Every so often while pike fishing Seneca Lake in the mid to late 2000s, I’d catch a light green colored northern pike with beautiful markings on it. I didn’t think much of it, apart from how gorgeous they were. I figured maybe the pike was living in weeds and changed color a bit to match the weeds. It isn’t uncommon for fish to have different colors depending on where they live.
Eventually I saw an article in “In-Fishermen” magazine that mentioned Lake Champlain churning out these hybrids. Lake Champlain guide Mick Maynard was the first person I ever heard of that noticed this phenomenon. Sure enough, it makes perfect sense – these fish look exactly like a cross between a pike and a pickerel. We’ve caught the biggest numbers of them in Seneca Lake, but we’ve also caught at least one in Cayuga Lake and one in Keuka Lake as well. Very cool looking fish! They tend to have a proportionally bigger head than a northern pike. The markings can vary as you can see in these pics. “Pikerel” sounds like a good name for them!