Difference Between Pike and Pickerel (With Table)

Fishes are undoubtedly a very crucial part of the human ecosystem as well because not only do they provide food to the human population, but they also serve as an economical means to the human generation. However, there might be a confusing situation in differentiating certain varieties of fishes, and the most common example of this confusion is the difference between Pike and pickerel. 

Pike vs Pickerel 

The main difference between Pike and pickerel is that in the case of the former, spots on the body happen to be very light and almost negligible, while on the other hand, in the case of the latter, there are many spots on the body of the fish. Apart from this basic difference, certain other differences between the species and other characteristics can be drawn. 

The term Pike refers to a particular species of fish that are usually found in freshwater and can easily be distinguished from other species due to certain inherent qualities. This fish contains very few spots on its body, and the spots happen to be differently built from one another and do not touch each other. 

While on the other hand, pickerel happens to be another species found in the freshwater but consists of different physical characteristics as compared to the previous one. It contains a lot of spots on the body, and the spots happen to be in a particular shape that contradicts one another. 

Comparison Table Between Pike and Pickerel 

Parameters of Comparison 




The term refers to a particular variety of fishes also known as northern pike. 

The term refers to a particular variety of fish is also known as chain pickerel. 

Number of spots 

There is a smaller number of spots on the body of this fish. 

There is a very large number of spots on the body of this fish. 

Nature of spots 

The spots usually do not touch each other and happen to be independent 

The sports usually cross each other and create a harmonious shape 


This fish grows into a very bigger size. 

This fish remains to a comparatively smaller size. 

Gill area  

The gill of this particular fish is free of any scales. 

The entire gill of the fish is filled with scales. 


No teardrop is found in the eye of this fish. 

Usually, teardrops are found in the eye of this fish. 

What is Pike? 

A distinguished variety of fish is found in freshwater usually and consists of three species is known as Pike. The three infamous varieties of this particular fish are southern Pike, Northern Pike, and Amur Pike. It is a very crucial variety of fish as it serves many economic and other purposes.  

The most prominent and distinguishing feature by which this fish can easily be differentiated from other varieties is that it has very light spots on the body, and the spots usually do not contradict one another. This pattern helps any person to recognize this particular variety and take it as a Pike only. Certain other physical traits of this particular fish are that it grows into a very big size, and the jawline of this particular fish happens to be free of fins.  

Also, there are no or a negligible number of scales on the gill of this fish, and the eye of this fish also happens to be free of any kind of teardrops. And because of having a lot of flesh on the body, this fish is usually used as bait to lure other fishes or organisms. 

What is Pickerel? 

Mostly found in the North American region, pickerel is another distinguished variety of fish having two other names such as American pickerel or chain pickerel. However, due to the similarity of this particular fish with another variety called Pike, some people tend to confuse pickerel for Pike.  

But unlike other species, there are a lot of distinguished qualities in this fish that need to be elaborated in order to be understood clearly. In the geographical aspect of life, this particular fish prefers to live in an area that has a water body moving very slowly and has aquatic vegetation in it. The size of this particular fish happens to be relatively small as compared to other species, and it does not grow into a giant one either.  

However, one most prominent quality of this particular fish is that it has heavy and dark spots on the body, which can be easily seen from a distance as well, and these spots cross each other in design and form one design only. However, one needs to be very careful while looking for this particular variety going to its sharp piece that can be extremely dangerous for any human being. 

Main Differences Between Pike and Pickerel 

  1. Pike is a particular variety of fish, also known as northern Pike, while on the other hand, pickerel is a variety of fish is also known as chain pickerel.  
  2. Pike happens to grow in very larger size while on the other hand pickerel happens to grow to a smaller size comparatively.  
  3. Usually, there are no teardrops found in the eye of the Pike, but such teardrops are found in the eye of the pickerel.  
  4. Pike has fewer spots on the body as compared to pickerel, which has many spots on the body.  
  5. The gill of Pike happens to be free of any kind of scales, while on the other hand, the goal of pickerel happens to be filled with scales. 


Fishes, like any other living organism, are a crucial part of human existence, and they play so many vital roles in the ecosystem, and they cannot be neglected at any cost. However, there are certain varieties of fish that can create confusion in the mind of a person because of having similar physical traits and similar names as well.  

A very classic example of this particular kind of confusion is the difference between two varieties of fish is, called Pike and pickerel. On the one hand, these two fishes look very alike in their physical characteristics, and after being named in a similar tone as well, plenty of room for confusion and misinterpretation is left. But owing to the significance fishes have in an ecosystem, it becomes very important to not just carefully study but differentiate between these varieties of fishes so that a clear picture can be drawn. 


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1577/1548-8659(1939)69%5B268%3APONPAP%5D2.0.CO%3B2 
  2. https://afspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1577/1548-8659(1982)111%3C768:SMONPA%3E2.0.CO;2