Perch are beautiful fish to keep in your backyard. They are great for food, but also to keep stocked in a pond.
Perch can be kept in ponds as long as their needs are met. Perch live best in water at least twelve feet deep, and around 70 to 75°F. Perch are predators, and are best kept alone in small ponds and fed things like insects, crayfish, and snails. Perch do best in large ponds.
What are the best conditions to keep perch in? What do perch need to survive?
What Do Perch Ponds Need?
Perch ponds need to be a minimum of twelve to fifteen feet deep for the perch to do well. Perch tend to like shallow waters, but because they can grow so big, and can populate quickly, they need plenty of water in their pond to survive.
Like most fish ponds, your perch pond will need to see 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. This sunlight gives the plants in the water enough energy to perform photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process where plants use light energy to convert CO2 into oxygen for the fish to breathe. If your pond does not see enough sunlight, then your plants will not produce much oxygen for your fish.
Typically, perch ponds need some sort of predator fish to help keep the perch population down. The best fishes for this are walleyes or large mouth bass. However, these other predatorial fish do not do well in small ponds, so if you are converting your garden pond into a perch pond, it will be best to keep your perch the only fish in your pond.
Perch eat a wide variety of foods.
“Primarily, age and body size determine the diets of yellow perch. Zooplankton is the primary food source for young and larval perch. By age one, they shift to macroinvertebrates, such as midges and mosquitos. Large adult perch feed on invertebrates, fish eggs, crayfish, mysid shrimp, and juvenile fish.”Source
If your pond is larger than an acre of surface water, you can stock 300 to 500 perch, and use walleyes or large mouth bass as the primary game fish. If your pond is smaller than an acre, you can stock 1/3 acre with 50 to 60 perch of different sizes. If you are using feed trained stock, you can increase it to 100 to 120 perch of different sizes. If you live in the south, you can increase these numbers slightly.
You will need to keep your perch population down if you want your perch to grow large. If your pond is overpopulated and overcrowded, your perch’s growth will be stunted and they will not grow as big as they could have. You can do this manually by removing unwanted fish from your pond, either by using a fishing pole or net. You can also keep the population down by removing eggs before they hatch.
Perch live best in warmer waters. They do well in 17°C to 25°C (63°F to 77°F) temperatures, but they do best in 21°C to 24°C (70°F to 75°F) temperatures. You will need to make sure your pond stays warm enough for your perch to do well. If you live in colder regions and have a hard time getting your pond water to be at least 63°F, then you might want to reconsider which type of fish you put in your pond.
Male perch can reach maturity in 2 to 3 years, and female perch can reach maturity in 3 to 4 years. When your perch are sexually mature, they will spawn their eggs annually in the spring when temperatures are colder.
How To Build A Perch Pond
- You will need to make sure you have enough space to build a perch pond. This pond will need to be at least twelve feet deep, and the larger the surface area the better. If you have an acre of land, then you are all set to begin this project.
- Choose where you want your pond to be located. You should find a place on your property that has good drainage and clay dirt underneath the topsoil.
- Begin digging! Because this pond will be deep, you will need to make sure that you will not hit any pipes or wires that might be buried underground. You will also most likely need to hire someone with a backhoe to dig out your pond.
- Decide the shape of your pond. Most stocked fish ponds are round, but you can be creative!
- Plant plenty of trees, grass, and other foliage around your pond to prevent soil erosion.
- Wait for your pond to fill up with rainwater. (Or fill manually with freshwater)
- Contact local game and fisheries to purchase your perch to begin stocking. Once you have your fish, it is best to acclimate them to the pond water temperature before putting them in the pond.
Common Types of Perch
In North America, there are three common types of perch. The most common type is the yellow perch. They are typically less than a pound at full grown, and are around 3.9–11.4 inches in length. They have brightly colored golden scales and unmistakable stripes.
Another common type of perch is the silver perch. This fish is the smallest type of perch. They typically weigh less than a half pound, and are shorter than a foot long. Because these small perch are easy to catch, they are often used as bait for larger fish, however, they are tasty if you don’t want to waste them as bait. Despite the name, the silver perch is actually a species of Drum.
The third type of perch commonly found is the white perch. This fish is actually a Temperate Bass, but it is called a white perch. The white perch is similar in size to the other common perches, weighing around a pound on average. It usually likes to migrate to fresh water to spawn.
Any type of perch is great to catch on a hook and serve at the dinner table, and having a supply of fresh perch in your backyard is a great way to live!
Wondering if you can also keep trout in a garden pond? Check out our article “Can You Keep Trout In A Garden Pond?” to find out.