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Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens)
Yellow perch are a member of the perch family (Percidae). Mature body length of this species ranges between 6” to 16" and can weigh up to 2 pounds. Yellow perch are native to the upper Midwest and Canada, and typically are found in lakes and large rivers. P. flavescens prefer moderate water temperatures between 19 – 21˚C. They have sharp spines in their first dorsal fin, and usually have yellowish sides with dark vertical bars on their side with a white underside, during spawning their fins sometimes turn bright orange. The life span of yellow perch typically is typically less than 7 years. Yellow perch are an important food source for predatory fish, such as the walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, white bass, white perch, and lake trout. They are also a prey item for herring gulls and diving ducks. They are a popular sport fish in the Great Lakes region, since they are one of the few fish active during the winter. Yellow perch also support a commercial fishery in Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Huron. Researchers at the WFRC have tested yellow perch susceptibility against various strains of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV). This fish has proven to be an excellent positive control species for challenge experiments and will be utilized in future fish health studies.