The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Esox americanus
Esox americanus
(Redfin Pickerel)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Esox americanus Gmelin, 1789

Common name: Redfin Pickerel

Synonyms and Other Names: grass pickerel

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Becker (1983); Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993); Jenkins and Burkhead (1994). Two recognized subspecies in this genus; E. a. americanus, the Redfin Pickerel, and E. a. vermiculatus, the grass pickerel. Crossman (1978) described and mapped the range of each.

Size: 38 cm.

Native Range: Atlantic Slope from the St. Lawrence River drainage, Quebec, to Lake Okeechobee, Florida; Gulf drainages east to the Brazos River, Texas; Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins north to Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, and southern Ontario (range for the species). Redfin Pickerel E. a. americanus occur on the Atlantic Slope to southern Georgia and intergrade with grass pickerel E. a. vermiculatus in the Gulf Slope drainages west to the Pascagoula River. Grass pickerel occupy the rest of the range (Page and Burr 1991). Crossman (1978) gave a distribution map of the subspecies and intergrades.

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Esox americanus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CA189619783California Region; San Diego; Upper Cache
CO197419781Upper South Platte
FL198819881Santa Fe
ME200920091Maine Coastal
OR199419941Pacific Northwest Region
PA197919862Lower Monongahela; Youghiogheny
SC201920191Bulls Bay
TX201520151Buffalo-San Jacinto
VT195819862Otter Creek; Richelieu
WA189020039Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake; Hangman; Little Spokane; Lower Snake; Lower Snake-Tucannon; Palouse; Rock; Upper Crab; Upper Spokane
WI194520103Castle Rock; Chippewa; Upper Wisconsin

Table last updated 7/23/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: This species was stocked intentionally and possibly accidentally; it was stocked illegally in Oregon. Probably introduced into Washington as misidentified northern pike E. lucius (Chapman 1942); it is also possible that grass pickerel were introduced into Idaho along with northern pike, and that the former species later reached Washington by "some devious means" (Wydoski and Whitney 1979).

Status: Extirpated in California; established in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Washington; established in the Youghiogheny drainage in Maryland (D. Neely); unknown in Oregon and Wisconsin.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: This species is sometimes mistaken for the young of other, larger Esox species. Smith (1985) mapped several records for the Lake Champlain drainage in New York but did not indicate that these were the result of introductions.

Voucher specimens: Vermont (CU 54844).

References: (click for full references)

Crossman, E. J. 1978. Taxonomy and distribution of North American esocids. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 11:13-26.

Ellis, M. M. 1974. Fishes of Colorado. University of Colorado Studies, Boulder, CO 11(1):1-136.

Hendricks, M. L., J. R. Stauffer, Jr., C. H. Hocutt, and C. R. Gilbert. 1979. A preliminary checklist of the fishes of the Youghiogheny River. Chicago Academy of Sciences, Natural History Miscellanea 203:1-15.

Lampman, B. H. 1946. The coming of the pond fishes. Binfords and Mort, Portland, OR.

Li, H. - Professor, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

Neely, D. - University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL.

Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Field Guide Series, volume 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Smith, H. M. 1896. A review of the history and results of the attempts to acclimatize fish and other water animals in the Pacific states. Pages 379-472 in Bulletin of the U.S. Fish Commission, Vol. XV, for 1895.

Wydoski, R. S., and R. R. Whitney. 1979. Inland fishes of Washington. University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 12/15/1999

Peer Review Date: 12/15/1999

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2024, Esox americanus Gmelin, 1789: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=1421, Revision Date: 12/15/1999, Peer Review Date: 12/15/1999, Access Date: 7/23/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/23/2024].

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