Perch are one of the cool water species of fish along with walleye and crappie . Their fastest growth rates occur between 68 and 73 degrees. This makes them very compatible with aquaponic systems that are growing lettuce or other leafy plants and herbs
The adult female perch releases a strand of eggs while being accompanied by multiple males that are releasing milt (sperm) in the shallow water she is swimming in. The spawning occurs in mid-April when water temperatures are 45-52 degrees. The perch hatchlings eat zooplankton initially and move to larger aquatic insects as they grow. They swim with a schooling behavior and remain in the shallows until early July when they become more sensitive to light and can eat tiny minnows. While they are photo-positive they will be swimming in schools nears the nesting sites of warm water species like bass and blue gill. They become excellent forage for warm water species during this phase of their life. Perch have a life span slightly shorter than walleye. It is not common for them to live much more than 10 years. Perch are often thought to require a “deep hole” to live in. Our brood stock perch pond is only 7’ deep with much of the water 5’ and shallower. Aeration is required but they are healthy, they grow well, and reproduce very effectively. In 2018 we will be adding a new technique for raising perch. It is still in an experimental stage, but laboratory result show this method dramatically increases growth rates, stay tuned for results as the season progresses.