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Perch (European)

Fishing for European Perch

The European Perch is a predatory species of perch found in Europe and northern Asia. The species is a popular quarry for anglers, and has been widely introduced beyond its native area, into Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. They have caused substantial damage to native fish populations in Australia and have been proclaimed a noxious species in New South Wales.European perch can vary greatly in size between bodies of water. They can live for up to 22 years, and older perch are often much larger than average; the maximum recorded length is 60 cm (24 in). As of May 2016, the official all tackle world record recognised by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) stands at 2.9 kg (6 lb 6 oz) for a Finnish fish caught September 4, 2010.  In January 2010 a perch with a weight of 3.75 kg (8 lb 4 oz) has been caught in the River Meuse, Netherlands. Due to the low salinity levels of the Baltic Sea, especially around the Finnish archipelago and Bothnian Sea, many freshwater fish live and thrive there. Perch especially are in abundance and grow to a considerable size due to the diet of Baltic herring.The range of the European perch covers freshwater basins all over Europe, excluding the Iberian peninsula. Their range is known to reach the Kolyma River in Siberia to the east. It is also common in some of the brackish waters of the Baltic Sea. European perch has been widely introduced, with reported adverse ecological impact after introduction. 

The European perch lives in slow-flowing rivers, deep lakes and ponds. It tends to avoid cold or fast-flowing waters but some specimens penetrate waters of these type, although they do not breed in this habitat. Perch are gregarious, and in the winter months, when floods have destroyed weed beds, they congregate together in pools. Adults occur in slow-flowing rivers, deep lakes and ponds; avoids cold, fast-flowing waters but may penetrate into but not breed in such waters. Normally found lying close to or amongst obstacles in the water. Found in some of the brackish waters of the Baltic Sea. Common where there is abundant aquatic vegetation. A predatory species, juveniles feed on zooplankton, bottom invertebrate fauna and other perch fry while adults feed on both invertebrates and fish, mainly stickle-backs, perch, roach and minnows. Baits for perch are minnows, or brandling, red, marsh, and lob worms, shrimps and artificial lures. The tackle should be fine but strong. When using a fish as bait, a trout or pike may occasionally be hooked, therefore the perch angler has a certain responsibility to use a wire trace with such baits as considerable damage could be done to pike or trout if light line is broken. Artificial lures may also be quite effective, particularly for medium sized perch. Used to be cultured commercially in Australia. Its flesh is excellent and not so bony. Utilized fresh and frozen; eaten pan-fried and baked. May be captured with natural or artificial bait 

The perch spawns at the end of April or beginning of May, depositing it upon weeds, or the branches of trees or shrubs that have become immersed in the water; it does not come into condition again until July. Spawning occurs in spring. The egg mass is unpalatable to other fish and is therefore protected. The eggs hatch in 1-3 weeks and the young form schools for some time before taking up a solitary existence. Eggs grouped in long white ribbons (up to 1 m) are found over submerged objects. The dietary preferences have created fears among conservationists who believed this species adversely affects stocks of native fishes including Murray cod, Macquarie perch, pygmy perches and rainbow fishes. 

Most fish are caught in early winter months during their spawning run in the upper tributary waters where they are very easy to catch. During the rest of the year, they inhabit a vast territory, a wide variety of habitats, are a schooling fish, and congregate near shore in the spring. They are also taken recreationally mainly because of their flavor and their desire to take a baited hook. Yellow perch are most active during the daytime. For best results, use a rod designed for light to medium action with a casting or spinning reel with hooks sizes 4 to 8. The single best bait is minnows. The smaller the minnow, the better. Artificial bait also work great. The high season for perch jigging begins at the end of July, when waters are warm and the perch begin to form shoals. The season heats up until the end of September and continues until the waters freeze over. Perch jigging can also be done after spawning season in the spring, near the spawning areas. The spring season is short and only lasts for a few weeks. As waters warm up in the summer, you can look for perch in warm shallow bays and places with a strong current.A nautical chart and sonar are a great help in looking for fishing grounds. A nautical chart is used to identify suitable areas, and sonar helps to pinpoint the exact location on approach. The best underwater hills rise from a depth of over ten meters to 8-5 meters. For jigging, the most suitable seabed is hard and without vegetation.The fairly light spinning tackle is used for jigging. A vigorous progressive action rod suits the purpose, because it is able to carry a heavy bait. It is also more difficult for fish to escape when using a vigorous rod rather than a feeble rod. Ultralight reels and first class spinning reels are appropriate, light multipliers are also used. Monofilament or co-filament fishing lines are both suitable for jigging. The advantage of using co-filament fishing line is its high resistance, which makes the line more sensitive to bite. Co-filament fishing line also has a high breaking strain, which means that a thinner line can be used. As a result, the bait can be cast further and it sinks faster. Monofilament fishing line is more abrasion resistant than co-filament line. The diameter of the fishing line should be 15-30 mm for monofilament lines and 10-18 mm for co-filament lines.

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