CHAIN PICKEREL ON STRIKE
Bob Izumi's Real Fishing|Winter 2020
I’ve never stalked a whitetail deer, but I imagine doing so is a bit like fishing for large chain pickerel. Success is found by locating those prime areas where the big ones live, and by working those areas thoroughly and patiently with exact techniques.
Charles Weiss, with Diane Robitaille

Like a wise old buck, a big granny of a chain pickerel can become too comfortable with her surroundings and a steady supply of food. For chainies, who are pure predators, that means a good supply of prey fish, often in the corner of a small inland lake.

As they get larger and older, chain pickerel become creatures of habit, roaming along the lake and showing up at different structures that provide reliable food and shelter throughout the seasons. They will have several prime spots where they like to hang out. These spots might supply the patient and skilled fisherman with a nice catch of quite large chain pickerel.

Sometimes these spots overlap or seem to be on top of one another. A good fisherman will cast over a lot of water in search of these spots. And what a thrill it is when one of these spots is found and a large, thrashing chain pickerel strikes your lure.

In the province of Nova Scotia there is so much water to explore for chain pickerel that fishermen can become spoiled. Or they can dither, like a diner presented with a too-extensive menu. Should we try that pond by the highway, or that back-county lake that requires a bit of a hike? So much water, so many choices. Success at one lake on one day may be followed the next day by getting skunked at the same lake, using the same techniques.

I love to explore these lakes and ponds with a medium-action bait casting rod or with a travelling, eight-weight fly rod. Over the last decade I’ve fished these spots in May, June, August, September, and October as I’ve visited Nova Scotia with my fishing partner (aka, my wife).

Lakes easily seen from the road are sometimes heavily fished - or maybe not. There’s a certain pond we love that just looks too small to be the home of twenty-inch plus pickerel. But the fish are there. Looks can be deceiving, so give those spots a try. At one particular pond one spring day, on my first cast ever at that spot, I was rewarded with an immediate strike. I could see the fish sideswipe my surface lure and it was on! I hauled it in, fighting all the way, shouting for my wife to get the camera!

Fishing for chain pickerel is a worthwhile adventure, whether fishing from roadside spots or walking through forest trails to get to out-of-the way waters. As mentioned, we’ve fished these spots at various times of the year and have had good luck.

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