Esox americanus

Preferred Habitat: In the Piedmont section of North Carolina, the redfin pickerel are found in small creeks and streams. In the coastal plain section of the state, redfin pickerel prefer slow moving, heavily vegetated swamps and millponds.

Range: Redfin pickerel are found statewide with the exception of mountain habitats.

Average Length: 6-10 inches, 5 ounces.

Food Habits: The redfin pickerel prefers aquatic insects and other fish.

Spawning: Redfin pickerel spawn in the early spring as water temperature approach 50°F. Spawning occurs in shallow water when the female deposits her eggs in vegetated areas where they are fertilized and left unattended. A large female may deposit as many as 4,000 eggs at one time; however, some fish as small as 5 inches may release no more than 400 eggs.

Miscellaneous: The cylindrical, torpedo-shaped redfin pickerel has numerous sharp teeth in a relatively pointed snout making it perfectly designed for its ambush-type-feeding behavior. Due to the small size, sport fishing for this species is limited primarily to coastal areas where the ideal habitat for growth exists. This fish is highly prized by many low country natives who grew up eating this sweet flavored fish.