Yellow Perch

The Yellow Perch fish is a great choice for the budding angler, let’s show you everything you need to know about the Yellow Perch.

What Is a Yellow Perch Fish?

The Yellow Perch, also known as the American perch or striped perch, is a very popular freshwater game fish native to most of North America. It is considered a subspecies of the European perch, due to its ability to crossbreed and its similar morphology, and is a very sought-after species, primarily because of its fine taste.

A Yellow Perch is characterized by its dark vertical stripes, with a yellow or gold-colored body. They have an elongated body shape with two dorsal fins separated into spiny and soft-rayed sections. 

The Yellow Perch has a compressed body with an oval and oblong shape. The fins are either green or yellow-orange in color, and the dorsal fin is an olive color, while the belly is generally cream-colored. The Yellow Perch is also distinguished by seven dark vertical bars along each side. The fish is also categorized by a number of vertical bands, which fade as they go near to the belly. 

Another notable characteristic of the Yellow Perch is its many “teeth,” which are fine and very rough to the touch, which is due to their ctenoid scales, which are scales with comb-like edges which are overlapping, and this allows for greater flexibility in movement.

Where to Fish for Yellow Perch 

Yellow Perch are semi-anadromous, which means they spend time in freshwater and saltwater and tend to migrate to tidal water and brackish water. 

Yellow Perch is a great choice of fish for beginner anglers, as they are considered one of the easiest fish to catch, and are possible to catch in all seasons. Yellow Perch are found in many locations around the United States and Canada. Yellow Perch fish are thought to be approximately 85% of all the sport fish caught in Lake Michigan, but there are many great lakes that are homes for Yellow Perch, including Lake Cascade in Idaho, as well as popular angling locations in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Omaha. 

Some of the best locations tend to be in waters across the northern parts of the United States and throughout Canada. Many anglers go to the Great Lakes for the simple reason that there are vast collections of Yellow Perch. 

Yellow Perch are very adaptable fish and adjust to a variety of conditions in streams, ponds, and lakes. You will find them in large clear lakes with gravel sand or rock bottoms and a modest amount of vegetation. During winter seasons, they usually drift in the downstream portions of rivers. Yellow Perch favors cool water temperatures, usually between the mid-60s and low 70s degrees Fahrenheit.

You will find Yellow Perch are more active after dark, especially during the spawning season in the spring. The temperature of the water rises to about 44 degrees, and you will find the fish mating shallow waters, where they are active all day, every day. 

The best time of the year to fish for Yellow Perch is the fall, as the temperature is cooler as the summer causes the temperature to rise too much, which can make the fish so lethargic they stop feeding and become harder to catch.

Yellow Perch Fun Facts 

  • Yellow Perch mostly feed on invertebrates and are classed as either herbivores or omnivores. The diet of a Yellow Perch mainly consists of crustaceans, as well as insect larvae and corals. During the larval stage, they will feed on copepods and zooplankton.
  • Their spawning season is between the months of April and May, although in the northern hemisphere, Yellow Perch spawn between February and July, and between August and October in the southern hemisphere. They tend to spawn in shallow water and are very vigorous in their spawning. In fact, after they have spawned, adults eat the eggs, which is why they are removed in captivity!
  • The typical adult size of Yellow Perch is 6 to 10 inches, but a Yellow Perch can measure longer than 12 inches.
  • The world record Yellow Perch, measuring 18 inches and weighing 4 lb 3 oz, was caught in 1865 in New Jersey, and is the longest-standing record for freshwater fish in North America.
  • The oldest reported age for a Yellow Perch is 11 years, but on average, tend to live between 9 and 10 years. 
  • The Yellow Perch is also known as an American river perch or preacher.

Top Yellow Perch Fishing Lures & Tips 

If you want to fish for Yellow Perch, there are a number of things you need to factor in. Choosing the right baits for Yellow Perch all depends on your location. There are no right and wrong answers because it is down to a matter of personal preference. If you are choosing bait, you need to go with the bait that feels right. In many regions, people prefer minnows, but leeches and red worms are very popular too. You could also try larval baits like wax worms and maggots.

If you’re looking for the right lure, you can use a variety of jigs and spinners. The spinning or spin-cast combo spooled with 2 to 4 lb mono works best for lures or baits, as you are casting small bait to catch these dimple-mouthed panfish. Whether you are fishing with live bait or lures, a lightweight spinning rod with fast action and lots of casting range works best. However, while there have been instances of Yellow Perch being somewhat wary of lures, they should not be able not to tell the difference between lures, so you can use lures that resemble Yellow Perches.

When you are looking for perch, they tend to feed on the bottom, but if there is more food above them, this will cause them to rise up, so you should try on the bottom first, however, if you see schools of fish swimming up, you will get more of a catch. 

The best locations include piers and docks during the warmer months. The best approach is to bait a likely weighted hook with a minnow and relax until a perch takes a bite. It is one of the easiest fishes to get, and as a result, doesn’t require much effort. If you are looking for another approach to baiting, many anglers will remove an eyeball from a fish that they caught, and put that on a hook or use it on a tip that seems irresistible to Yellow Perch. But you need to check the rules for your fishing location before you do this.

Yellow Perch are schooling fish, which makes it an easy catch because you can find a school of between 50 and 200 fish on the move at any one time. When you are fishing during the late spring, you will see the fish move from shallow sites where they spawn going back to deeper locations. You will likely find fish inshore near water as deep as 30 feet. If you are lucky to locate a school of fish, you have to strike quickly, because you can start a feeding frenzy quickly, and land a lot of fish in quick succession. In fact, it’s likely that you can catch bite after bite. 

During the fall months, you can see Yellow Perch scattered all over a location, and while you may see some in shallow water, the larger fish will stay in deeper locations and will stay under the ice at depths of between 15 and 50 feet. This makes them a big challenge for anglers during colder conditions, but you need to fine-tune your skills before you get to this point.

Can You Eat Yellow Perch? 

You definitely can eat Yellow Perch! It is a very popular fish in the US, and the Yellow Perch is second only to the walleye as the most popular freshwater fish on menus. It is a very moist fish after cooking, and is white, with a sweet and mild flavor, and its texture is flaky but firm. 

The great thing about the Yellow Perch fish is that it is a smooth and flaky texture, which keeps it stable at different cooking temperatures, so you try it in many different scenarios without damaging the feel of the fillet. It is a very versatile fish because of its mild and sweet taste, and while it tends to get passed over in favor of the walleye, the Yellow Perch fish is a delicious fish and is popular in its own right.

A highly versatile dish, you can deep fry Yellow Perch, saute it, poach it, or even use it in chowder. Most recipes require the skin to stay on, and the flavor is a very mild but distinctive one. Overall, the Yellow Perch is a very delicious fish and highly sought after due to its taste.

The Yellow Perch fish is a great fish for anglers looking to fine-tune their experience in the water and is an easy catch for anyone looking for easy prey!