What Are the Differences Between Walleye and Pickerel?


Quick Answer

Key differences between the walleye and the pike include adult size and overall body color. Pickerel range in adult size from 3 to 60 pounds, while walleye grow to around 15 pounds. The walleye's overall body color is olive and gold, whereas the pickerel is greener with some yellow. The walleye's body pattern is irregularly mottled, whereas the pike has a distinct chain-link pattern.

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Full Answer

Walleye and pickerel are often confused, but the two fish are not related and belong to different fish families. The walleye belongs to the family Percidae, or perch, while the pickerel belongs to the family Esocidae, or pike. Walleye are sometimes incorrectly referred to as pike, perhaps because they share the same sharp teeth as members of the pike family.

Most pike caught by fisherman have an average weight of approximately 3 pounds, but some species, most notably the northern pike, grow much larger. Fisherman report catching 60-pound northern pike. Walleye average around 15 pounds.

The body shape of the two fish differ as well. The walleye is more rounded, and the pike is long and thin. The dorsal fin of the walleye is split into two sections, unlike the pike with a single top fin. Similarly, the walleye's tail fin is forked; the pike's is not.

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