Form, Function, and Fishing

Pickerel Fishing

1 of 2

Published on: Feb. 25, 2014

Last week the ice thawed out and temperatures rose briefly to tease us about the coming of spring. With that reminder, I thought I’d touch on another public use at Duck Creek that should be around the corner once winter begins to lessen its grip.

Chain Pickerel:

Up north legendary fishing trips are made in the pursuit of northern pike and muskies. The nicknames of these fish include wolf fish, devil fish, or slough sharks. However, in the southern half of the US, great sport can also be found when fishing for chain pickerel, a smaller member of the pike family, but no less the attitude of their Yankee cousins. In southeast Missouri, these fish lurks within the rivers of the Ozarks and in certain locations in the flatlands of the Bootheel. Pool 1 at Duck Creek is one of these locations and is ideal habitat for these ambush predators. A hint as to “why” this is a perfect location can be seen in their coloration. Chain pickerel are draped with an olive chain pattern covering yellowish green scales that mirror the light scattering through water and submergent vegetation. This is seamless camouflage that allows these hunters to blend into their surroundings and wait for minnows to come unknowingly towards their end.

Records in the Region:

If there is one thing that Pool 1 doesn’t lack, it is aquatic vegetation so if you want to land a chain pickerel this is the spot for you. To verify my argument let’s look at the records. The state record for pole and line is a 5 lb 1 oz chain pickerel that was caught at the Clearwater Spillway by George Burlbaw in 1974. This shows that we are in the right region. To refine our scope and put the bullseye on Duck Creek we just have to look at the bankline fishing record. This record is held by Gordan Thorton who caught a 6 lb 3 oz chain pickerel in 1977. Now these are huge pickerel, which is why they are long standing state records. To be considered for a Master Angler Award a chain pickerel only needs to be 3 lbs or 23 inches. I have it from a good source that you don’t have to go back 40 years to pull a fish this size out of Pool 1.

Key Messages: 

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish.


On March 14th, 2014 at 9:52am Keith said:

The HQ building contractors are finishing up final items on their punch list and MDC staff have been working the past week on items not covered in the contract. We have begun the process of moving back in the building, however it will be a few more weeks until we have full use of the facilities. The Duck Creek building is a field office, not a Public Contact office. There will be a self-check hunter station and area information posted at the front of the building. Staff are generally available to visit with in the mornings, late afternoons and occasionally throughout the day but there is often no one present at the HQ throughout the day. The designated MDC public contact office in the Southeast Region is located in Cape Girardeau at 2302 County Park Drive and open for visit during regular business hours Mon-Fri, 8:00am to 5:00pm.

On March 14th, 2014 at 9:36am Keith said:

The contract for the boat ramps / fishing platforms and Greenbrier Unit wetland development have been awarded and the notice to proceed has been given for March 17th.

On March 13th, 2014 at 12:24pm Anonymous said:

Any progress on headquarters upgrade? Will it be open to the public any time soon? What will be the operating hours this summer?

On March 13th, 2014 at 12:21pm Anonymous said:

Have the contracts been awarded for the fishing piers on the lake? When do you expect work to proceed?

On February 28th, 2014 at 5:28pm Steve Brewer said:

My son and I caught several in an eddy pool on river left about 3/4 Mike down from the Greer Spring access on the Eleven Point River two springs ago. The first I have ever caught! Best fishing just at the eddy line of the pool.
Shortened URL