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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - TSO Perch

Marine Fisheries

 

white perch

 

 

 

White Perch

Morone americana

AKA: gray perch, blue-nosed perch, silver perch, sea perch

Description: White perch are silvery chunky-bodied fish, about three times as long as they are deep, not counting the tail. The back is olive-brown to blackish-green with the color shading to a paler silvery-green on the sides and silver-white on the belly. The fins are dusky. A tiny notch separates their two dorsal fins. Young fish, with dark lateral stripes, may resemble striped bass. The stripes on an adult white perch are faint or non-existent.

Size: White perch grow to 19 inches, though catches commonly range from 8-to-10 inches, weighing less than a pound. No citations are given for white perch.

Sometimes confused with: juvenile striped bass, white bass

Habitat: White perch are found in brackish and freshwaters along the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to South Carolina, especially in large sounds like the Chesapeake Bay or Albemarle
Sound.

Eating habits: The diet of white perch varies with the season. They eat bottom-dwelling insect larvae in the winter and early spring. In the warmer months, they eat large burrowing mayflies, water fleas and small fish, squid and crabs. White perch also eat the eggs of many fish species.

Life cycle: White perch are semi-anadromous, migrating from brackish water to freshwater to spawn in the spring, moving back to deeper, saltier water for the fall and winter. Peak spawning in North Carolina occurs in April and May.

Fishing tips: Anglers catch white perch by drift fishing with live minnows and casting or trolling small artificial baits, such as jigs and spoons, in the vicinity of surface-feeding schools. In North Carolina, most white perch fishing occurs in the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds and their tributaries.

See also:
Perch tagging program rewards

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N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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