Shortage of Fish Fry Favorite: Yellow Perch

Sad news for the crew of the Barney Devine, a sea vessel being retired and replaced by a newer, more technologically advanced ship, Coregonus. The Barney Devine set out to record the number of yellow perch in Lake Michigan, but returned with a hole in her hull and a remarkably smaller number of recorded fish than previous years. Since the survey area was the same as previous years some researchers are unsure of the cause of the fishy decline. Some blame quagga, a mussel inhabiting the bottom of the lake, known to consume plankton, a valuable feeding resource for young perch. The DNR will not be changing bag limit (number of fish that can be caught) on yellow perch for the time being. For further information, see the WDNR news release.

Photo credit: WDNR website
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Yellow Perch Numbers Up In Green Bay

According to the Wisconsin DNR, Yellow Perch numbers are up this year, and are the third highest seen in the last 30 years. This may have to do with increased water temperatures that were present during spring and summer this year, as well as an early hatch. A high rate of mortality among first through third year yellow perch has the DNR concerned. Some causes are hypothesized, including predators such as walleye and/or northern pike, as well as birds called cormorants which the DNR are taking specific steps to control. More about the cormorant can be read here. Fishermen are not suspected as being problematic in this instance because most yellow perch they keep are around 8 inches or more, which typically occurs in the third year. Click here for the full press release from the WDNR.

WDNR photo shows an adult yellow perch with young-of-year perch.