Invasion HistoryFirst Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1891
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record: 1891
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record:
General Invasion History:
Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) is native to midwestern and eastern North America from Great Slave Lake, the St. Lawrence River, and Nova Scotia, south to Missouri and South Carolina. It has been widely introduced in the western US (Page and Burr 1991; USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2014). The Yellow Perch was introduced to the Columbia River system starting in 1891, with a multi-species release in Salem, Oregon, followed by many subsequent plantings in the Columbia drainage (Lampman 1946). This fish has been introduced to many other Pacific Coast river basins, but we are uncertain about occurrences in the estuaries of smaller rivers. However, it has been found in 'potholes' in or near the Chehalis River at Grays Harbor, Washington (2005, USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2014). It was introduced to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River system in 1908, and reached the Delta, but became extinct in that system by 1951 (Dill and Cordone 1997).
North American Invasion History:
Invasion History on the West Coast:
The Yellow Perch was probably introduced to the Columbia River system with a stocking of mixed 'spiny-rayed' fishes in Salem, Oregon in 1893. There were also plantings in Silver Lake, Washington, in the lower basin in 1894 and 1896, and caught in the mainstem of the river near Mount Coffin, Longview, Washington, in 1904, and was common in Portland markets by 1909 (Lampman 1946). Yellow Perch are common in the Lower Columbia in sloughs from Portland to Astoria (Farr and Ward 1993; Van Dyke et al. 2009; USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018).
In California, 3000 Yellow Perch were introduced to the Feather River, in the Sacramento River basin. Another stocking, of 3,980 perch was made in Lake Cuyamaca, near San Diego (Smith 1895). By 1910 to 1920, they were considered uncommon and established in the Central Valley and the inner Delta. However, this population declined, with the last specimens collected in in the late 1940s and early 1950s. There was an unofficial reintroduction to the Lafayette Reservoir, Contra Costa County, in 1984 (Dill and Cordone 1997), but Yellow Perch have not been have not been collected in Walnut Creek below the reservoir (Leidy 2007).
In 1946, Yellow Perch were found in 1946, in Copco Lake, Siskiyou County, on the Klamath River. By 1951, they were established in backwaters and dredge ponds along the river, as far as the mouth of the river in Klamath, California (Coots 1956), but are rare in the mainstem of the river (Dill and Cordone 1997; Moyle 2002).
Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:
Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) has not been introduced outside of North America, but its congener P. fluviatilis (Common Perch) has been widely introduced in Europe, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand (Lever 1996).
Perca flavescens (Yellow Perch) is a medium-sized freshwater fish, with a moderately compressed body, and two separate dorsal fins, one spiny, and one with mostly soft rays. The Yellow Perch has 12–14 dorsal spines in the first dorsal, and 1–2 spines and 13–16 rays in the second dorsal. There are 2 anal spines, and 6–9 rays. There is a complete lateral line and 52–61 lateral line scale. The snout is pointed, with a large mouth extends to the middle of the eye. The pelvic fins are jugular. Stunted males mature at at 100 mm, stunted females, at 135 mm, while adults rarely reach 400–450 mm. Yellow Perch are green above, and yellow on the sides, with 6–9 greenish-brown saddles, with a dark blotch at rear of the dorsal fins. The paired fins are yellow to red (Hardy 1978; Page and Burr 1991; Jenkins and Burkhead 1993; Murdy et al. 1997).
Potentially Misidentified Species
The Yellow Perch inhabits a wide range in northeastern and north-central North America, but requires relatively low temperature for spawning (5–18 °C) (Hardy 1978; Jenkins and Burkhead 1993). Adult fish tolerate salinities as high as 13 PSU (Hardy 1978). Estuarine populations mostly spawn in fresh water, but eggs and larvae of different populations from Chesapeake Bay tributaries developed successfully at 7–9 PSU (Victoria et al. 1992), and eggs have been found at 2.5 PSU (Hardy 1978). Yellow Perch inhabit a wide range of habitats, including ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers, including low-salinity estuaries (Page and Burr 1991; Murdy et al. 1997). Juvenile fish are planktivorous, and gradually switch to small benthic invertebrates such as snails, insects, and crayfish (Coots 1956; Jenkins and Burkhead 1993; Moyle 2002). Yellow Perch in the Klamath River do prey on small juvenile Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawystscha) (Coots 1956; Dahle 1979). Predators include fishes, birds, and humans.
zooplankton, mollusks, crustaceans, small fishes
Fishes, birds, humans
|General Habitat||Fresh (nontidal) Marsh||None|
|General Habitat||Grass Bed||None|
|General Habitat||Coarse Woody Debris||None|
|General Habitat||Nontidal Freshwater||None|
|General Habitat||Tidal Fresh Marsh||None|
|General Habitat||Salt-brackish marsh||None|
|General Habitat||Unstructured Bottom||None|
|Salinity Range||Limnetic||0-0.5 PSU|
|Salinity Range||Oligohaline||0.5-5 PSU|
|Salinity Range||Mesohaline||5-18 PSU|
The Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) is a medium-sized freshwater fish that enters brackish waters. Estuarine populations in Chesapeake Bay migrate up freshwater streams for spawning. Males mature at an earlier age (often in their second year, and 100–115 mm length), than females, who mature in their third year, at lengths above 135 mm (Hardy 1978; Jenkins and Burkhead 1993). Spawning occurs in late winter (Maryland) to early summer (Minnesota) at 2–18 °C, and usually at night (Jenkins an Burkhead 1993). Typically, a small school of males follow a female, and maneuver for a position near the female's vent. She lays a long string containing 7,000 to 138,000 eggs. Total fecundity ranges from 2000 to 138,000. Eggs are laid in shallow water, over rocks, sand, rubble, brush, or vegetation. Eggs develop in 8 to 51 days at 5 to 18 °C (Hardy 1978; Jenkins and Burkhead 1993). Larvae are planktonic, and can feed soon after hatching, although they have a yolk-sac. Growth varies considerably with temperature and food supplies—stunting is common in cold or crowded waters. Perch in the relatively cold Klamath River usually reach 270 mm by the end of their 5th year (Moyle 2002). Maximum longevity was 13 years in Pennsylvania (Jenkins and Burkhead 1993).
Tolerances and Life History Parameters
|Minimum Temperature (ºC)||4||Based on geographical range|
|Maximum Temperature (ºC)||33||Hardy 1978|
|Minimum Salinity (‰)||0||This is a freshwater fish.|
|Maximum Salinity (‰)||13||Field, Hardy 1978|
|Minimum Reproductive Temperature||2||Jenkins and Burkhead 1993|
|Maximum Reproductive Temperature||18||Jenkins and Burkhead 1993|
|Minimum Reproductive Salinity||0||This is a freshwater fish.|
|Maximum Reproductive Salinity||9||Experimental upper tolerances for freshwater-estuarine Chesapeake populations varied from 7-9 PSU. For an inland Pennsylvania population, the upper limit was 6 PSU (Victoria et al. 1993).|
|Minimum Length (mm)||100||For stunted males; 135 for females (Hardy 1978)|
|Maximum Length (mm)||356||Hardy 1978|
|Broad Temperature Range||None||Cold temperate-Warm temperate|
|Broad Salinity Range||None||Limnetic-Mesohaline|
Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) is a popular food and sport-fish, with good flavor, and easy to catch, but it is prone to stunting in cold water, poor food conditions, or overcrowded ponds. However, they are potential competitors with, and predators on, native fishes (Lampman 1946; Moyle 2002).
|P140||Klamath River||Ecological Impact||Predation|
80% of Yellow Perch fingerlings in a sample form the Klamath River contained Chinook Salmon fingerlings ((Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) (Dahl 1979). They are also predators on native minnows and suckers (some endangered) in the upper Klamath basin (Moyle 2002). Predation impacts on Chinook Salmon are probably low, because of the perch's low abundance, but young Chinook Salmon use the same backwater areas as Yellow Perch (Dahl 1979).
|P140||Klamath River||Economic Impact||Fisheries|
|Yellow Perch are a desirable food-fish, but are prone to stunting in small lakes and ponds. In the Klamath River, they support a minor, mostly incidental fishery (Coots 1956; Moyle 2002).|
|P260||Columbia River||Economic Impact||Fisheries|
Yellow Perch are a popular sport-fish and panfish. Websites indicate that fishing for Yellow Perch is popular in sloughs and lakes along the river.
Regional Distribution Map
|Bioregion||Region Name||Year||Invasion Status||Population Status|
|P090||San Francisco Bay||1908||Def||Extinct|
|GSLAVEL||Great Slave Lake||0||Native||Estab|
|GL-I||Lakes Huron, Superior and Michigan||0||Native||Estab|
|N036||_CDA_N036 (Maine Coastal)||0||Native||Estab|
|N040||Blue Hill Bay||0||Native||Estab|
|N116||_CDA_N116 (Piscataqua-Salmon Falls)||0||Native||Estab|
|N160||Plum Island Sound||0||Native||Estab|
|M040||Long Island Sound||0||Native||Estab|
|M060||Hudson River/Raritan Bay||0||Native||Estab|
|S050||Cape Fear River||0||Native||Estab|
|S056||_CDA_S056 (Northeast Cape Fear)||0||Native||Estab|
|S070||North/South Santee Rivers||0||Native||Estab|
|S076||_CDA_S076 (South Carolina Coastal)||0||Native||Estab|
|S070||North/South Santee Rivers||0||Native||Estab|
|S090||Stono/North Edisto Rivers||0||Native||Estab|
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Dahle, Trygve (1979) Observations of fingerling Chinook Salmon in the stomachs of Yellow Perch from the Klamath River, California, California Fish and Game 85: 158
Daniels, Robert A.; Limburg, Karin E.; Schmidt, Robert E; Strayer, David L.; Chambers, R. Christopher (2005) Changes in fish assemblages in the tidal Hudson river, New York., American Fisheries Society Symposium 45: 471-503
Dill, William A.; Cordone, Almo J. (1997) History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996, California Department of Fish and Game Fish Bulletin 178: 1-414
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