Yellow Perch

Perch are small to medium sized, bottom-dwelling, freshwater fish. In North America, true perch were confined, originally, to the area east of the Rocky Mountains, but some species have been introduced to the West. They spawns in spring (Apr-May) in southern Canada, as late as July in the North. The largest adult yellow perch are usually 20-30 cm (7-11 in) long, weighing 170-340 g (1/2-3/4 lb). Specimens as large as 35 cm (13 in) have been taken in eastern Canada, and one taken in Quebec weighed almost 2 kg (1lb). In Canada, Perch are classed as a sport and commercial fish. In spring, numerous larger individuals, migrating to spawning grounds, attract anglers. The white, flaky, very tasty flesh makes yellow perch a prominent commercial species in the Great Lakes.

Yellow Perch caught at Woman River Camp, Ontario
Stringer of Yellow Perch caught at Woman River Camp

Where to Find Perch

In Canada, this species has a wide native distribution, from Nova Scotia across Ontario, northward through most of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and southern British Columbia.

Understanding Perch Behavior

Both young and adults form schools of 50-200 individuals, making them attractive to anglers and commercial fishermen. Perch are active all year round, however, the period from late summer through early spring is the best time to catch perch. During warmer weather, perch are found in shallower waters. In the winter, they go deeper.

How to Catch Perch

Perch are common across the US and Canada. Since they're available in so a variety of spots, and they're relatively easy to catch. Perch fishing is popular among anglers and families alike. Like many fish species, perch can often be found near rocky areas or edges of structures that provide shelter. They like to move among piles of rocks and wood, rather than spending time in completely open water. As for tackle, using a lightweight jig (1/8 to 1/2 oz) or a small (#10-#14 hook) with live bait is best. Perch hit light and will take some patience and extra bait to land, but with perseverance will also come a full stringer. Be sure to check to local/provincial websites for the specific conservation guidelines and regulations.

Rigging for Jumbo Perch