One of North America’s most popular game fish is the Yellow Perch. Native to North America, the yellow perch is one of the most common freshwater fish. It can be found in most lakes and rivers across the United States and Canada. The perch is the second most caught fish in North America after the Walleye.
A Brief Biology
The Yellow Perch is found in weed beds often along an underwater drop-off leading to deeper water. They prefer quieter, shallower waters but will venture as deep as 45 feet or 15 Meters. They have the ability to withstand changes in water temperature and therefore can often elude predators by diving deep to avoid them. The perch also like to hide under docks and trees that have fallen in the water close to shore.
The average size of a perch is 1 to 5 pounds, with a 2 pound perch being a fairly large size in North America. Typically the female perch will grow bigger than the male. An average sized female is 3 to 4 pounds and 4 to 6 inches in length, while the male only reaches a size of 2 to 3 pounds and 4 to 5 inches in length.
Perch spawn in the spring usually in late April to early May. Unlike many other fish, perch do not make a nest. They lay their eggs (up to 40,000 at a time) by attaching them to weeds and underwater tree branches. Spawning begins when water temperature reaches 6 to 11 degrees Celsius and the eggs hatch after 14 to 30 days depending on water temperature. The baby perch mature after 1 year.
Food and Predators
The perch eats a variety of small food. Much of their diet consists of worms, maggots, and other invertebrates. They will also eat other perch, insects, and minnows. They prefer to live and feed in schools among weed beds in shallow bays near underwater drop offs which provide a quick escape route from predators.
Some natural predators to the yellow perch include larger fish such as bass, pike or walleye, sea gulls, and cormorants. Like most fish that live close to shore, they can also be poisoned by run-off from fertilizers or pesticides spread on land too close to the water’s edge.
Bait, Lures, and Tackle
Perch are a very popular game fish in North America. The fairly large population and distribution across the continent make them an easy catch from boat, land, or ice fishing. A light weight rod 6 feet in length (or less) and a basic spin cast or bait cast reel are all that is required, which makes them very simple for everyone in the family to catch. Popular bait and lures include worms, maggots, or small minnows. Small 1 to 3 inch plastic worms or insects are also very effective year-round. Lures 2 to 3 inches in length which imitate most of these little creatures are usually successful as are small floating lures that resemble other perch, minnows, or insects.
The Yellow Perch is one of North America’s most widely caught pan fish. The perch is known for its great taste and since it is commonly caught from docks or shore using simple bait and tackle is often one of the first fish children catch making it a fun and memorable fish for the whole family.
Copyright 2016 Mike Wilson