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yellow perch

yellow perch (Perca flavescens) Photo © Lance Merry

Features and Behaviors

The average life span of the yellow perch is seven to eight years. Its average size is one-fourth pound in weight and six to 10 inches in length. It may attain a maximum length of 16 inches. This fish has two dorsal fins, the first with spines and a black spot. The deep body is flattened side-to-side. The body has a green back, yellow or yellow-green sides and a light belly. Six to nine dark bars are present along the sides.

The yellow perch lives in lakes and rivers. It schools near shore in Lake Michigan. This fish reaches maturity at an age of one to two years. It spawns in April and May. The female deposits 5,800 to 48,000 eggs that stick to aquatic vegetation. Eggs hatch in 12 to 21 days. The yellow perch feeds in the morning and evening and rests on the bottom at night. It eats fishes and insects.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Percidae

Illinois Status: common, native