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Perch

Drawing © Radek Doško

  • Latin name: Perca fluviatilis
  • Slovak: Ostriež obyčajný
  • English: Perch
  • German: Barsch, Flussbarsch
  • sort: Perciformes
  • family: Percidae
  • feed: predator
  • life span: 15 years
  • sexual maturity: 2nd to 5th year
  • reproduction: April - May
  • common size: 15-30 cm
  • maximum: 0,1 to 0,4 kg

The European perch is quite widespread across the Northern temperate zone.  It can be found in Europe, in a considerable part of Asia and also in North America where the subspecies P. fluviatilis flavescens characterised by yellowish fins lives.  It has successfully acclimatized for South Australia.

It resides in all waters except for trout streams and too hot pools not well oxygenated.  It does especially well in deeper valley reservoirs having jagged edges where it grows to its largest sizes. This species is indigenous to and widespread in our country.

The perch, a typical representative of spiny-finned fish, has two dorsal fins, the first dorsal fin with defensive spines, whereas the other dorsal fin with soft rays which are branched.

Other hard spines were created from the first ray of the ventral fins and the end of the operculum. The perch has smaller and very rough scales with a spiny comb-like edge (the so-called ctenoid scales) covering its body as a crust.

It is a quite high-backed fish and the height of the body grows as the fish grows older. The back of older perch steeply rises and it creates a hump.

The head of the perch is equipped with a large mouth whose jaws are made of subtle bones and a thin membrane stretches in-between. The mouth is equipped with small teeth creating rough areas and they do not stick out.

The muscles controlling the jaw press are relatively weak therefore the swallow reflex of the perch has developed a lot and the perch moves the feed caught in the mouth immediately into the gullet. This can be observed when a perch is caught and it is still swallowing the dragging bait whose hook has released in its mouth.  This is used very successfully while spinning and the experienced “spinning” fishermen let perch to “swallow” the rubbers for a several seconds.

The most noticeable feature of perch is its large eyes which the perch uses as the main source of information and the visual signals are of significant importance when catching a prey.

They are green or yellow colour which gradually fades from the back towards the belly which is nearly pale.  The contour of the perch body is disturbed by 5-9 dark vertical bars which help the perch blend with its surroundings especially in waters with dense vegetation effectively.

The orange-red fins of the lower part of the body (ventral, anal and tail) are in contrast to the colour of the body of the perch. There are plenty of European perch in the Czech waters and not just fishermen-beginners with a float and a box of worms have been fishing for it.

The perch is not considered a pest fish anymore and the interest in fishing for it is increasing. Nowadays, it is a popular fish with the spinning fishermen and it is evoking interest of fly fishers.  However, the stocking rate of the European perch is slowly decreasing in part due to excessive fishing.

You can find more information at www.mrk.cz Section ‘Fish Encyclopaedia’.