Perch

A handsome and bold fish, the perch (Perca fluviatilis) has a greeny-brown back with a series of dark vertical bars across the upper sides. Find out more about this interesting fish, including hints and tips on how to catch one.

Perch, courtesy of Jack Perks Perch, courtesy of Jack Perks

A bold biting fish, small perch can be caught in abundance close to the nearside bank using maggots or a piece of worm as bait.

Carl Nicholls, fisheries & angling manager

Appearance: the perch has a greeny-brown back with a series of dark vertical bars across the upper sides and bright orange or red pelvic and anal fins. They have a very spikey dorsal fin and pointed gill covers, and care should be taken when handling them.

Size: up to 6lb

British record: 6lb 3oz (caught in Wilstone Reservoir, near Tring. British record committee 2015)

Lateral line scale count: 58-68

Lifespan: 7 to 12 years

We like perch because: for many of us, the perch was the first fish we ever caught as a child.

How to catch a perch

A bold biting fish, small perch can be caught in abundance close to the nearside bank using maggots or a piece of worm as bait. The bigger perch tend to be found in the centre of the canal and a good tactic is to feed plenty of worms and then use a worm or maggot hookbait over the top of where the loose feed was introduced. The perch will often swallow the hook deeply, this is best retrieved using a disgorger. In an emergency, cut the line as close as possible to the hook. Small and large perch alike can also be caught using small spinners and lures.

Where to catch a perch

Perch can be found in all our waters. Small perch are very common. Large perch are present in all canals but few in number. The Grand Union, Leeds & Liverpool, Trent & Mersey and Staffordshire and Worcestershire canals are very good waters with numbers of large perch caught each year, falling to worms or small lures. Don’t forget the current British record from Wilstone Reservoir, Tring.

Last date edited: 24 December 2020