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Fish Facts

The following information is provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Yellow Perch
Perca flavescens


• Family: Percidae (Perch)

• Other names: Lake perch, ringed perch

Length: normally 5-12 inches

Weight: 0.25-1 pound (can reach 2 pounds)

Typical foods: aquatic insects, larger invertebrates, and fishes.


Sides are golden yellow to brassy green with six to eight dark vertical saddles with a white to yellow belly. Yellow perch have many small teeth, but no large canines.

Habitat and Habits
It prefers clear water with moderate vegetation and lots of sand or gravel bottoms.

Reproduction and Care of the Young
Yellow perch spawn from mid-April to early May by depositing their eggs over vegetation or the water bottom, with no care given. The eggs are laid in large gelatinous adhesive masses.


Smallmouth Bass
Micropterus dolomieu


• Family: Centrachidae (Sunfish)

• Other names: brown bass, brownie, smallie, bronzeback 

Length: normally 12-15 inches

Weight: 1-2 pounds

Typical foods: aquatic insects, crayfish, and small fish.


Smallmouth bass look very similar to largemouth bass and spotted bass. The distinguishing characteristic is the mouth. When closed, the mouth does not extend beyond the rear border of the eye. Color varies from yellow-green to olive-green with a bronze reflection. The sides are faintly barred.

Habitat and Habits
This species thrives in streams with gravel or rock bottoms with a visible current. Smallmouth also do well in the reef areas and rocky shorelines of Lake Erie, especially in the islands area near Sandusky Bay. They are also abundant in the Ohio River.

Reproduction and Care of the Young
Smallmouth bass spawn in May and early June when water temperatures range from 55 to 65°F. Nests are built in gravel or hard bottom substrates in 2 to 20 feet of water. The female lays between 2,000 to 15,000 eggs. The male guards the nest and the fry for a short time. Young smallmouth feed on zooplankton and midge larvae.


Common Carp
Cyprinus carpio


• Family: Cyprinidae (Minnows and Carps)

• Other names: Mirror carp, leather carp

• Ohio Status: Introduced

• Adult Size: Typically 15-30 inches, can reach over 40 inches. Usually weighs 5-10 pounds, can reach 50-60 pounds.

• Typical foods: Will eat a wide variety of items including, insect larvae, crustaceans, mollusks, some aquatic plants, fish eggs, and even small fish.


The common carp can be easily identified by several features. First, there are two barbels on each side of the mouth. No other species that closely resembles the carp has these barbels. Second, the first dorsal and anal fin spines are serrated. Most carp are bronze-gold to golden yellow on the sides and yellowish white on the belly. Partially scaled or scaleless individuals are frequently caught by fishermen: these are known as "half-scaled," "mirror" or "leather" carp.

Habitat and Habits
Carp prefer warm lakes, streams, ponds and sloughs with a lot of organic matter. They do not multiply readily in clear, cold water. They are tolerant of very poor water quality. They root around on the bottom while feeding often uprooting vegetation and making the water very turbid (muddy).

Reproduction and Care of the Young
Spawning begins in late April and continues into June. Large females lay between 100,000 and 500,000 eggs in vegetation with water depths between one and four feet. Young carp remain in these vegetated areas until they are three to four inches in length and eat primarily small crustaceans.

(Captain's Note) Although Carp provide a decent fight, the Captain has denied permission for any Carp to enter the vessel's cooler as to preserve the reputation of the Captain among his peers.

Sander vitreus


• Family: Percidae (Perch)

• Other names: Pickerel, yellow pike, walleyed pike

Length: normally 14-22 inches (can reach 36 inches)

Weight: 2-4 pounds (can reach 16 pounds)

Typical foods: emerald shiners, gizzard shad, alewives, and rainbow smelt


The walleye has a long slender body with a yellow-olive color with a brassy overcast on the sides. The tail fin has a white spot on the bottom edge. The eye is large and cloudy, and there is a dark blotch on the webbing between the last three spines of the first dorsal fin. The mouth is filled with sharp canine teeth. The walleye looks similar to the sauger and saugeye.

Habitat and Habits
Walleye prefer clear to slightly turbid waters. They usually occur in greatest abundance over reefs, shoals of gravel, bedrock, and other firm bottoms.

Reproduction and Care of the Young
Walleye spawn throughout the month of April when water temperatures are between 40 and 55° F. Walleye are free spawners that deposit their eggs in the riffle areas of tributary streams or over gravel to boulder-sized rocks in reef areas of Lake Erie. The eggs hatch in about 10 days. Females can lay as many as 400,000 eggs. Young walleye feed on zooplankton and insect larvae for most of the first year. Following this stage the young shift to a diet of small fish.


Rainbow Trout
Oncorhynchus mykiss


• Family: Salmonidae (Trout, Salmon, Char, and Whitefish)

• Other Names: Steelhead

• Ohio Status: Sport fish and introduced

• Adult Size: Typically 20-23 inches, can reach 36 inches. Usually weigh 2-8 pounds, can reach 19 pounds.

• Typical Foods: Small fish and aquatic insects.


Rainbow trout have the typical trout-shape with an adipose fin, and a squarish tail that has black spots throughout. The rainbow trout has 10-12 anal rays and a white mouth and gums (coho and Chinook salmon, occasionally found in Lake Erie, have gray or black gums, more anal rays, and forked tails). Lake Erie rainbow trout or steelhead are generally bright silver with a bright pink band. Males develop a hooked jaw known as a "kype" during the spawning season.

Habitat and Habits
Rainbow trout prefer cold water streams with cobble, boulders, deep pools, and overhead cover.

Reproduction and Care of the Young
Rainbow trout are a cold water species that in nature spawn in moving water over gravel or cobble substrate. In Ohio, there is little or no natural reproduction, so the Ohio Division of Wildlife raises and stocks rainbow (steelhead) trout in Lake Erie tributaries. The young trout live in these streams for one or two years before migrating out to Lake Erie. They remain in the lake for several years before they return to the tributaries to run upstream and attempt to spawn.

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