The perch is one of the most successful predators out there, partially due to its fantastic camouflage. They shoal according to year class, and its not unusual to catch them one after another.
Anything above 2lb, and 16inches in length is considered to be a fine catch.
The only fish that perch could possibly be mixed up with is a small ruffe. Its back and shoulders are a dark olivey colour, which fades gradually into a lighter olive, sometimes with a golden tinge, along its flanks, with a silvery cream belly. Perch have between seven to nine vertical stripes, giving them the nickname of "stripies".
Its tail, pelvic and anal fins are a bright orange-red, and behind its sharp gill plate are its pectorals, which are completely translucent. It has two separate dorsal fins (here, the ruffe is different, which a continous dorsal fin) - these bristle when the perch is chasing food or alarmed. Its front dorsal has spikes and dark patches, whereas the second dorsal has soft branched rays.
The perch has very rough scales and a has no teeth, as such, in its extremely large mouth - its expandable bony jaws are capable of engulfing a fish nearly half its size.
At a young age, perch will eat aquatic insects, and will then progress to small fish like minnows, gudgeon, roach, rudd, bleak, dace and even baby perch. Deadbait is very effective with perch particularly in heavily coloured water, but when using it, it is most effective when freshly killed. Perch will also take single maggot or caster, and all perch love worms. Another thing they will go for it artificial lures such as small spinners like Ondex and Voblex and spinner baits.
Perch spawn in early spring, generally around April. Their eggs are stringy and white, and they will drape over wilow roots, reedlines and sunken bankside trees until ready to hatch. This generally takes about a week.
Perch can be found in most rivers and stillwaters, close to and among habitat features. They will use their camouflage to blend in with reedstems, fallen trees, wooden pilings, and thick weeds. As well as hiding like this, they will also be happy in deep, clear water where they can clearly see any enemy.
Look out for...
Perch love to hang out tight to bridges and their stanchions.
Overhanging bushes and trees are perfect perch hotspots.
Perch will hide close to reedbeds where they ambush their prey.
Perch are generally very widely distributed - they are common throughout all British Isles, and also in Europe and Asia. They will also be found to be doing well in Australasia, north America and south Africa.