Population biology of yellow perch in southern Lake Michigan, 1971-79

Technical Paper 109




This study was based mainly on gill-net collections of yellow perch (Perca flavescens) made during July and August 1971-79, in southern Lake Michigan at Grand Haven, Saugatuck, South Haven, Benton Harbor, and New Buffalo, Michigan; Michigan City and Gary, Indiana; Waukegan, Illinois; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Abundance of yellow perch was above the 1971-79 average in 1971 and 1972, below average in 1979, and about average or in doubt in the other years. Abundance during 1976-79 was greatest at Saugatuck and decreased more or less progressively from Saugatuck southward and around the southern end of the lake. The geographical differences in abundance were attributable partly to differences in fishing mortality. Average lengths of fish caught were greatest at Saugatuck, and generally greater in Michigan waters than in other areas; they were greater for females than for males. Fish sampled ranged in age from I to IX, but 88% of the males and 81% of the females were of ages II-V. Older perch were generally more common in State of Michigan waters, particularly at Saugatuck, than elsewhere. Females grew faster than males after the second year of life. Average lengths of males and females at the end of 3 years were 197 and 214 mm, respectively, in Michigan waters and 186 and 195 mm in Indiana-Illinois (few perch were caught in Wisconsin). The relation of weight (W) to length (L) for combined sexes was W = 2.6761(10-6) x L3.2644. Perch in southeastern Lake Michigan spawned mainly from late May to mid June. Virtually all males were mature in their second year, but some females not until their fourth year. Perch 174 to 355 mm long contained 9, 300 to 136, 000 eggs. Approximate mortalities of males and females in Michigan waters were 52% and 48%, respectively; rates were higher in Indiana-Illinois.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Federal Government Series
Population biology of yellow perch in southern Lake Michigan, 1971-79
Series title:
Technical Paper
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contributing office(s):
Great Lakes Science Center
19 p.
Time Range Start:
Time Range End:
United States
Other Geospatial:
Lake Michigan