Yellow perch

General information about yellow perch (Perca flavescens), a cool-water fish species in Alberta.



  • Adults generally weigh less than half a kilogram (one pound) and are rarely longer than 25 centimetres (10 inches).


  • Their general body colour is golden yellow or green, with broad, dark vertical bands on the side.
  • They have needle-like spines on the dorsal fin.


  • Yellow perch are well-distributed throughout Alberta, except in the foothills and the mountains.
  • The illegal stocking of perch into stocked trout ponds is a concern to the angling community. Yellow perch compete with local trout species when introduced.

Natural History


  • This species usually travels in schools, and can often be found in shallows, bays, and patches of weeds.
  • Perch are more tolerant of low winter oxygen levels than many other native fish species in Alberta. However, they are still susceptible to winterkill. For more, see:


  • Diet consists of insects and other small organisms. Larger perch also eat other fish.

Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • Spawning occurs in spring.
  • Unlike other cool-water fishes that simply release eggs, perch lay their eggs in long, jelly-like bands.

Conservation and Management


Yellow perch are classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Current management


Perch are the most common sport fish in Alberta, giving hours of enjoyment to beginning young anglers. They are a very popular winter sport fish.

Yellow perch are cool-water game fish subject to current Alberta sportfishing regulations. For details, see the My Wild Alberta website at:

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