A member of the small Percopsidae family, the confusingly named trout-perch is neither a trout nor a perch, nor is it of angling significance, although it is an important forage species for predators.
Identification. The trout-perch derives its name from a superficial resemblance to a trout, by virtue of having an adipose fin, and to a yellow perch or a juvenile walleye by its body configuration. It has a fairly deep cylindrical body with a narrow caudal peduncle, large eyes, and a large unscaled head that is flattened on the underside. Its color is transparent yellow olive with silver flecks above, and rows of dusky spots appear along the back and the sides. A related species, the sandroller (P. transmontana), is smaller and slightly darker, with a more arched back.
Size. This species reaches a maximum length of 6 to 8 inches; 3 to 5 inches is common.
Spawning behavior. This species spawns in the late spring, usually on sand and gravel sections of tributaries and occasionally on lake sandbars. Most trout-perch die after spawning, although a few fish live to spawn twice.
Food and feeding habits. Trout-perch feed on aquatic insects and small crustaceans and generally move from deeper water to shallower near-shore areas at night to feed.
troutperch, silver chub; French: omisco.
Distribution. The trout-perch ranges from Hudson Bay to the Yukon Territory and from the Potomac River west to Kansas. The sandroller is found in the Columbia River drainage.
Habitat. The trout-perch occurs in lakes, and in the backwaters and the pool margins of midsize to large streams. It is primarily a deep-water resident.
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