Perch, lake perch, river perch, striped perch, ringed perch, American perch, and common perch.
Average 7-10 inches. Yellow perch can grow to 10-14 inches in quality waters.
2.75 lbs; Larry Benthien; Snelson's Slough, Skagit County; June 22, 1969
Yellow perch is one of several "panfish" species in Washington which is very popular across the state because they are easy to catch, they are a great "family fishing activity" and they are outstanding eating quality. Yellow perch are easily identified by the golden-yellow coloration on their sides from which they get their most familiar common name as well as their scientific name, flavescens (yellow). The intensity of color may vary with age and with water clarity. Young perch and those found in clear lakes tend to have less yellow coloration. The common names "striped" and "ringed" perch come from another distinguishing feature, the six to eight broad, dark vertical bands running along their sides. The bands extend over their backs and end near their white belly. The other member of the perch family in Washington is walleye, also an extremely popular game fish.
Yellow perch are found statewide in almost any water from very small ponds to the largest reservoir. Small lakes and ponds can provide exceptional yellow perch angling; however, yearly changes within the fish community often produce inconsistent fisheries from year to year. Larger waters often provide the most consistent fisheries for size and numbers of fish. Today, a few of the popular and productive small lake fisheries include: Downs Lake (Lincoln County), Bonnie Lake (Lincoln County), Hutchinson Lake (Adams County), Evergreen Reservoir (Grant County), Fish Lake (Chelan County), Roses Lake (Chelan County), Leader Lake (Okanogan County), Lake Cassidy (Snohomish County),Lake Fenwick (King County), and Lake Sawyer (King County). Popular large water yellow perch fisheries include: Long Lake (Spokane County), Banks Lake (Grant County), Moses Lake (Grant County), Potholes Reservoir (Grant County), Palmer Lake (Okanogan County), Lake Samish (Whatcom County), Lake Sammamish (King County), Lake Stevens (Snohomish County), Lake Goodwin (Snohomish County), Lake Whatcom (Whatcom County), and Lake Washington (King County).
Most yellow perch waters are managed under the statewide general regulation of no minimum size and no daily bag limit. Several lakes across Washington with yellow perch populations are managed by the special regulations listed below. Regulations may change from year to year, so make sure you consult the latest regulations pamphlet for accurate information on the water you intend to fish.
- Banks Lake (Grant County) - Daily Limit 25
- Moses Lake (Grant County) - Daily Limit 25
- Potholes Reservoir (Grant County) - Daily Limit 25
- Fish Lake (Chelan County) - Daily Limit
Because of their extremely high reproductive potential and early sexual maturity, the most productive perch fisheries are usually found in larger lakes or reservoirs, and many smaller lakes and ponds eventually become overpopulated. Some anglers claim yellow perch are so willing to be caught that they will bite a bare hook. You are more likely to be successful if you add a worm to the hook. Other common options for catching perch include small jigs and lures tipped with maggots, wax worms, shrimp, or small pieces of perch meat. Perch are notorious bait thieves, and once you’ve found a school, be sure to allow time for them to nibble so you don’t pull up a bare hook.
Although most anglers agree yellow perch are a reliable catch, there is a trick to consistently catching large fish. Yellow perch move in schools searching for food, and though they can be found at various depths, they tend to feed near the bottom. The successful angler should also move around in search of them, starting near the bottom and working towards the surface before moving to a new location. Schools of perch are commonly found at or near drop-offs between the littoral zone and deeper water. Once you find a school of perch, anchor, and continue to fish that location.
Tackle may be as simple as a small graphite rod with an open faced spinning reel, the more sensitive the better. Use small, fine hooks or jigs with bait and a small bobber with just enough buoyancy to signal even the lightest bites. Yellow perch are active throughout the year, making them a favorite target of anglers. During winter, perch often move to deeper waters, feeding exclusively off the bottom. On some lakes, anglers fish in 20 to 50 feet of water to catch yellow perch in the winter. Ice anglers fish for perch with short jig poles, some with specialized spools only large enough to accommodate 50 to 60 feet of line.