5. Habitat and Range
Chain pickerel prefer water temperatures in the upper 70s, warmer than those favored by pike and muskies. The fish flourish in clear, weedy lakes, ponds and reservoirs and in slow-moving reaches of warm-water streams. They spend most of their time in shallow water (less than 10 feet deep). Pickerel move deeper in very hot weather or, if shallow cover such as lily pads or a dock is present, to shady spots where the water is cooler. When water temperatures decline in the fall, pickerel will move to the outside edges of weed beds. Chain pickerel are found through much of the Midwest as well as in the Northeast and South.