Difference Between Walleye and Pickerel
Walleye vs Pickerel
A walleye is sometimes called a pickerel, particularly in English-speaking parts of Canada, but in fact, the walleye and the pickerel are not at all related. However, both are members of the same family, the pike family or Esocidae.
Walleyes are freshwater perciform fishes. Their scientific name is ‘Sander vitreus’, but also formerly as ‘Stizostedion vitreum’. These fishes are native to Canada, and also to the northern United States. There are two kinds of walleye, and the most common is the ‘yellow walleye’ (sander vitreus vitreus). They are called this name to distinguish them from the endangered ‘blue walleye’ (Sander vitreus glaucus). Blue walleyes are now extinct in the Great Lakes, and are bordering on complete extinction everywhere else in the world.
Walleyes are named in this way because their eyes reflect light, just like those of cats. The fish are able to see well in low-light conditions, and even in turbid waters, because of the light-gathering attributes of its eyes. The walleye’s vision allows the fish to populate the deeper regions of the water. They are often found in deeper water, especially when the climate is warm.
The color of walleye is primarily olive and gold. The common name of the fish in French is ‘dorÃ©’, which means golden. Walleyes can reach lengths of about 75 cm, or 30 inches, and can weigh up to 7 kg or 15 lbs.
Walleyes are very popular with anglers, therefore catching them is regulated by natural resource agencies. They are easier to catch when its dark, around dusk and dawn, because they extensively feed during those times. When the water is turbid, preventing light from penetrating, walleyes also thrive in catching prey. Anglers take advantage of this to hook them. Many consider walleyes to have the best taste among freshwater fishes, and that is why they are so popular.
Now, let’s talk about pickerels:
Their exact name is Chain Pickerels (Esox niger), and they are also freshwater fishes. Sometimes they are called federation pikes or federation pickerels. They are also found in Canada, North America, and in other regions as well. Although the common name ‘pickerel’ is loosely given to walleyes, the true pickerel is the chain pickerel. In southern US, they are nicknamed as ‘jack fish’.
Chain pickerels are rather greenish, particularly the color of their sides. They are about 30 inches in length, but sometimes may reach over 40 inches (although this is rare), and they can weigh up to 10 lbs. On average, their size is about 24 inches and 3 lbs. Reportedly however, pickerels of 1-2 lbs are most commonly caught.
They catch prey via ambush. They lunge explosively at their prey, and secure the food with their sharp teeth. They may sometimes leap out of the water to catch low-flying insects and dangling lures of anglers. Many think of them as ‘trash fishes’ and not really good for eating, but edible nonetheless.
1. Walleyes have great vision under low-light conditions and turbid waters; they use this advantage to catch prey. Pickerels do not have this eyesight ability, but catche their prey with quick lunges and ferocity.
2. (Yellow)Walleyes are olive and golden in color, while pickerels are greenish.
3. Walleyes are slightly larger and heavier than pickerels.
4. Walleyes significantly taste better than pickerels.
5. Walleyes are found in deeper waters, while pickerels thrive in shallower waters.
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