Yellow Perch
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Top view adult.
  • Bottom view adult.
  • Head-on view adult.
  • Close-up flank.
  • Close-up head.
  • Close-up mouth and snout.
  • Close-up tail.
  • Close-up dorsal fin.
  • Close-up anal fin.
  • Close-up pectoral fin.
  • Close-up pelvic fin.
  • Close-up head: Notice the lack of spines on the preopercle; the mouth is large (extending to the middle of the eye) without obvious canine teeth.
  • Close-up flank: Notice the 6-8 thick dark vertical bars on the flank.
  • There are two dorsal lobes with dusky pigmenation; there is no adipose fin; the flanks display vertical bars.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: Notice the two dorsal lobes; the first (spiny) lobe has dusky membranes and there are blotches in front and back.
  • Side view of a yearling: Juveniles are similar to adults, but are slightly less deep-bodied.
  • Side view yellow perch (top), and ruffe (bottom): Notice the different pigment patterns on dorsal fin and the flanks.
  • Alternative side view.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Perches (Percidae)
Mouth and snout: Mouth terminal and oblique, with minute teeth on the jaws. No barbels. Body patterning, color, and scales: Back brown or greenish, sides olive or yellow with 6-8 thick dark vertical bars, belly cream or white. First dorsal fin dusky and blackish on first 2 and last 3-4 membranes; other fins more lightly pigmented. Pelvic and pectoral fins often yellowish or reddish. 52-61 ctenoid lateral scales. Body shape and size: Body fusiform, laterally compressed and moderately deep; oval in cross section. Typically 150-300 mm (6-12 in) TL; maximum about 425 mm (17 in).
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Forekd tail. Dorsal fin with 2 lobes, distinctly separate, the first with 12-14 (usually 13) spines and the second with 2 spines and 12-14 rays. Pelvic fins thoracic. Adipose fin absent. Anal fin with 2 spines and 7-8 rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The yellow perch can be distinguished by it long dorsal fin with two distinct lobes, its lack of an adipose fin, and its thoracic pelvic fins, its 6-7 large dark vertical bars, its dusky first dorsal fin with dark blotches on the anterior-most and posterior-most membranes, and its finely serrated preopercle. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Similar to non-breeders.
Similar to adults, but slightly less deep-bodied (photos).
Compare Similar Species
Dorsal Fin
Perch, YellowLong with two distinct lobes
RuffeLong with two connected lobes
Trout-perchShort with one lobe
Adipose Fin
Perch, YellowAbsent
Position of Pelvic Fin
Perch, YellowThoraic
Body Pattern
Perch, YellowDark vertical bars on yellowish-green background
RuffeSpotted or mottled flanks on yellowish-green background
Trout-perchSpotted or blotched on silvery-olive background
Similarity Index
Perch, YellowN/A
RuffeModerately similar
Trout-perchModerately similar