Yellow perch are important panfish in New York State. They are relatively easy to catch and are often one of the first fish caught by youngsters and beginners.
While yellow perch are found throughout the State in a variety of habitats, they prefer shallow, weedy protected sections of rivers, lakes, and ponds. Ranging in length from six to 12 inches, yellow perch are easily distinguished from other perch by the five to nine black vertical bars on their yellow sides.
Yellow perch spawn in April or May. Adults migrate into shallow weedy sections and randomly release long strings (up to seven feet) of transparent eggs. The egg masses eventually adhere to submerged vegetation, where they remain until hatching.
Yellow perch are most active in the morning and evening. They eat a variety of organisms, including aquatic insects, crayfish, and fish.
Yellow perch are very tasty and are popular year-round, especially with ice fishermen. When handling the fish, care should be taken to avoid their sharp spines and sharp gill plates.