Is Perch Good To Eat? – From the Lake to the Plate

I think there’s a great misconception out there that Ang and I release “all” our fish. Before I even came on board here at Fish’n Canada, Angelo and Reno came up with the phrase “Catch Your Limit, But Limit Your Catch.” These two then relatively-unknown brothers in the fishing world were already heavily preaching the catch and release philosophy (and kudos to them for it).

Through time, as the three of us grew, so did our concept of throwing back a lot of fish. We released pretty much every fish we filmed for a television episode. Reno would even famously give them a kiss goodbye.

Well, Fish’n Canada fans, if the truth be known (to those not in the know), I do keep the odd fish for consumption and I’m not afraid to say so. It’s all about the type of fish I keep.

Is Perch Good To Eat?

Perch is GREAT to eat. Hands down, my favourite fish meat is the white, flaky variety and Perch falls into that variety. This category also includes Walleye, Pike, Crappie, Sunfish, and even Rock Bass in the freshwater world. Also Striped Bass, Halibut, Sea Bass (the small ones from the West Coast), and most of the groundfish in the Pacific. That said, I do love an occasional feed of small Trout or wild B.C. Salmon. Throw some smoked Whitefish in front of me and watch me go! Sushi? It’s game on again. Fish tastes good and it’s healthy.

Pete with British Columbia Sea Bass
Here’s an oldie of me holding what’s referred to as a Sea Bass off the coast of British Columbia. It’s meat apparently is white and flakey.

Which brings me to this blog. It’s all about the Perch family and, in particular, Yellow Perch and Walleye (yes, Walleye are a “Perch”).

It’s been a while since I’ve written about panfish, so this will be fun.


Since this crazy pandemic has hit us all square in the face, my early-season fishing has been nothing but a notion until recently. On my first panfish adventure, I took my wife out for Crappie on Rice Lake in Ontario and we had a mediocre day at best. I believe the fish were there. However, the north wind was pounding on us, making it extremely uncomfortable. Not good conditions to take your spouse out.

My most recent trip was on the Bay of Quinte—again in Ontario—with Perch and Walleye in mind. Perch are a great backup fish if the Walleye aren’t on the bite.

Good electronics are essential for locating and helping you catch all species of fish. Seeing structure, cover and the actual fish will up your success greatly. Garmin has you covered no matter what species you’re after.

My first stop was a Walleye flat in about 15-20 feet of water. The beauty of a flat is the fish are easy to see and mark on electronics. I did one north-to-south trolling motor pass and only saw one small fish and didn’t catch it. My second spot was a small rock/weed area that “on paper” should’ve been good for anything that swims. Very fishy looking—in a good way.

It didn’t take long to pop a couple of Walleye, a great three-pounder and a little eater. Both were on jigs and plastics using my early-season jigging techniques. With the spot being so small, however, things shut down rather quickly. On to my next idea…

Again, this was another Walleye spot that normally works from about mid-June and into the summer. Upon arrival, though, I intuitively knew that it wasn’t ready yet. The water was too cold and clear (lack of weeds and floating particles, general colour, etc.). The water temperature was an unbelievable 15 degrees Fahrenheit colder than my first spot. Ouch!

The beauty of this area, however, is I know a Perch spot is pretty much right there!

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29 Replies to “Is Perch Good To Eat? – From the Lake to the Plate”

    1. They can be fun to catch on ultralight gear or ice fishing jumbos. I like using fish-crisp as it comes in different seasonings to suit everyone’s pallet, even a Cajun one for spicy lovers.

  1. The mullet man “Jigologist” is at it again. Crazy good.

    I cut my so called “fishing teeth” on perch as a wee lad when I first ventured forth into the aquatic sphere of craniate. The naivety of it all was indeed a wake up call. I had never been up close and personal with any gill bearing creature. Fish as I knew them, were something you got from a can. The meat all looked the same to me. Eating Tuna and Salmon salad sandwiches when I much preferred P.B.J., Baloney or Pickles and Peanut Butter between two slices of bread ,almost headed me off in the wrong direction. Fortunately, I managed to come to my senses.

    Preferentially, white fleshed fish are my favorite, although I will not pass up other critters such a Salmon, Pike, Trout or Bass, etc. Perch and Walleye are my favorite. The oily canned stuff can stay on the shelf. My wife on the other hand, will eat almost every species of fish, even the canned variety. Though out our years on the “fishing trail”, I have come to conclude, “She will have the fish cleaned, filleted, fried and eaten before I get it off the hook.

    Technically, I have learned to elbow my way in for my share of the bounty. Seconds is not all that bad!

      1. My mother always told me that fish was brain food and carrots were good for your eyes. Well, she did raise one fish head who likes to use them “Carrot Stix” rods for fishing. Maybe that is why I like fishing so much.

  2. Great story as per usual Pete and a good catch of perch I haven’t fished perch for a few years now andthey are almost as good as walleye my wife pretty much always out fished me when she was alive and enjoyed fishing as much as I she had a great recipe for pan frying them sure miss that keep up the great work Pete and once again thanks for the great entertainment and stay safe.

  3. I’ve caught perch as a kid, But never kept any for eating as the biggest one’s were only up to about 8 inches maybe. Now I just might keep some for eating.

    1. Rick, that 8″ mark is a good place to start. Any smaller and they usually don’t produce much meat (not worth the work), the 8’s and 10’s are excellent.
      Trust me, they’re delicious!!!

  4. Another great story guys and I used to do a lot of perch fishing in a small lake called Vincent lake In alberta there were not manyhuge ones but lots of good pan size ones there thanks again

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