Yellow Perch - (Perca flavescens)
Length:6 to 10 inches
Weight:6 to 16 ounces
Coloring: bright green to olive to golden brown on back; yellow-green, yellow on sides; grey to milk-white below
Common Names: perch, lake perch, American perch
Found in Lakes: Michigan, Huron, Ontario, Erie and Superior
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. Perch are especially esteemed for their "inner qualities" -- a flesh that is white, flakey and delicious.
These native fish have also been a mainstay of the lower Great Lakes commercial fishery, particularly on Lake Erie, where 11.3 million pounds of perch were landed in Ohio waters alone in 1981 But they have never figured highly in Lake Superior's commercial catch. In Lake Michigan, the perch catch averaged a respectable 2.4 million pounds a year from the time the first records were kept in 1889 through 1970.
But Lake Michigan's yellow perch numbers appear to have decreased 80 percent since 1990. The states surrounding the lake have put new regulations on yellow perch fishing. Wisconsin banned commercial fishing for yellow perch in Lake Michigan and cut the daily bag limit to five, beginning Jan. 1, 1997.
Sea Grant-sponsored field research last summer found that the populations of yellow perch in Lake Michigan have risen slightly, but the popular fish remains relatively scarce. See our news release and fact sheet for the latest information.
copyright 2001 University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
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