Fish and Aquatic Conservation

illustration of a Yellow perch

Yellow perch

Perca flavescens ( Mitchill, 1814)

Cool Facts

Yellow perch spawn between February and July in the northern hemispheres and between August and October in the southern hemisphere. The oldest reported age for a yellow perch is 11 years. The heaviest reported weight for a yellow perch is 1.9 kg (4.2 lbs.)

SIZE: The common length for yellow perch is 19.1 cm (7.5 inches) with the longest reported length for yellow perch being 50 cm (19.7 inches).

RANGE: Yellow perch are found in the drainages of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basin. In the United States, yellow perch range southward into Ohio, Illinois, and throughout the majority of the northeast. They are also considered native to the Atlantic slope basin, extending south into the Savannah River into South Carolina.

HABITAT: Yellow perch are found in ponds, lakes, the pools of creeks and slow flowing rivers. They are most commonly found in clear water near vegetation and tend to school near the shore during the spring. They can also be found in brackish water.

DIET: Yellow perch consume a wide variety of invertebrates and small fish species.

Natural History

Yellow perch spawning occurs during the spring as water temperatures rise along the shorelines. Yellow perch eggs are extruded in long ribbons along submerged vegetation, dead branches and trees. When female yellow perch extrude their eggs, groups of male yellow perch will follow the females and fertilize their eggs by extruding milt.

Larval perch emerge from these fertilized eggs. Survival rates of juvenile yellow perch are low because many fish utilize yellow perch as their natural forage species. Yellow perch are also easy prey for non‐native species.

In order to compensate for the low survival rates of their eggs and juveniles, yellow perch produce large quantities of eggs. This strategy enables small populations of yellow perch to rebound if favorable habitat conditions occur.


Yellow perch are an important commercial species as well as recreational fish species.. Commercial and recreational fishing regulations are used to manage yellow perch populations.

The combination of protecting both shoreline and submerged aquatic vegetation and riparian buffer zones will also help to stabilize yellow perch populations.