State Chain Pickerel Records: State by State Guide


Chain Pickerels are found in a wide range of habitats and are popular among many anglers. Like their bigger cousin the northern pike, these fish have a reputation for being aggressive, hard hitting, and a lot of fun to bring them in. While they can be bony if improperly cleaned, chain pickerel gives a very tasty fillet that makes for good foil baking or oil frying.

In other words, they’re the total package you want from a really good game fish.

State Chain Pickerel Records: A Complete Guide

Chain pickerel are mostly an East Coast and Deep South fish in the United States. This explains why some nicknames for them include eastern pike or southern pike.

In fact, here’s a picture that gives a look at the natural habitat where you can generally expect to find chain pickerel:

chain pickerel habitat
Map courtesy of USGS.

Alabama Chain Pickerel State Record

Alabama is home to a very respectable sized chain pickerel. The Alabama state record is 6 lbs and 6 oz which for a chain pickerel is actually a really respectable size.

Caught in Dyas Creek out of Baldwin County, Michael P. Ryan is the record holder of this aggressive and sizeable pickerel. This is also a very long-standing state record as this big pickerel was caught all the way back in summer of 1976.

An aggressive fish, it may not have the pizazz of the big southern black bass, but as this article shows, pickerel are popular and known to be aggressive and willing to hit anything in the area making for a good time when fishing.

Source: Outdoor Alabama

Alaska Chain Pickerel State Record

Alaska is WAYYY out of the chain pickerel’s natural habitat. If you’re all the way up in the Last Frontier you are fishing for northern pike.

Therefore there is no state record for chain pickerel in the state of Alaska.

Arizona Chain Pickerel State Record

Arizona is another state that isn’t home to chain pickerel. Or any pickerel, for that matter. The only Esox you’ll find in these waters is muskie.

Therefore since it is not a native species there is no state fishing record for Arizona chain pickerel.

So if you own the very strangely specific dream of owning the Arizona state record for chain pickerel, you will unfortunately have to dream on.

Arkansas Chain Pickerel State Record

Arkansas, on the other hand, is a state that has plenty of healthy pickerel populations that can be found by anglers throughout the state. Chain pickerel are a popular target of anglers here who appreciate how pickerel taste, as well as the serious fight that this fish bring to the table.

The Arkansas chain pickerel state record is a whopping 7 lbs, 10 ounces from the Little Red River by lucky angler Abe Vogel in January of 1979.

That is an impressive chain pickerel, and must have been an angler’s dream for starting off the new year right!

Source: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

California Chain Pickerel State Record

Once you go West of the Rockies your choices for fishing from the Esox family are generally isolated stocked lakes of muskies and tiger muskies (unless you head up to Alaska). California is no exception.

Since the chain pickerel is a non-native species in CA the California Department of Fish & Wildlife does not recognize any record. There is no California state record for chain pickerel.

Colorado Chain Pickerel State Record

Colorado is, to the unfortunate news of many a sports angler, a pickerel-less state.

There is no state record for chain pickerel in Colorado.

Connecticut Chain Pickerel State Record

Connecticut has some serious clout when it comes to comparing pickerel state records. In fact, the state record is only 12 ounces short of the world record, long held by an angler from Georgia.

The Connecticut state record for chain pickerel is 8 lbs, 9 ounces and was caught in 2005 by Alden Foss during a day out on West Twin Lake. The catch and release record for chain pickerel in Connecticut is 33 inches and currently held by Mark R. Popolizio.

Those are some pretty impressive chain pickerel!

Source: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection

Delaware Chain Pickerel State Record

Delaware’s chain pickerel fishing record is an example of why heading to the local farm pond is sometimes the best way to spend a weekend.

The largest chain pickerel ever recorded as caught in Delaware (and current state record) is held by Earl Messick out of Horsey Pond in April of 1972. The chain pickerel tipped the scales at 7 lbs 3 oz. This is currently the oldest and longest standing state fishing record in the state.

I think we can say that officially makes it a hella good catch!

Source: Delaware.gov State Fishing Records

Florida Chain Pickerel State Record

Ooh boy let the controversy of state fishing records begin! Of course we can trust Florida to bring some “Maybes” to what otherwise would seem like a pretty straightforward thing – weight numbers.

So unofficially Florida’s state record for chain pickerel has held for over 50 years as of when this article was published. The weight was 8.0 lbs and caught by Jimmy James at Lake Talquin. That is an impressive long-standing record for a good looking chain pickerel!

Or it would be if the state didn’t decide to go with a new state record since a lack of pictures or other evidence brought the original record into question. So that is the unofficial state record.

This means the official Florida chain pickerel state record is 6.96 lbs, a very respectable size that was caught by Jep Dove in 2004, ironically, also out of Lake Talquin.

Source: Florida State Fishing Records (Big Catch Website)

Georgia Chain Pickerel State Record

The holder of the Georgia state record for chain pickerel is also the world record for this fish. This over 60 year old state record weighs in at a whopping 9 lb, 6 oz by Baxley McQuaig, Jr. in Homerville. That is a gigantic fish compared to your average chain pickerel, or even state record pickerel.

That means that Baxley McQuaig’s Georgia chain pickerel state record is the world record and one of the oldest state records out there at a mighty 9 lb, 6 oz, and one that might never be topped.

Source: Georgia Wildlife Record Program

Hawaii Chain Pickerel State Record

None. Of course not. There never have been, nor ever will be, a healthy population of Chain Chain Pickerel in Hawaii. Therefore there will never be a Hawaii Chain Chain Pickerel state record.

Idaho Chain Pickerel State Record

Since chain pickerel are not native to Idaho, there is no Idaho chain pickerel state record.

Illinois Chain Pickerel State Record

While there have been some unsubstantiated reports of the occasional chain pickerel in the furthest southern point of the state where the Mighty Mississippi meets the Ohio River. However, these have not been substantiated and officially the chain pickerel is not recognized in Illinois.

Therefore there is no Illinois state record for chain pickerel.

Indiana Chain Pickerel State Record

There are no longer any living populations of chain pickerel in Indiana, therefore there is no state record for chain pickerel in Indiana.

Iowa Chain Pickerel State Record

Chain pickerel are not found in Iowa, and therefore there is no recorded state record for chain pickerel in Iowa.

Kansas Chain Pickerel State Record

Since chain pickerel are not native to Kansas, there is no Kansas chain pickerel state record.

Kentucky Chain Pickerel State Record

Kentucky has no native chain pickerel populations and therefore there is no Kentucky state record for this fish.

Louisiana Chain Pickerel State Record

There’s no denying that the state of Louisiana has some really impressive pickerel fishing that anglers throughout the state enjoy. The Louisiana chain pickerel state record is 5.75 lbs and was caught by Chris H. Marien in May 1977 at Kincaid Lake.

Kincaid Lake is one of the best pickerel fishing spots in the state as the #2 and #3 biggest chain pickerel that ever came out of the state also came out of that exact same lake.

Source: Louisiana Outdoor Writers – LA State Fish Records

Maine Chain Pickerel State Record

The chain pickerel in Maine is heavily overshadowed by its cousin the northern pike in the state for two reasons. One is that the pike gets much, much bigger and offers more fish for less bones (if you know how to handle the Y bone), and the other is that the pike can be found throughout the entire state while the smaller pickerel is only native to the very extreme southwest section of the state.

That said the old chain pickerel state record for the state of Maine was broken in 2007 by lucky angler Josh Gagnon who reeled in a beautiful 7 lb, 2 oz chain pickerel in Balch Lake, breaking the previous 1992 record by 5 ounces.

Source: Maine Freshwater Fish Records

Maryland Chain Pickerel State Record

maryland pickerel state record

The Maryland chain pickerel state record was set in 2015 with an absolute whopper of a chain pickerel weighing in at 8 lbs 0 ounces. That handily beat the previous state record for pickerel.

The fish was caught by angler Lee Haile III (pictured to the left looking surprisingly stoic for holding a state record that we assume gave one hell of a fight just moments before).

This goes under “Non-Tidal State Fishing Records” if you’re looking for confirmation on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.

This is because Maryland splits up their records in odd ways for organizational purposes.

All that aside it can’t change one clear thing: that’s a very nice chain pickerel that Lee is holding and it’s a state record that has held for 6 years and counting.

Source: Maryland DNR State Fishing Records

Massachusetts Chain Pickerel State Record

The Massachusetts state record for chain pickerel is a big one, only falling a single ounce short of the world record. It’s also the oldest on this list, standing for nearly 70 years and counting. That’s impressive!

The Massachusetts chain pickerel state record is 9 lbs 5 ounces and caught out of Laurel Lake by Mrs. James Martin in 1954. That is a single ounce away from the current world record.

Source: Massachusetts Freshwater Fish Records

Michigan Chain Pickerel State Record

This is a non-native species therefore there no Michigan state record for chain pickerel.

Minnesota Chain Pickerel State Record

The chain pickerel is not native to Minnesota and therefore there is no MN state record for the chain pickerel.

Mississippi Chain Pickerel State Record

The Mississippi state record for chain pickerel weighs in at 6 lbs, 4 oz and was caught at Bay Springs Lake by Ronnie Boren in early October, 1986.

That is a solid sized chain pickerel for sure!

Source: Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks

Missouri Chain Pickerel State Record

The Missouri chain pickerel state record weighs in at 5 lbs, 1 oz and was caught at the Clearwater Dam Spillway by angler George Burlbaw.

This is one of the smaller state records for pickerel but it’s still big enough to put up a fine fight on the way into the boat!

Source: Land Big Fish Missouri State Fish Records

Montana Chain Pickerel State Record

There are plenty of beautiful sights in Big Sky Country. However, pulling a big pickerel into the boat is not one of them.

Chain pickerel are not native to Montana. Because of that, there is no pickerel state record for the state of Montana.

Nebraska Chain Pickerel State Record

Chain pickerel are not native to the Husker State. Because of that, there is no pickerel state record for the state of Nebraska.

Nevada Chain Pickerel State Record

Chain pickerel are not native to Nevada. Because of that, there is no pickerel state record for the state of Nevada.

New Hampshire Chain Pickerel State Record

Another very long standing state record, the official New Hampshire chain pickerel record is 8 lbs and was caught by Carroll R. Akeley at Plummer Lake in 1966.

That is one of the larger state records for the chain pickerel as well as one of the longest standing at 56 years and counting.

Source: New Hampshire Fish and Game State Fish Records

New Jersey Chain Pickerel State Record

Caught by Frank Gobern all the way back in 1957, the New Jersey state record for the chain pickerel is a whopping 9 lbs and 3 ounces.

It’s one of the longest standing fishing records in the state and is unlikely to ever be broken.

Source: New Jersey State Record Freshwater Sports Fish

New Mexico Chain Pickerel State Record

New Mexico is way too far out west to be native to the pike’s little cousin. Because of that fact there is no New Mexico state record for chain pickerel.

New York Chain Pickerel State Record

Boy the 60s sure seem like the hey day for chain pickerel fishing, especially if state records are anything to go by. New York state continues this trend.

The New York state record for chain pickerel is an impressive 8 lbs 1 oz and was caught by John Bosland in February of 1965 from the Toronto Reservoir.

Source: Department of Environmental Conservation

North Carolina Chain Pickerel State Record

North Carolina is home to some pretty fine fishing, and the North Carolina chain pickerel state record of 8 lbs 0 ounces and was caught by John H. Leonard at the Gaston Reservoir in 1968 definitely holds up that reputation.

Source: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

North Dakota Chain Pickerel State Record

North Dakota is home to some of the most amazing northern pike and walleye fishing in all the United States. But you aren’t going to find any chain pickerel here.

Because of that there is no ND state record for chain pickerel (though the record for pike is 37 lbs 8 oz in case you were curious).

Ohio Chain Pickerel State Record

This fish is not native to the state of Ohio, so there is no Ohio state record for chain pickerel.

Oklahoma Chain Pickerel State Record

The pickerel is not native to the state of Oklahoma, so there is no Oklahoma state record for chain pickerel. So despite having the weirdest story behind a northern pike state fishing record, and one that will be literally impossible to break under current circumstances, there’s noting so interesting here in regards to chain pickerel.

Oregon Chain Pickerel State Record

This fish is not native to the state of Oregon, so there is no Oregon state record for chain pickerel.

Pennsylvania Chain Pickerel State Record

Dave Wilson holds the Pennsylvania chain pickerel state record with a catch of a whopping 8 lb 15 oz caught at Long Pond in 2002.

This not only makes it one of the more recent state records on this list but also one of the largest ones, too.

Source: Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

Rhode Island Chain Pickerel State Record

The Rhode Island chain pickerel state record is 6 lbs 14 oz and and was caught at Beach Pond by T. Egan in August of 2005.

That’s a pretty good day out at the pond.

Source: Department Environmental Management Rhode Island

South Carolina Chain Pickerel State Record

The South Carolina chain pickerel state record is 6 lbs 4 oz and was caught out of Chessey Creek by Randall Spell in 1981.

That over 40 year old state record is a nice sized pickerel for sure, and definitely dwarves the redfin pike that are popular with many mudders throughout the back creeks of the state.

Source: South Carolina DNR

South Dakota Chain Pickerel State Record

Great walleye fishing. Great northern pike fishing. But when it comes to pickerel, this fish is not native to the state of South Dakota, so there is no South Dakota state record for chain pickerel.

Tennessee Chain Pickerel State Record

Tennessee has a very solid state record for chain pickerel at 7 lbs and 7 ounces, caught by Burke Williams out of the Kentucky Reservoir in February of 1991.

Source: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Texas Chain Pickerel State Record

Well most things might be bigger and better in Texas…it just turns out that chain pickerel aren’t included in that list.

The smallest of the state records, the Texas chain pickerel state record comes in at 4.75 lbs and was caught by Robert Finch in 1996.

Source: Texas State Freshwater Records

Utah Chain Pickerel State Record

This fish is non-native to Utah, so there is no Utah state record for chain pickerel.

Vermont Chain Pickerel State Record

The chain pickerel state record is 6 lbs 4 oz and was caught by Robert Purdy at the Harriman Reservoir in 1974.

It might not be the big pike or muskie in the state, but that’s still a sizeable jackfish that will give a good fight.

Source: Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department

Virginia Chain Pickerel State Record

Virginia is another state that has an official record for chain pickerel and an unofficial record as an old record was challenged for accuracy. The unofficial record is held by Glenn C. Williams who caught a 7 lb 12 oz pickerel in 1974.

The officially recognized Virginia state record for chain pickerel is held by R. L. White at 7 lb 10 oz which was caught on 12-31-1996.

That’s one way to ring in a Happy New Year!

Source: Virginia VWR

Washington Chain Pickerel State Record

Members of the Esox family just apparently don’t care for the West Coast.

There is no Washington state record for chain pickerel since the fish is not native to the state and would be an invasive species there is no state record for pickerel here.

West Virginia Chain Pickerel State Record

The West Virginia chain pickerel state record is owned by Steve Demma who caught a 27.75 inch chain pickerel weighing 6.19 oz out of Tuckahoe Lake in 2001. This fish holds both the state records for weight and length.

Source: WV Sportsmen

Wisconsin Chain Pickerel State Record

Chain pickerel are not native to Wisconsin and therefore there is no state record for pickerel in the state of Wisconsin.

Wyoming Chain Pickerel State Record

Since chain pickerel are not native to Wyoming, there is no chain pickerel state record for Wyoming.

Chain Pickerel State Records by Size

  • Georgia 9 lbs 6 ounces
  • Massachusetts 9 lbs 5 ounces
  • New Jersey 9 lbs 3 ounces
  • Pennsylvania 8 lbs 15 ounces
  • Connecticut 8 lbs 9 ounces
  • New York 8 lbs 1 ounce
  • Maryland 8 lbs 0 ounces
  • New Hampshire 8 lbs 0 ounces
  • North Carolina 8 lbs 0 ounces
  • Arkansas 7 lbs 10 ounces
  • Virginia 7 lbs 10 ounces
  • Tennessee 7 lbs 7 ounces
  • Delaware 7 lbs 3 ounces
  • Maine 7 lbs 2 ounces
  • Florida 6.96 lbs
  • Rhode Island 6 lbs 14 ounces
  • Alabama 6 lbs 6 ounces
  • Vermont 6 lbs 4 ounces
  • Mississippi 6 lbs 4 ounces
  • South Carolina 6 lbs 4 ounces
  • West Virginia 6.19 lbs
  • Louisiana 5.75 lbs
  • Missouri 5 lbs 1 ounces
  • Texas 4.75 lbs
black and white chain pickerel sketch

In Conclusion

There you have it – every single state record for chain pickerel found in one handy resource. And a couple of these were honestly absurdly hard to track down. Far more than they should have been. But here is the resource and if anything changes in the upcoming years I will absolutely update this article.

Other Fishing Articles You May Enjoy

Pike Fishing Fanatic

If there's pike fishing to be fond in the area, I'm all about it! Dad's had us fishing since we were five and that's a major part of our outdoor adventures to this day! While I don't get out as much as my days in Canada or Alaska, I still grab the rod for some good northern fishing when the opportunity arises!

Recent Posts