- Chain Pickerel exist in only a hand-full of Texas lakes. Best fishing begins with the first real cold front in the fall and continues until March or April when water temperatures warm. The Texas state record is 4.75 pounds (23.75 inches). In Texas chain pickerel spawn between December and February. Their diet is almost exclusively other fish. The species prefers cover and is most often found in patches of aquatic vegetation, waiting to strike unsuspecting prey. In Texas they typically reach sizes of 3-4 pounds and about 2 feet in length.