Game and Fish trap and transport Yellow perch

Published: May. 9, 2020 at 10:36 PM CDT
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In this week's segment of North Dakota Outdoors, Mike Anderson joins fisheries biologists as they trap and transport yellow perch.

For the last 15 years, state biologists have trapped and transported perch from north and south Hobart Lakes near Valley City, to start or improve fisheries elsewhere.

"There's a great amount of perch in the Hobarts and basically too many, you know, the fish have not exhibited good growth and, so, we kind of have a stunting going on. And to help potentially rectify that a little bit, we've tried to take fish out every year and additionally start new lakes and resurrect lakes that have had winterkills in them," said NDGF Fisheries Supervisor, BJ Kratz.

As soon as the ice is out on Hobart Lakes, fisheries biologists have a short window to set nets and capture fish before they spawn.

"The great thing is, is we try to get into these as quickly as we can to capture those perch when they still have eggs. That way we can kind of not only stock those fish out in new lakes, but those fish will reproduce, hopefully, this year because they're still bearing eggs," said Kratz.

And with all the moisture, lakes are full again, which creates prime habitat for perch.

"Newly flooded vegetation is really good perch habitat because typically older vegetation that's been flooded for some time collects a thin film of pyrophyten or algae if you will, and those eggs don't adhere very well to that. So basically when you have newly inundated stuff, it's all clean and so forth and you have good adherence of the eggs to that," said Kratz.

And anglers will benefit from this process, too.

"We're taking fish out and starting new fisheries and also supplementing some populations that haven't done so well over the last several years due to lower water levels and the lack of good habitat. And it also, by taking these small fish out, the hope is that the fish that are left in there have a little more groceries or a little more food to grow better," said Kratz.

From just a handful of lakes biologists have transplanted over 280,000 adult yellow perch to nearly 60 different lakes across North Dakota this spring.

To find out what lakes are stocked with perch, visit the Game and Fish Department's website at