The Hudson’s two species of pickerel are solitary predators that catch fish, frogs and other small animals by ambush. An individual holds still, looking like a floating stick in the weeds, until an unsuspecting fish swims by. Then with a sudden swift dart it seizes its prey in a sharp-toothed mouth. Both the redfin and the chain pickerel live in fresh water where aquatic plants grow thickly
The chain pickerel is the larger of the river’s two species; adults are typically fifteen to eighteen inches long. It has a longer snout than the redfin pickerel, and its sides are yellowish green with a chain-like pattern of darker brownish green lines. This species is a fairly popular game fish, caught on rod and reel in summer and with ice fishing gear in winter.
The redfin pickerel seldom gets any longer than twelve inches. It usually has vertical bars of color on its sides.