morning or late evening

Best Times for Catching Chain Pickerel

Catching Chain Pickerel can be particularly fruitful when timed correctly. These fish are most active during the cooler parts of the day, making early mornings and late evenings the optimal times for fishing. During these times, the Chain Pickerel is more likely to hunt for food near the surface or in shallow waters.

Culinary Delights: Preparing and Cooking Chain Pickerel

Beyond its prowess in the water, the Chain Pickerel is also appreciated on the table. Preparing this fish involves cleaning it thoroughly and removing its Y-bone, a common challenge with pike species. Whether you’re frying, baking, or grilling, the Chain Pickerel offers a lean, mildly flavored meat that pairs well with a variety of seasonings and sides.

Recipes such as smoked pickerel or pickerel fillets with a light herb sauce celebrate the delicate taste of this freshwater fish.

Here’s a simple and delicious recipe for grilled Chain Pickerel

Grilled Chain Pickerel with Lemon Herb Butter


  • 4 Chain Pickerel fillets, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Fresh herbs (such as parsley, dill, or thyme), finely chopped

For the Lemon Herb Butter:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill, or thyme)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the Grill:
    • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Prepare the Lemon Herb Butter:
    • In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, chopped herbs, salt, and pepper until well combined. Set aside.
  3. Season the Fish:
    • Pat the Chain Pickerel fillets dry with paper towels. Brush both sides of the fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill the Fish:
    • Place the fillets skin-side down on the grill. Grill for about 4-5 minutes or until the skin is crisp and slightly charred.
    • Carefully flip the fillets over and place a few lemon slices on top. Continue grilling for another 3-4 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
  5. Serve:
    • Remove the fillets from the grill and immediately top with a dollop of the lemon herb butter, allowing it to melt over the warm fish.
    • Garnish with additional fresh herbs and serve with a side of steamed vegetables or a fresh salad.

The Future of Chain Pickerel

While the Chain Pickerel is currently not at risk of extinction, its populations are affected by overfishing and habitat loss. Conservationists emphasize the importance of sustainable fishing practices and adherence to local regulations to ensure that future generations can also enjoy angling for this remarkable predator.

Bass Fishing in Arizona

Arizona has fantastic bass fishing!

Bass Fishing in Arizona

Arizona, a landscape renowned for its desert vistas and towering canyons, is also a hidden gem for anglers—its waters teeming with a surprising diversity of bass species. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of landing a trophy bass or simply enjoying a day out on the water, Arizona’s lakes and rivers offer unparalleled fishing experiences. This comprehensive guide covers everything from prime locations to essential gear, ensuring your Arizona fishing adventure is both successful and memorable.

Why Arizona is a Premier Bass Fishing Location

Arizona stands out as a top destination for bass fishing enthusiasts due to several key factors:

Variety of Bass Species

Anglers in Arizona can target both largemouth and smallmouth bass, each thriving in the state’s diverse aquatic habitats.

Year-Round Fishing Opportunities

Thanks to Arizona’s mild winters, anglers can enjoy bass fishing throughout the year, extending the season beyond that of more northern locales.

Multiple Fishing Locations with Big Bass Potential

Arizona’s variety of fishing spots—from serene mountain lakes to vast desert reservoirs—offer anglers the chance to catch trophy-sized bass.

Here’s  the fish species you can expect to find in Arizona’s premier lakes:

Lake Name Common Fish Species
Lake Mohave Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Striped Bass, Catfish, Rainbow Trout, Crappie
Lake Havasu Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Striped Bass, Bluegill, Catfish, Crappie, Redear Sunfish
Lake Roosevelt Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Crappie, Catfish, Carp, Walleye, Bluegill
Saguaro Lake Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Bass, Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Catfish, Bluegill
Lower Colorado River (Lake Martinez) Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Striped Bass, Catfish, Bluegill, Crappie

Importance of Fishing Regulations and Licenses

Securing a valid fishing license and adhering to local regulations are essential for preserving Arizona’s aquatic ecosystems for future generations.

Professional Fishing in Arizona

Arizona’s lakes are competitive arenas for professional anglers, with tournaments highlighting the state’s status as a bass fishing haven and promoting sustainable practices.

Fishing Licenses and Fees

Before casting your line, ensure you have a valid Arizona fishing license and are aware of any additional fees for access or boat launching. Here’s a quick overview of potential costs:

Requirement Typical Fee
Arizona Fishing License Varies (Annual resident adult: $37; Non-resident: $55; other options available)
Lake Access Fees Varies by location (Approx. $5-$30 per vehicle)
Boat Launch Fees Varies by location (Approx. $10-$20)
Tournament Entry Fees Varies by event

Essential Gear for Bass Fishing

A successful fishing trip starts with the right gear. Here’s what you’ll need:

Rod and Reel

Opt for a medium-heavy rod paired with a baitcasting or spinning reel for versatility.

To learn more about the right Rod and Real you can check out this article… It will help guide you to the best decisions.


Choose from monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braided lines based on your specific fishing conditions and technique.

fishing line for bass, as the ideal choice depends on several factors like the specific fishing technique you’re using, water clarity, and cover.

Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of the most common types to help you decide:

  • Monofilament:

    • Pros: Affordable, casts well, offers some stretch for shock absorption.
    • Cons: More visible in water, absorbs water and weakens over time, memory can cause coiling.
  • Fluorocarbon:

    • Pros: Nearly invisible in water, good abrasion resistance, less stretch for better lure control.
    • Cons: More expensive than mono, can be tricky to tie knots, some find it a bit stiffer.
  • Braided Line:

    • Pros: Super strong, very thin diameter for long casts, no stretch for excellent bite detection.
    • Cons: Highly visible in water, not good for absorbing shock (can result in lost fish), more prone to backlashes.

Here’s a general guide for choosing a line based on fishing technique:

  • Crankbaits and Jerkbaits: Fluorocarbon or monofilament (10-17 lb test) for their buoyancy and shock absorption.
  • Jigs and Flipping: Braided line (30-50 lb test) for strength and abrasion resistance in heavy cover.
  • Topwater lures: Braided line (30-50 lb test) for strong hook sets, or monofilament (15-25 lb test) for added casting distance.
  • Drop Shot and Finesse Fishing: Fluorocarbon (6-12 lb test) for invisibility and better bite detection.

Remember, these are just recommendations. Always consult with experienced anglers or your local tackle shop for specific advice based on your fishing situation.

Lures and Baits

Stock your tackle box with jigs, plastic worms, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and swimbaits to attract bass.

lure for bass fishing as it depends on various factors like the season, water conditions, and the bass’s feeding behavior. However, some general purpose lures that consistently produce results include:

  • Soft Plastic Worms: A versatile bait that can be rigged and fished in numerous ways to imitate worms, lizards, or creature baits. Great for all year-round bass fishing.

  • Jigs: Effective for flipping and pitching near cover, jigs come in various weedless designs and can be tipped with trailers like plastic worms or creature baits.

  • Crankbaits: These lipless crankbaits mimic small baitfish and come in diving depths to target bass at different water levels. Effective for covering water and triggering reaction strikes.

  • Spinnerbaits: A combination of a vibrating blade and a wire arm with a skirted head, spinnerbaits offer flash and vibration to attract bass. Excellent for searching for bass and in low-light conditions.

  • Topwater lures: Mimicking frogs or injured baitfish on the surface, these lures can entice explosive strikes. Examples include poppers, which create a “popping” sound, and walking baits, which are designed to be “walked” across the water’s surface.

Here are some additional tips for choosing lures:

  • Match the hatch: Try to select lures that resemble the natural forage bass are feeding on in that particular lake or river.

  • Consider water clarity: In clear water, opt for more natural-colored lures. In stained or murky water, brighter colors or lures with rattles can attract attention.

  • Lure action: Experiment with different lure retrieves to mimic fleeing baitfish, struggling prey, or a wounded minnow.

Remember, success often involves trial and error. Observe what other anglers are using and what seems to be working on the day. Over time, you’ll develop your own favorite lures and techniques.

here is a bass fishing starter kit that covers most of the Baits

bass fishing tackle kit Amazon $27.00


Don’t overlook essential tools and accessories like fishing pliers, line cutters, and a well-organized tackle box. I bought this tool set from Amazon it was the best tools out there.

fishing tools Amazon $29.00

Best Times to Fish

Maximize your chances of a successful catch by hitting the water at optimal times:

Lake Name Best Fishing Times
Lake Mohave Spring (March-May) for bass; Fall (September-November) for catfish and striper
Lake Havasu Early Spring (February-April) for largemouth and smallmouth bass; Fall (October-November) for various species
Lake Roosevelt Spring (March-May) for bass and crappie; Winter (December-February) for walleye
Saguaro Lake Spring (March-April) for largemouth bass; Winter (November-February) for trout
Lower Colorado River (Lake Martinez) Spring (February-April) for bass; Fall (September-November) for catfish and bluegill

Fishing Licenses and Fees

Before casting your line, ensure you have a valid Arizona fishing license and are aware of any additional fees for access or boat launching. Here’s a quick overview of potential costs:

Requirement Typical Fee
Arizona Fishing License Varies (Annual resident adult: $37; Non-resident: $55; other options available)
Lake Access Fees Varies by location (Approx. $5-$30 per vehicle)
Boat Launch Fees Varies by location (Approx. $10-$20)
Tournament Entry Fees Varies by event

Boat Considerations and Camping Options

Bringing a boat? Check lake-specific restrictions on size and engine type. If your fishing adventure extends into the night, many lakes offer camping facilities, from primitive sites to developed campgrounds.


Arizona’s bass fishing scene is a blend of challenge and beauty, offering diverse species, year-round opportunities, and the thrill of the catch. With the right preparation and respect for regulations, your fishing trip will not only be enjoyable but also contribute to the conservation of these splendid waters.

Additional Resources

For up-to-date information on licenses, regulations, and camping, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department or contact the managing authorities of the lakes discussed in this guide. Here’s to a successful fishing adventure in Arizona!

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