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American Yellow Perch

March 02, 2022

American Yellow Perch

Perca flavescens, yellow perch, is a freshwater fish of the family Percidae, native to North America. Yellow perch is a forage fish for different spot fishes. Yellow perch is a sport and commercial fish, and they are poor swimmers as they can not accelerate their speed and have a recreational catch.

Common Names of Yellow Perch:

There are some common names for yellow perch, which are as follow,

  • American Perch
  • Percher
  • American River Perch
  • Perch
  • Striped Perch
  • Coontail
  • Raccoon Perch
  • Dodd Fish
  • Jack Perch
  • Jumbo Perch
  • Ring-tail Perch
  • Lake Perch

General Characteristics:

Body Color and Body Shape:

Yellow perch has a gold or yellow body color with black vertical stripes, a cream-colored belly, and fins that are green or orange colored. Young yellow perch are white.

Yellow perch has an oval-shaped body, which is laterally compressed. The body of the perch is rough due to ctenoid scales.

Body Size and Body Weight:

Yellow perch is about 12 inches in length, and the average body weight is 6 pounds. Females are larger than males.


Yellow perch has two dorsal fins, which are olive in color; one is spined, and the other is soft rayed. The spiny dorsal fin has 13 to 15 spines, while the rayed dorsal fin has 11 to 15 rays. The anal fins are yellow-orange or green

The caudal fin is forked and homocercal.

Mouth and Teeth:

The teeth are small but fine and sharp. They have a sub terminal mouth for feeding, and at the bottom, they swallow their food as a whole.

Canine teeth are absent in them. They have slanting teeth lining along the jaws.

Habitat of Yellow Perch:

Perch fish is commonly present in brackish waters, streams, ponds, slow-moving rivers, littoral zones of lakes, and creeks. Perch usually inhabit the area near aquatic vegetation and schools near the shore. They prefer water bodies with sand, muck, or gravel bottom. They are present in weed-filled water bodies.

Perch fish live in clear water as turbidity can cause death; they inhabit moderate water temperatures and have a high tolerance to low oxygen levels.

Range of Yellow Perch:

The temperate water yellow perch is native to North America and is commonly found in the northern region of the Rocky Mountains and the Atlantic and Arctic oceans to the Mississippi River. It is a commonly known freshwater fish in Eurasia.

However, its range extends from its native region to the west of Central Canada to New Brunswick, South Carolina, to the west of Kennas.

Diet of Yellow Perch:

Perches being carnivores, have different eating behaviors as compared to other fishes. The diet depends upon the size of perch fish. Perch may eat,

  • Insect larvae
  • Zooplankton
  • Macroinvertebrates
  • Invertebrates
  • Fish eggs
  • Mysid shrimp
  • Small fish
  • Crustaceans

Predators of Yellow Perch:

In a freshwater environment, yellow perch is the food for many predators

  • Bass
  • Walleye
  • Northern pike
  • Crappie
  • Muskellunge
  • Trout
  • Sunfish
  • Cormorants
  • White pelicans
  • Eagles
  • Hawks
  • Gulls
  • Herons
  • Diving ducks
  • Kingfishers
  • Loons
  • Mergansers

Reproduction Cycle of Yellow Perch:

Yellow perch mature between 2 to 4 years of age. Perch fish are semi-anadromous. February to March is the spawning season when perch moves to shallow water. Spawning occurs at night and day.

Females lay about 23,000 amber-colored eggs. The eggs hatch in 8 -10 days, yellow perch larvae have well-developed jaws and eyes. Female perches can spawn eight times in their whole life. The average lifespan of perch is 13 years.

Perch Ice Fishing:

Perch is an abundant pan fish but quick to bite and hard fighting. They can be caught throughout the year, and as it is a schooling fish, it is not hard to find one.

When and Where to fish:

The best time to catch the perch is the feeding time when they are more active.

Perch are usually present near the shore or near the bottom.

Perch Fishing Tackle:

  • Graphite rod and Spinning Fishing reel 
  • Hooks( size: 4 to 8)
  • Artificial Fishing Lures( relatively smaller)
  • Baits(worms, minnows, crickets, small freshwater clams)
  • Boobers, Skinners
  • Jigs

Top Perch Lakes:

There is a list of top perch lakes which hold a good population and provides the best catch of yellow perch, and these are

  • Eagle Lake
  • Lake Cascade
  • West Okoboji
  • Wabigoon Lake
  • Devils Lake
  • Lake Simcoe
  • Nestor Falls

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