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Ontario Trout Fishing

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Yelow Perch

Perch 

Yellow Perch

Perca flavescens   The body of the yellow perch is oblong, somewhat compressed, and rough to the touch because of the ctenoid scales. The name, Perca
flavescens, is descriptive of the body coloration. Perca is an ancient name meaning dusky, and flavescens, yellowish. Generally speaking, the coloration conforms to the defiition; the back of the yellow perch is olivaceous, varying to greenish, and golden yellow on the sides, with six to eight dusky crossbars running from the back to below the middle of the sides; the belly is whitish or yellowish; the upper fins are dusky and separated; the pectoral fins are light in colour, and the pelvics pale bright orange, especially in the spring. There are numerous line teeth in the jaws but no canines. This serves to distinguish the perch from the young walleye which is the only fish it resembles.

Distribution
Yellow perch are commonly found in northern and northeastern North America from the Hudson Bay drainage south to Kansas and the northern portions of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, to western Pennsylvania, and in coastwise streams from Nova Scotia to South Carolina. They are commonly found in the Great Lakes drainage, and have been introduced to waters beyond their original range and, unwittingly, to many trout waters in Ontario, to the detriment of the trout.

Perch Range in Ontario

Habitat
Perch prefer lakes, ponds and sluggish streams; they are seldom found in strong currents. They are most numerous where there are expanses of open water, moderate amounts of vegetation and moderate fertility. Turbidity and siltation have been responsible for decreases in their numbers but, apparently, they are more tolerant of oxygen deficiency under the ice in winter than bluegills, smallmouth and largemouth bass and walleyes.

Habits
They often occur in large numbers, swimming in loose schools. They are essentially a lake fish although they may leave lakes and ascend streams in spring They prefer a temperature of about 70°F. and, as the temperature exceeds the preferred temperature, they seek deeper, cooler water. During the summer, they are most often associated with the cool water of the upper part of the thermocline At Lake Simcoe, they are known to frequent shallow water during the winter.

Spawning
Sexual maturity may be reached at two years. Spawning takes place in sheltered areas, usually at night during April and May, in five to ten feet of water. In Lake Simcoe, they migrate up large rivers to spawn. The spawning period often coincides with that of the sucker and follows that of the walleye.

Zigzag, gelatinous strings of eggs which the male fertilizes as they appear, are deposited freely in the water. The spawn 'often becomes attached to aquatic vegetation or submerged brush on sand, gravel or rubble bottom. The time between the depositing of the spawn and hatching is twelve to twenty-one days at a temperature of 45°F. to 50°F

 

 



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