Perch Fish Farm

Perch species are native in some American lakes, particularly in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. The popular yellow perch is usually farmed using the pond culture method. Due to its popularity, perch production has become a hundred-million-dollar-industry in the U.S.

Are you interested in starting a farm that would supply a part of the country’s demand for the fish?

The silver and yellow perch are the two species of perch that are widely raised commercially. The silver perch is a freshwater fish native in Australia. The yellow perch, differentiated from the “ocean perch” and the “rock perch,” is native in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. Yellow perch has a white, flaky, mildly sweet meat. It can grow up to 10 inches in length and 16 oz. in weight. In the North Central Region, the growing season for fingerlings starts in April and end in October or November. Perch production in the U.S. is valued at several hundred million dollars with Wisconsin and Ohio topping the list of states with the largest production of the fish.

Perch Farming - Pond Culture Method

Perch farms usually use natural reproduction to get young perch. This method is also called the pond culture method wherein male and female broodfish are stocked in ponds and allowed to spawn in suitable substrates. The broodstock or fertilized perch eggs are usually taken from the wild, although some also use those that have been reared in captivity. Perch larvae are then stocked into fertilized production ponds where they are weaned from natural diet to formulated diet until they are harvested. The natural reproduction method is considered a simple and economical way to reproduce the fish.

Perch Farming - Tank System Method

Researches are also being done to refine technologies using hormone induced reproduction in tank systems. The tank system method is more expensive to perform because it requires considerable investment on equipment and higher production costs. To control the conditions inside tank systems, pumps and aerators are needed. In order for these to run, there should be constant supply of electricity. What makes the tank system better than the natural method is it allows a possible shorter production period. Both processes are used to raise perch for commercial distribution in the country.

For the natural process, one would need a piece of land for the pond. The pond should have a well for its water supply, a ditch and a levee. As basis, a 5,000 lb. perch production would need about 1.5 acres of pond, and one of each well, ditch and levee. Bigger ponds would need an additional number of these. For the water system, there should be a drainpipe, drain/valve, and pump. For the operation, there should be an electrical system, boat, monitoring and test equipment, aerator, feeder, feed storage, and scale. To harvest the fish, there should be seine nets, fish baskets, coolers, and truck to deliver frozen fish.

For resources on perch rearing, visit the Web site of the University of Wisconsin and search for “perch.”


  • Bergur Magnussen said on January 31, 2011
    Does anyone know anything about how to get a good result at the start feeding of yellow perch? I designs and builds facilities for trout and salmon, and these plants are also well suited for other species. In addition I own a breeding facility where we currently breed trout. I have now bought perch fry, and it seems to go extremely well. The challenge is just to get a good result out of starting feeding. And this is the important part of the work. Let me now,
  • cory seitz said on May 4, 2011
    I have found that crushing up the pellets makes a huge difference when they are small.I will only feed aquamax grower 500 to my perch as they actually grow fast on it instead of the other feeds I have tried which seem more like maintainers. I have a small pond setup and some tanks in a building... I mostly mess with the perch, and then i am trying to start cage raising channel cats.... i am in Johnstown Ohio which is just outside of Columbus, ohio. I am flirting around with some aquaponics gardening set-ups incorporating the fish as fertilizer for the plants and the plants providing food and nutrients microorganisms etc.... for the fish. Its fun and addictive... keeps getting bigger and bigger.
  • Fredrick Thompson said on September 27, 2011
    I am in Magna Utah. I have good size green house and i want to grow fish and plants. I am trying find good fish to grow in tanks.any help Fred
  • Kevin said on September 30, 2011
    Try contacting your local University if they have a fresh water fish department. Also, your Utah Department of Agriculture will be able to direct you to local resources, since they have to register their farms...
  • John Badera said on December 11, 2011
    I would like to know about water conditions and temp range. I live in Coldspring TX and would like to know it I could farm perch here in in my cattle tank? (Pond) The idea of controlling the insects from the pond and a marketable resource, interests me. Coldspring TX about 70 Miles north of Houston summer temps can raise the water temp into the low 80's
  • Liandro Arellano said on January 27, 2012
    Is there a small scale way to raise perch? I am in Dixon, Il.
  • carl brown said on September 16, 2012
    former manager of Perch Research, Standish MI for bug control try pumpkin seeds instead of perch and for the guy from texas, yellow perch dont like heat and need cool winters to spawn for dixon IL, the only small way to raise perch is dump them in a pond and let them be, otherwise it will cost you too much
  • Edward Stemborowski said on December 5, 2012
    Located in Marshville, NC and I have an existing 1.5 acre pond. It needs aeration, pumps and a well to circulate the water. I would use the water for the vegetable garden and corn field. The water would then be filtered through the land and back to the pond via the aquafier. But the big question is this location too warm for yellow perch? Temps range from 32F to 104F.
  • andrew said on January 3, 2013
    Washington DC, former Michigan resident. In doing a research project and looking for current wholesale prices perch in round that producers receive. any insight as to where to find that information?
  • Erik said on February 1, 2013
    We have a pond on our property we are thinking of introducing perch and possibly zander (walleye relative) into. It is only about 80 meters long and 25 wide with an average depth of about 3 meters, ranging form half a meter at the shallow end to about 5 meters at the deep end. The pond has several small springs as well as runoff from adjacent uncultivated fields feeding it. It was excavated 5 years ago and has a clay bottom covered by introduced sand at the shallow end. It has a good growth of naturally occurring pond vegetation along the edge of the entire pond and more widely at the shallow end. It has naturally developed a crucian carp population which is reproducing naturally. With a pond this small, does anyone have any information as to what the carrying capacity might be and if it even makes sense to try this at all? Thanks and Brgrds, Erik
  • JACK CLARK said on February 20, 2013
    I HAVE A FORMER TREATMENT PLANT WITH NUMEROUS IN GROUND TANKS. 75000 GAL, 37000 GAL TYPICAL SIZE, CLEAN WATER AND NEARBY CREEK. IS THIS A POTENTIAL FISH FARM? HAS ANYONE USED CONCRETE TANKS OF THIS SIZE TO SUCCESSFULLY FARM FISH ? Cost the previous owner a lot of bucks to install these tanks, currently can think of no use for these tanks, Thanks Jack, 8147744240
  • Michael Durocher said on February 27, 2013
    i have a 1/4 acre pond in pinconning MI ,it is 14 foot deep ,can i raise perch and will they reproduce? i will be putting an aerator in this spring.
  • Jeb Bear said on June 10, 2013
    i am doing my finals project on white perch aquaculture. i have to write a proposal for a new species of fish in our aquaculture lab. we have 14 400 gallon indoor tanks in a closed system. if anyone can help me with any of the following questions i will be grateful:
    -How much is grown yearly?
    -What is the demand for this species?
    -Harvest information (Size, length of grow-out period)
    Thank you
  • Jeff C said on November 18, 2013
    I am interested to start an aquaculture, but want to keep the operational costs low. If I purchase fingerlings 1"-2", is there any reason that I can not raise them solely on: mealworms, worms, crickets, etc.? These are types of foods that I plan to raise.
  • Matt said on May 2, 2014
    looking to band up with 2/3 other families who want to put all our monies together buy a nice property with a huge log cabin home.... I already know of a few great log cabin lodges one sitting in the middle of 2000 acres that can be modified into a fish farm for both fun and profit and along with it farm all the food we will ever need in addition to raising rabbit chickens, some goats couple dairy cows live and survive damn near off the grid Unite together our Futures and our fortunes to form a new FAMILY and leave our children with a better way of life...... Additionally have all the wild game to hunt.... life liberty and the pursuit of happiness!


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