It inhabits the eastern United States and Canada, from Nova Scotia southward through all of the Atlantic coast states and most of Florida, and westward through Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana to as far as the Navasota River in eastern Texas. From Louisiana, it extends northward in the Mississippi River drainage through eastern Arkansas to southeastern Missouri and southwestern Kentucky.
All members of the genus Esox look very much alike, especially when young. The chain pickerel can be recognized by its markings. The sides which are yellowish to greenish (almost black when young) are overlaid with a reticulated, or chain like, pattern of black lines. Also, the pickerels (including the redfin and grass pickerels), have fully scaled cheeks and gill covers. The northern pike usually has no scales on the bottom half of the gill cover, and the muskellunge, E. masquinongy, usually has no scales on the bottom half of either the gill cover or the cheek.
The flesh is white and flaky, and very tasty during the winter months. In summer, however, the taste is not as good. Removing the skin before cooking may remedy this
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