The perch (Perca fluviatalis) is one of the smaller freshwater predators in Europe. Because of its abundance and year-round activity, it is popular with anglers.
Danger of confusion
There is a danger of confusion especially with young pike-perch, whereby the simplest distinguishing feature is the thorn at the end of the gill cover, because only the perch has this. Usually the black stripes are also more pronounced in young perch, although this is hardly reliable, as this feature can vary depending on the waters.
World records and maximum size
The world record of a perch is 2.9 kg and a fish of 51.5 cm. The fish was caught on wobblers during spin fishing. Perches of over 40 cm are considered capital, but can also be caught with a little luck.
Distribution and origin
In general perch like weakly flowing rivers and stagnant waters. They even occur in brackish water. The perch occurs naturally in large parts of Eurasia. Only directly around the Mediterranean Sea it is not found in Europe and it is also not native to the far north in Iceland or Norway.
The spawning season takes place from March to June, then the sticky spawning lines are laid down on roots and water plants. Due to the high stickiness of the spawn, it is easily carried away by water birds.
Closed season and minimum sizes
Due to its frequent occurrence and low endangerment, the perch has a closed season or closed size only in a few federal states. In the following federal states it has one or both:
- Bremen 15 cm 01.02-15.05
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 17 cm inland waters and 20 cm coastal waters. No closed season in each case
As always, however, it is still possible for the perch to have a closed season or a closed season in individual waters. This(s) is usually stated on the permit for the respective water body.
Behaviour and natural food
The natural food consists of plankton and invertebrates, but fish are also often hunted and eaten. But the perch itself does not stop at conspecifics. While small perch are mainly found in shoals, the rule of thumb is that the larger the perch, the smaller the shoal or group. In general, perch are very curious fish, sometimes following the offered baits just out of interest.
Perch can be caught with almost all spinning lures. The best ones are spinners, rubber lures and small plugs. Generally baits up to 8 cm are suitable for perch. In the ideal case however rather 2-5 cm.
As natural baits maggots, worms and small bait fish are very good baits. Here you can also take advantage of the high tendency to cannibalism and use small perch as bait fish.
Fishing tackle for perch fishing
As rods ultra light to light spinning rods for perch are best suited also for natural bait fishing rods up to 25 grams casting weight are good perch rods.
Perch in aquaculture
Perch are popular food fish especially in Switzerland and are bred there as well as in Germany, although commercial aquaculture with perch is much smaller than with trout. The main problems are the pronounced cannibalism and the acceptance of dry food.
At Lake Constance, as well as at other lakes in the foothills of the Alps, the perch is the breadfish of professional fishermen in addition to whitefish. Due to the increasingly clean water, perch have not been growing well for a long time and many stocks have been bled out.
Perch as an edible fish
Perch is an excellent edible fish that is strongly underestimated in many regions of Germany. Its white, firm and relatively lean meat has a fine taste. Therefore you shouldn’t season it too much – just fry it with or without breading in butter or clarified butter is a very simple and tasty method of preparation.