The yellow perch is one of the most commonly caught fish in Minnesota. This smaller cousin of the walleye is good to eat and eagerly bites worms, but it often is so small that anglers throw them back into the water. Like sunfish and bluegills, perch are considered "panfish," or fish commonly caught to be cooked in a frying pan and eaten.
General description: A small fish that is usually yellow on the sides with wide dark bands coming down the sides from its back.
Length: Average length is about 6 inches but some reach a foot or more.
Weight: Average about 1/3 pound.
Color: Yellow with dark bars.
Yellow perch spawn in early May in southern Minnesota and in mid-May in northern lakes.The eggs hatch after two or three weeks. The newborns (fry) eat plankton and water fleas and are eaten by many newly hatched predator fish such as walleyes and burbot.
Perch eat minnows and the young of other small fish. They also eat insects such as mayflies.
Many larger predatory fish will eat perch.
Habitat and range
Lakes, slow-moving rivers, reservoirs, and ponds. The perch is found in these types of waters throughout Minnesota.
Population and management
Minnesota is loaded with perch. But on many lakes, the average size of perch is decreasing because of overfishing. In the past, there was no limit on the number of perch you could catch and keep. But in recent years the limit has been lowered. The DNR hopes to increase the average size of perch by decreasing the number of perch killed by anglers.
Basically a miniature walleye, the perch is a great food fish. The fish is especially popular with out-of-state anglers such as those from North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, where perch are a highly desirable fish.