December 8, 2006


Yellow Perch Eat It All!!

Ann Arbor, MI — Yellow perch aren't picky about what food they eat, despite changes in the kinds of food available over the past two decades.

Diet studies for fish 100 - 175 mm in size (4 - 7 inches) taken from the southern tip of Lake Michigan have indicated yellow perch are adept at eating small invertebrates or fish eggs, regardless of the food items encountered. Larger fish (greater than 175 mm or 7 inches) are currently feeding on round gobies and alewife - two exotic species in Lake Michigan. Although many species changes in the lake have occurred over the past 20 years, including the invasion of the zebra mussel and the loss of the invertebrate Diporeia, these changes do not appear to have a negative impact on diet of the yellow perch.

"Yellow perch are really adaptable in what they consume," says Tom Lauer, Professor of Biology at Ball State University. "We often wonder if the food supply changes, will existing predator species, such as the yellow perch, be able to survive the change? In this case, we are pleasantly surprised."

With the continual threats of invasive species in the Great Lakes, the need to know how to properly manage our native and valuable yellow perch population is very important. Understanding what the perch consumes is a giant first step.

Original Publication Information

Results of this study "Response of Yellow Perch Diet to a Changing Forage Base in Southern Lake Michigan, 1984-2002," are reported by Holly A. Truemper, Thomas E. Lauer, Thomas S. McComish and Rod A. Edgell in the latest issue (Volume 32, No. 4, pp. 806-816) of the Journal of Great Lakes Research, published by the International Association for Great Lakes Research, 2006.


For more information about the study, contact Thomas Lauer, Department of Biology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306;; (765) 285-8825.

For information about the Journal of Great Lakes Research, contact Stephanie Guildford, Scientific Co-Editor, Large Lakes Observatory, University Minnesota Duluth, 2205 East Fifth Street, Duluth, Minnesota, 55812-2401;; (218) 726-8064.


Since 1967, IAGLR has served as the focal point for compiling and disseminating multidisciplinary knowledge on North America's Laurentian Great Lakes and other large lakes of the world and their watersheds. In part, IAGLR communicates this knowledge through publication of the Journal of Great Lakes Research, available to members in print and electronic form. A searchable archive of the journal is available online and includes the abstracts of articles from the journal's inception in 1975 through the most recent issue. In addition, complete articles are available to members who have signed up for an electronic subscription.