Yellow Perch

Identification & Biology
Alias' : Perch, Lake Perch, River Perch, Striped Perch, Ringed Perch, Common Perch
Latin Name : Perca flavescens
Category : Fish
Description :
  • Oval shaped and laterally compressed, 10-15 cm long 
  • Bright green to olive back, yellow-green sides, and white belly 
  • Approximately seven green-brown vertical bands on the sides 
  • Two dorsal (back) fins; the fin closest to the head is taller and longer 
  • Yellow-green dorsal (back) and caudal (tail) fins, yellow-red pelvic fins 
  • Forked tail


Yellow Perch are members of the Percidae family of freshwater fish. They are known to be one of the best-tasting freshwater fish available, and also one of the easiest to catch. They are a cool water species and are most often found in schools of 50-200 fish. Yellow Perch spawn in the spring and females may produce 10,000-40,000 eggs. 

Yellow Perch is commonly confused with Walleye (Sander vitreus) and European Perch (Perca fluviatilis). Yellow Perch can be distinguished from Walleye by its bright yellow-red pelvic fin, oval and laterally compressed body, and its vertical body bars. While Yellow Perch and European Perch are extremely similar in appearance, European perch are able to grow much larger. 

Look Alikes

Yellow Perch are native to some parts of North America, such as the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River and Mississippi River basins, but have been introduced beyond their native range. They can be found in freshwater lakes, ponds, pools of creeks, rivers, along with brackish waters. They are able to withstand a wide range of water temperatures, allowing them to establish in northern and southern lakes in B.C. Yellow Perch have spread northwards into the Pend d’Oreille, Kootenay and Okanagan watersheds in British Columbia from introduced populations in Washington State. They are also present on Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland regions, which is most likely due to intentional introductions.  

Impact & Risks
  • Can impact ecosystem biodiversity by predating heavily on young fish and insects. 
  • Are known carriers of parasites that are harmful to other fish species. 
  • Can compete with native fish species for food and habitat. 
  • Have shown to impact salmon growth and survival in small B.C. lakes where they have been introduced. 
  • Once established, Yellow Perch can reproduce and spread quickly. Mature individuals will also swim to new regions in search of food. 
Prevention & Mitigation
  • Do not transfer and/or release Yellow Perch within B.C. Movement of live fish is prohibited in BC. 
  • Use of live bait is prohibited in BC. 
  • Do not release aquarium fish into the wild. 
  • Raise awareness to avoid further spread in B.C. waters. 
  • Properlyclean,  drain,  dry  your boat and equipment before entering a new water body. 
  • CLEAN  off all plant parts, animals, and mud from boat and equipment (e.g. boots, waders, fishing gear). Use a power wash station if available 
  • DRAIN  onto land all items that can hold water (e.g. buckets, livewells, bilge, and ballast) 
  • DRY  all items completely before launching into another body of water 
  • Report Yellow Perch, or any other invasive species via the Report Invasives phone app, that is available from the provincial website.
Treatment & Disposal


Okanagan Distribution

Priority Level Definitions

Watch For - Poses a significant threat (very high risk) and does NOT presently occur in the region OR is relatively new to the region and is very limited in extent.
High - High risk/impact; limited population with significant potential to spread in the region.
Medium - Medium risk/impact; limited distribution – broader population distribution with potential to spread further in a region.
Low - Low risk/impact; may be widespread or not, may be of concern in specific situations with certain high values – e.g. specific agriculture crops. Some species may be treated primarily with biological control agents.