Maryland Yellow Perch Fishing and Tips

Awesome video by Kambotrout Fishing

How to CATCH YELLOW PERCH – and some solid Maryland YELLOW PERCH action! Kambotrout Fishing YouTube Channel

Facts about Yellow Perch from MD DNR


On the Atlantic coast, yellow perch range from South Carolina north to Nova Scotia.
They can also be found west through the southern Hudson Bay region to Saskatchewan, and south to the northern half of the Mississippi drainage.
Yellow perch are generally freshwater fish and can be found in all Maryland reservoirs, including Piney Run, Liberty, Loch Raven, and Prettyboy Reservoirs.
However, in Maryland, yellow perch have adapted to the estuarine waters of Chesapeake Bay and have historically been reported in all of its major tributaries and streams.​


Yellow perch can reach a maximum size of 18 inches.​


Adult yellow perch inhabit slow-moving, nearshore areas where moderate amounts of vegetation provide cover, food and protection.
Larval yellow perch will remain in the tributaries, but will generally migrate offshore to reduce their risk from predators.
As juveniles, they move back to the shorelines to feed on the richer, nearshore food sources; at this stage, predator avoidance has been sufficiently developed.​

Fishing Tips

Recreational fishing for yellow perch is a very significant fishery in Maryland and has become a tradition for many anglers as the first fish to “arrive” in the rivers after the first of the year.
Most fish are caught in these early winter months during their spawning run in the upper tributaries where they are easier to catch.
Yellow perch are an important sportfish in Maryland, especially in the Chesapeake Bay area and Deep Creek Lake, because they inhabit a vast territory, a wide variety of habitats, are a schooling fish, and congregate near shore in the spring.
They are also taken recreationally mainly because of their flavor and their desire to take a baited hook.
For current recreational size and creel limits, see Maryland’s updated regulation page.​

Fun Fact

The largest yellow perch recorded in Maryland was caught in a Harford County farm pond in 2003 and weighed 3 lbs., 5 oz.
Their method of spawning is unique in that female yellow perch lay their eggs in long gelatinous strands, usually floating or hanging from vegetation or some other structure.
Yellow perch are found in approximately 13,000 acres of lakes and ponds, with tributaries to Chesapeake Bay furnishing considerably more water area.​

Kayak fishing for Yellow Perch

An excerpt from an article in FishTalk by Zach Ditmars, “Cold Water Kayak Fishing”: A big advantage that we kayak anglers have over our motor-boating brethren is that we don’t have to winterize. We can splash our boats whenever and wherever we want. Yes, it might be freezing out, but fish are cold-blooded and although their metabolism slows down significantly at this time of year, plenty of winter fishing opportunities await. It’s a great time to fish for yellow perch, pickerel, crappie, and catfish, which can be found in the upper reaches of many tributary rivers as well as in Eastern Shore ponds and Western Shore lakes. (Read “Fishing the Mid-Atlantic Year-Round,” if you need some ideas on where to go and how to target some Cold Water Kayak Fishing of these species). The Potomac River below the Woodrow Wilson bridge offers many deep holes inhabited by blue catfish (check out our “Tidal Blue Catfish Behemoths” how-to article), and farther up north you can find walleye and smallmouth bass. Wintertime rockfish can be challenging to locate, but catch and release anglers can jig up stripers from the depths all year long and it may be worth your time to venture to one of the region’s warm water discharges like Calvert Cliffs, Brandon Shores, or Dutch Gap.

Recent fishing report for Yellow Perch

Excerpt from The Southern Maryland Chronicle: Most of the fishing activity in the middle bay has focused on the yellow perch entering the middle to upper sections of the tidal rivers. The yellow perch are generally holding in the deeper sections of the rivers and can be caught on live minnows fished close to the bottom. Casting beetle spins and small Gulp jigs into the channel areas in the upper regions of the tidal rivers is also a great way to fish for yellow perch. The Choptank, Tuckahoe, and Severn rivers are good places to look for them.

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