Perch form the backbone of the inland fishing in Australia.
They are willing takers of baits including crayfish, shrimps
and worms. They are also lure takers with spinnerbaits and trolled
deep diving lures gaining more popularity. They can often be
found in large schools in both river and lake situations. Eating
qualities vary depending upon the waters they are caught from
and the size of the fish. Larger fish are often very fatty along
the top of the back.
Golden perch are commonly caught at about 5kg, but can grow
up to 9kg (76cm). Weights of up to 23kg have been recorded,
but these are questionable. Golden perch are sexually mature
at 4-5 years of age and can live for as long as 19 years. At
maturity these fish are around 41-42cm in length. Their colouration
is variable ranging from dull black to brilliant gold. Generally
they have a dark brown to olive green back, shading to yellow
or white towards the belly. Larger adult fish have a very distinctive
form. They have a high-humped back and stumpy, barely functional
tails. Their gill covers have razor-sharp serrated cutting edges.
Golden perch feed on shrimps, crayfish, small mussels and occasionally
fish. When breeding they may migrate considerable distances
upstream during the spring and summer high water and the female
may deposit over 500,000 eggs each about 4 mm in diameter.
Confusing species - Golden perch are sometimes confused with
Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica), however golden
perch have a concave forehead and protruding lower jaw. Small
golden perch are also often confused with small silver perch,
goldfish, carp, Murray Cod and Trout cod.
Golden perch are found only in freshwater. They occur in clear,
fast-flowing rivers or streams, as well as slow-flowing, turbid
rivers and backwaters. Golden perch prefer warm, turbid slow-flowing
streams. They range throughout the Murray-Darling river system
in central and southern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria
and South Australia. They can also be found in rivers draining
into Lake Eyre. Golden perch undergo long migrations upstream
in late spring to early summer. There are three genetically
distinct stocks of golden perch. One is native to the Lake Eyre
drainage system (Macquiria sp.), another to the Murray-Darling
system (Macquaria ambigua) and the last to the Dawson system
(Macquaria ambigua oriens).
The abundance of golden perch has dramatically decreased in
the Murray-Darling and Fitzroy catchments due to migration obstruction
and the alteration of flow regimes and temperature stratification
following the construction of weirs and dams.
from the Murray-Darling system has been introduced to dams thoughout
the Marray/Darling catchment and in many dams along eastern
image for larger version