Fish Files: Yellow Perch

Panfish are popular among the fishing community for many reasons. On light tackle, they can put up an exciting fight, they taste amazing, and most species have a high daily limit, which is indicative of the fact that most panfish can be found in groups. One such species of panfish that is notorious for amassing in large number, as well as being delicious, is yellow perch. Where the perch are plenty, anglers can be found crowding both the water and piers in hopes of bringing home a cooler of these striped beauties. Keep reading to find out more about perch and how you, too, can bring home enough of them to feed a small army.

Yellow perch are a pretty distinguishable species in the water. As panfish, they are small in size (usually 4 to 10 inches), though some have been known to reach 4 pounds, and are usually an olive green to light brown color with dark, vertical stripes. They are also known for having a bright yellow to yellow-orange patch under their jaw and belly.

Young perch usually feed on prey such as mosquitoes and other small insects or invertebrates. Adult perch branch out to feed on minnows, fish eggs, small crayfish, and grass shrimp. Perch tend to school and prefer cover such as weeds or structure, as many species consider them a food source. In larger bodies of water, such as the Great Lakes, they can be found at specific depths and occasionally at the bottom.

In regions where perch are prevalent, Lake Michigan for example, angling for the fish has quite a diehard following. Small panfish lures and natural bait under a float are effective tactics when seeking perch. Perch rigs (crappie rigs) are very popular, as well. These rigs can be tied to the end of your line, with a heavy sinker fixed to the bottom of the rig itself. Perch rigs have two wired loops that stick out several inches from the rig’s body. This is where many anglers tie a length of line and a hooked minnow. Because perch congregate in schools, this method is effective as it gets the bait down to the school and often produces two fish on one line.

Perch are one of the best tasting panfish species around and fishing for them can be a blast. Be sure to use lighter tackle, especially a longer, lighter action rod, when fishing for them, and prepare for a fun day once you get into a school. Furthermore, be sure to check out my recipes for perch from a few months ago. They’ll be sure to have you itching to get back out onto the water for more perch action.