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I have caught them on everything from jigs to hiltabrant spinners.My personal favorite is "red devil" spoons.They love them.
Just about anything bright and noisy, they are very territorial so if they see or hear anything near them they attack.
 

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Inline mepps or blue fox spinners #2 to #4 in Silver or Orange(they prefer mepps for some reason)
Zara Spooks or Spit n Images in bullfrog or Tennesee Shad
Sluggo/flukes/any softplastic 6" jerkbait in chartreuse or shad color
mini spinner baits
4" shad bodies on jigheads
bright colored soft plastic lizards etc.
hmmm.... a few others that I can't think of worked well too.

Skitter weedless rigged softplastic on lily pads and then let them fall off the edge of the bed if you haven't gotten a hit already and if there is one there, wham!
Throw topwaters into coves, nooks in weed beds etc let it until the ripples settle, then a few walk the dog maneuvers and wham!

Throw inline spinners in open water or along weed edges. Keep your rod tip up and close the bail as soon as it hits the water and get your slack in, or else you'll be snagged in weeds. You want to keep your spinner just under the surface enough that it makes a very slight disturbance or bulge in the surface... I mean slight, not a big wake.

Use spinnerbaits and 4" shads in the deep weeds, like the cabbage weeds at the far end. Cast out, let sink 6-8 feet, retrieve and if you feel slightly caught up on some cabbage, gently jiggle it, let it sit for a few seconds, then work the lure free gently and the big fellas will snap it up once it is free of the weeds.

The softplastic jerkbaits like sluggos and flukes are the most universal lure. You can't go wrong with them except in deep water.... just add some insert weights or a few split shots to your line. Even a mepps comet attatched to an offset worm hook rigged with most any softplastic can be deadly, especially in early may when the fish aren't active and you need to get down and work your lures slow.

I would highly recommend using only one treble on your hardbaits or at least cutting 1 of the 3 points of each treble. Lures with 3 sets of trebles are big no no for pickerel. Bad for the fish and bad for you when trying to unhook a wiggly ol pickerel. Jaw spreaders are a must. Liquidation world had some nice ones for cheap... or you can make your own with some thick wire.

Ritchie lake can be a great pickerel lake as long as everyone releases and handles the fish carefully. When I stopped fishing it regularly, there was more pressure, more old farts keeping multiple pickerel and you would find dead pickerel ashore more often. Needless to say, the fishing was not as good. Also, I don't think people had much luck in the lake when I used to fish it every day as a young teenager because I kept all the pickerel's mouths sore!


Oh ya, don't use a thick steel leader. I rarely lost pickerel if I used a black snap swivel. A piece of thick mono or ultrathin black wire leaders are a good alternative for those who have to have a leader. They can be leader shy, don't kid yourself, they aren't as dumb as you might think, although I've seen them jump into the boat while going after a lure.

I've caught my largest (28.5") and some of my other biggest pickerel on 4lb test, no leader or snapswivel... and I've also lost big ones that chewed through 40lb mono leaders.

Anytime you see baby pickerel jumping out of the water (they make multiple leaps often times to avoid large pickerel), cast to that spot as there is a hungry pickerel waiting. I've seen large pickerel attack hooked fish that are 18" long and have caught 24" pickerel with bite marks wider than their own in Ritchie lake.
 

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Bigfish is right about reducing the number of hooks on your tebbles while fishing pickerel, especially if you hook onto a big one. That's why I prefer using a spinnerbait as he mentioned above. I've only started fishing for them this year for the first time, and honestly I've caught them on pretty much everything except small stuff, but I've caught maybe 80% of them on spinnerbaits, and mostly the yellow/chartreuse skirt ones. (I've caught nearly 100 pickerel so far this year in NB and NS, but I haven't fished in Ritchie lake yet).
 

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Great post bigfish !!!...your tips are mostly true for smallmouth bass also.
 
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