Our Wild Neighbors

Perch

Perca flavescens

A regular visitor in Canadian lakes and ponds

Image of a Perch, mounted and shown in profile facing right.

Description of the animal

  • Oval-shaped fish measuring 10 to 25 centimetres long.
  • Elongated body, with greater height than width.
  • Greenish-yellow flanks, white stomach, and dark green to golden brown back. The dark colour runs onto its flanks in six to eight large vertical stripes.
  • Dorsal and caudal fins vary in colour from yellow to green. Anal and thoracic fins are opaque yellow or silvery white. Pectoral fins are amber and transparent.
  • Its first dorsal fin is spiny while the second is made up of soft rays.
  • Short dorsal spines at the tip of its operculum and on its anal fin.
  • Rounded snout that does not protrude beyond its lower jaw.
  • Several small teeth.

Habitat and needs

  • Found in warm freshwater (between 18°C and 22°C). The Yellow Perch is particularly fond of lakes with moderate vegetation density.
  • A schooling fish. The Yellow Perch is gregarious.
  • During winter, it remains active and finds food under ice.
  • Feeds mostly during the day. Its diet is mainly made up of aquatic insects, large invertebrates, small fish, and fish eggs.
  • Its breeding and survival depend on habitat conditions.
  • Grows very slowly, approximately 2.5 centimetres per year.

Relationship

  • Angling is used for fishing the Yellow Perch in both summer and winter. It is not a very strong fighter!
  • Very important to commercial fishing, the Yellow Perch is the species that brings in the most market revenue in Ontario. Fished extensively in the Great Lakes.
  • Connoisseurs say that the Yellow Perch is one of the finest tasting freshwater fish.
  • Students dissect it to study the anatomy of bony fish. It is also the subject of many studies on the impact of metals on freshwater environments.

Living with them

  • It should be noted that the largest yellow perches are found in large lakes with relatively clear water.
  • Act responsibly and respect applicable laws and regulations, especially quotas.
  • Catching the Yellow Perch is relatively easy, making it perfect for introducing children to fishing.
  • The Yellow Perch mustn’t be introduced to other lakes, it could menace native fish.

Participating cities where this animal has been seen