Yellow perch are more than great table fare. They’re an important Minnesota fish species as forage for predators such as walleye and as a targeted sport fish.
The DNR has survey yellow perch for decades. The data shows a statewide decrease in catch over time.
Perch are very adaptable to different environmental conditions and populations can look very different from lake to lake, with some containing mostly smaller fish and others having destination trophy fisheries.
Standard nets used during population sampling only collect yellow perch larger than five inches so it is unknown if overall populations are decreasing or if populations are shifting to smaller individuals. Interestingly, research has shown that in some Minnesota lakes, yellow perch can live out their entire life cycle without reaching five inches in length.
A collaborative research project is underway to develop methods for more effectively sampling of yellow perch two inches long and larger and describe the range of population types that exist in lakes throughout Minnesota.