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Fisheries Management

Fishing WisconsinGet to know the white perch

white perch in hand

The white perch in hand.

Native to Atlantic coastal regions of the United States, white perch likely invaded the Great Lakes through the Erie and Welland canals around 1950. The white perch is closely related to two native species, the white bass and the yellow bass and may adversely effect those other species in waters where it becomes abundant.


Wisconsin waters of the Great Lakes

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has identified white perch in Lake Superior, Green Bay, Lake Michigan and tributary streams. If you believe you have caught a white perch in these waters, do not transport it and release it into another body of water. DNR is concerned that anglers may mistake white perch for native white or yellow bass, and unknowingly release the invasive fish. For help in distinguishing between these species, please see our Identification guide below.

Inland waters

DNR is interested in preventing the spread of white perch to Wisconsin's inland waters. DNR is concerned that anglers may mistake white perch for native white or yellow bass, and unknowingly release the invasive fish. If you believe you have caught a white perch on a Wisconsin water other than Lake Superior, Green Bay, Lake Michigan or a tributary stream, please contact your local DNR fisheries biologists. You may not keep more than one white perch for transport to a DNR office for identification. For help in distinguishing between these species, please see our Identification guide.

Identification guide

White perch (Morone americana)

illustration of a white perch

White Bass (Morone chrysops)

illustration of a white bass

Yellow Bass (Morone mississipensis)

The yellow bass is very similar to the white bass, but the black lines on the body of the yellow bass are much more distinct, and appear to be "broken" and shifted up in the middle of the body on the yellow bass.

For assistance in distinguishing between the three species: white perch, white bass and yellow bass, try the Fish Identification System [exit DNR] Web site. Once at the site, click on the "About Wisconsin's Fish" button. On the next screen, enter "White Perch" in the white search window and click the "search" button. Next, click on "white perch" and the pictures will pop up. At the bottom of that screen click "Similar Species" for a Web page of the key characteristics of white perch, white bass, yellow bass and striped bass. In a nutshell, the stripes are the key to distinguishing between these species.

Regulations

The regulations concerning the season and harvest of white perch vary depending upon the waters you are fishing. Be sure to be familiar with hook and line fishing regulations for white perch.

For additional information on Wisconsin fishing, (e.g., maps, fish consumption advisories), please see our list of frequently asked questions.

Last revised: Friday August 31 2012