Is Pickerel and Walleye the Same Fish? Unveiling the Truth behind Their Similarities

Is Pickerel and Walleye the Same Fish?

If you enjoy fishing or exploring different types of fish, you may have come across the terms “pickerel” and “walleye.” At first glance, these names might lead you to believe that they refer to two separate species of fish. However, in reality, pickerel and walleye are often used interchangeably in North America.

The Confusion

The confusion surrounding the names “pickerel” and “walleye” arises from regional differences in nomenclature. In some parts of North America, such as Canada and the northeastern United States, people commonly use the term “pickerel” when referring to what is scientifically known as walleye (Sander vitreus). On the other hand, in certain regions like Great Britain or Southern Africa, they refer to a completely different species called pike (Esox lucius) as pickerel.

A Closer Look at Walleye

Walleyes are freshwater fish native to many rivers and lakes throughout North America. They are highly sought after by anglers due to their delicious taste and challenging nature. Characterized by their unique eyes that seem to reflect light like a cat’s eye at night — hence their name — walleyes have an olive-brown back with brassy or gold sides.

Pickerels – Misnomer for Walleyes

In regions where pickerels are synonymous with walleyes, it is important to note that there is no taxonomic difference between them; rather it is just a colloquial usage of terminology. So if someone talks about catching pickerel from a certain lake where others catch walleyes from another lake nearby—both individuals are essentially talking about catching members of the same species.

Other Uses of the Term Pickerel

As mentioned earlier, outside North America and some specific regions within it, “pickerel” refers to northern pike. Pike are large predatory fish with elongated bodies and powerful jaws filled with sharp teeth. They have a distinct green coloration along their back, blending into lighter green or yellowish sides, and a white belly.

In Summary

To conclude, pickerel and walleye typically refer to the same fish in many parts of North America. The confusion arises from regional differences in naming conventions. In Canada and the northeastern United States, people commonly use “pickerel” when referring to what is scientifically known as walleye. However, elsewhere around the world or even in certain regions within North America itself, “pickerel” could be used to describe northern pike instead. It’s important to understand these local variations when discussing fishing experiences or exploring culinary preferences involving these intriguing species.

Regardless of how we choose to name them regionally or colloquially, both walleyes (or pickerels) and northern pikes are fascinating fish that offer great angling opportunities for enthusiasts across various parts of the world!