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Fishes of WisconsinYellow perch

Common name: Yellow perch

yellow perch illustration

Illustration by Virgil Beck.

Scientific name: Perca flavescens (Perca means "dusky"; flavescens means "becoming gold colored")

Distribution: The yellow perch occurs in all three drainage basins in Wisconsin (Lake Michigan, Mississippi River, and Lake Superior), in all of the state's boundary waters, and in Lakes Michigan and Superior. Because the yellow perch is a glacial lakes species, it is widely distributed except in the unglaciated region of southwestern Wisconsin.

Spawning: Spawning normally occurs shortly after ice-out in April or early May at water temperatures of 45 - 52º F. Yellow perch spawning closely follows that of walleyes and often coincides with that of suckers. Yellow perch are random spawners, and do not construct nests, nor do they guard their eggs and their young.

Angling: Yellow perch are primarily bottom feeders with a slow deliberate bite. They eat almost anything, but prefer minnows, insect larvae, plankton, and worms. Tackle may range from a simple handline or a fly rod in summer to a short, whippy, jigging rod in winter. Because perch prefer cooler water, the best fishing is usually in deep water. Perch move about in schools, often numbering in the hundreds. If one spot is unproductive after a few tries, it is best to move to other spots until a school is located.

Last revised: Friday August 31 2012