Fish Fact Thursday: Yellow Perch
Yellow perch are some of the first fish to spawn in lakes and ponds around Ohio, when water temperatures approach 45 degrees F. Perch are also unique with their method of spawning; laying large strands or ribbons of eggs that drape around submerged vegetation and structure. They provide no parental care to the eggs after deposited so keeping them off the pond bottom helps to aerate the eggs and prevent smothering by the accumulation of sediment. Since perch fry are the first hatch of the year, predation is typically high and survival rates are low. Maintaining areas of shallow, submersed or emergent vegetation and adding fish structure (brushpiles, rocks, artificial structure) can help fry survival rates. When introducing perch to a new pond, plan on stocking them multiple years until the adult population is high enough to have surviving spawn. It is not recommended to stock adult perch first in a new pond where other species are also wanted; if there aren’t enough predators after spawn, the vulnerable perch will instead become the predators of later-spawning fry such as bass, bluegill, etc. When a balanced food chain is present, however, perch will become both prey and predator, adding to the overall biodiversity and enjoyment of the system. Like crappie and walleye, perch are often stocked with the intention of harvest but they also make for a fun catch, especially with younger kids. Yellow perch are predominantly piscivorous as adults, but, like most fish, will take any easy meal when presented. Perch are readily caught on jigs, swimbaits and other small minnow imitations as well as virtually all live-bait. Do you have any pictures of catching yellow perch? If so, drop us a line and picture!
The author Alec Hillyer is a fishing and outdoor enthusiast! He has extensive knowledge in aquatic biology and earned his Bachelor of Arts in zoo and wildlife biology from Malone University in Canton, Ohio. When not fishing or hunting, he spends his time as a manager at Fender’s Fish Hatchery and is a private lake consultant. He worked for AquaDoc as an Aquatics Biologist and is USDA certified in applying pesticides. Have specific questions for Alec? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Instagram at alec_outdoors.