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how to check if my pikerel are breeding

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#1 Fisher88

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 02:26 PM

Three years ago I added a bunch of larger chain pickerel to my pond. When is the best time to check for fry? Both time of day and time of year . I want to see if my pickerel are breeding.

#2 centrarchid

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 06:54 PM

You likely already missed it for 2017.  Based on what I have seen over the years, fry of Grass Pickerel and Chain Pickerel must have been conceived no later than February.  By early-March they are already pushing 1.25 inches.

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#3 Fisher88

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 07:36 AM

Thanks when should I check for smaller pickerel. I have no boat so I can only check from Shore. It is a small pond about a hundred yards across 50 yards wide and 4ft deep.

#4 Fisher88

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 07:42 AM

Will putting minnows in a minnow trap maybe catch a food to see if they are in the pond.

#5 JasonL

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 07:59 AM

You don't need a boat or a minnow trap to catch baby pickerel. Take a dipnet and sweep it through some grassy areas at the ponds edge. That's where they hang out even as fry. If you have them in any numbers you should be able to catch a few right now using these tactics.

#6 centrarchid

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 08:24 AM

They will appear almost black so sometimes visible when simply disturbing them as you piddle around shoreline.  They will not go to a minnow trap and can swim right through wire if they did.

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#7 smbass

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 10:16 PM

I will add timing varies quite a bit depending on where you are. Here in Ohio grass pickerel seem to spawn in late March or early April and I start to find very small young this time of year. They reach about 1.5-2" by late May or early June. So size and timing makes a big difference depending on how far north or south you are in the US. I will also say we occasionally get a fall spawn here. I have found tiny young in Nov and Dec usually after we have had some cold weather and then experience a few days of unusually warm weather. This winter was very mild for us here so I found some young back in mid March. Not sure if they were from a fall spawn or could have been just about any time this past winter because we had stretches of warm weather several times.

Brian J. Zimmerman

Gambier, Ohio - Kokosing River Drainage

#8 Kanus

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 07:16 PM

I've found pickerel fry the day after Christmas in Virginia, so I'd expect they'd be reasonably large and harder to find by now. But like others have said, dipnetting around grass RIGHT up along the bank would probably be your best bet.

Derek Wheaton

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