For most, catching a pickerel in Virginia is usually accidental while pursuing other fish like largemouth bass. Virginia has a strong population of chain pickerel across the state, being found any many state waters. With the right gear, these fish can be a lot of fun on the fly. To fly fish for pickerel across Virginia here is the type of gear you will need.
Pickerel, like its brethren the pike, tend to be ambush predators. They are typically located in and around grass flats, banks and points – all with grass. With this in mind, the setup can be different based on your presentation. If fishing various fly poppers, for instance, a full floating line is best. When fishing streamers, you will want to use an intermediate sinking fly line that will allow your fly to drop along that outside edge of the grass, or just overhead of the grass. As for backing, it’s a non-issue, you will never get into your backing. For some preferred fly lines check out Wild Waters fly lines for pickerel.
Here, there is no need to worry about a steel leader etc. Yes, these are toothy fish, but honestly their size doesn’t necessarily warrant this type of setup. Instead, opt for a fluorocarbon leader in the 15 to 20-pound class – and skip the cost of tapered leaders, or wire leaders. Fluorocarbon is highly abrasion resistant, and will allow for a stealthier approach when targeting pickerel. For tippets, check out the Frog Hair brand fluorocarbon http://vao.tips/4ABM
A 5 weight rod is plenty of rod to handle pickerel in Virginia. This is a typical setup that most people already have for chasing both largemouth and smallmouth bass in Virginia. You need a heavy enough rod to be able to easily cast large poppers and streamers – but not too much rod. If you have a tendency to throw larger poppers or streamers, you may want to go up to a 6 weight. A lighter 5 weight rod may not have enough backbone for dealing with some of the bulkier streamers. Plus, there is always the chance of hooking up with a solid largemouth bass. A great option is the Temple Fork 5/6 weight http://vao.tips/4ABL
Much like the setup for tippets and leaders, there is no need for an elaborately expensive fly reel. A good 5, or 6, weight fly reel will provide all that is needed with pickerel weighing an average of 2-3 pounds in Virginia. There are no long screaming runs where the drag becomes critical. Check out these fly reels http://vao.tips/4ABP
As previously stated, Virginia has numerous bodies of water with good populations of chain pickerel. These bodies of water include Lunga Reservoir at Quantico, Chickahominy Lake and River, Diascund Reservoir – as well as other lakes and rivers.