Yellow Perch

Yellow Perch

Common name(s): perch, lake perch, American perch, ringed perch, striped perch

Scientific name: Perca flavescens (Perca means "dusky"; flavescens means "becoming gold colored")

Description: Yellow with six or more dark vertical bars on side; lower fins orange or red; different from walleye due to absence of canine teeth on lower jaw. Perch feel rough to the touch because they have ctenoid scales (scales that have fine teeth on their exposed edges).
  • Length: 6 to 10 inches ( 1- to 2-pound jumbos measure 13 inches or more in length)
  • Weight: 6 to 16 oz. (world record: 4 lbs - 3 oz.)
  • Coloring:bright green to olive to golden brown on back; yellow-green, yellow on sides; grey to milk-white below.
The yellow perch is closely related to the European perch and is the often referred to as the little cousin of the walleye and sauger. It lives in most fresh waters along the eastern Atlantic seaboard, south to the Carolinas, the Great Lakes region, and the Mississippi Valley. They prefer lakes but they also live in creeks and rivers.

Spawning: Spawning normally occurs shortly after ice-out in April or early May at water temperatures of 45-52ºF. Yellow perch spawning closely follows that of walleyes and often coincides with that of suckers. Yellow perch are random spawners, and do not construct nests, nor do they guard their eggs and their young.

Angling: Yellow perch are day feeders and are primarily bottom feeders with a slow deliberate bite. They eat almost anything, but prefer minnows, insect larvae, plankton, and worms. Tackle may range from a simple handline or a fly rod in summer to a short, whippy, jigging rod in winter. Because perch prefer cooler water, the best fishing is usually in deep water. Perch move about in schools, often numbering in the hundreds. If one spot is unproductive after a few tries, it is best to move to other spots until a school is located.

Though capable of adapting to a variety of habitats and water temperatures, yellow perch school near shore, usually at depths less than 30 feet. They feed in the morning and evening, rest on the bottom at night and continue feeding year-round -- to the gratification of ice fishermen. Perch are not scrappy adversaries like trout, but these full-bodied, large-finned panfish are a favorite and relatively easy target for breakwater anglers.

In addition to their delectable flesh, what endears yellow perch to anglers is that they run in schools and are eager biters. You can litererally catch them in bunches. Best baits are minnows, worms, small crayfish, insects, insect larvae, small flies, ice spoons and small jigs.

Perch are especially esteemed for their flesh that is white, flaky and delicious.

Yellow Perch

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