Perch, Estuary

(Macquaria colonorum)

Commonly referred to as E.P’s!

Estuary perch are a fresh water species endemic to the south eastern areas of Australia. They are a hard fighting yet elusive species that have grown in popularity over the last few years to become one of Australia’s most popular freshwater sport fish.

Distribution

E.P’s are a highly sought after sport fish along the S/E corner of Australia and can be located in most freshwater systems from S.A. to southern QLD.

Growth

Estuary perch can grow to around 75cm in length and weigh as much as 10kg! Although most fish encountered throughout Australia average around 1 – 2kg in weight.

Habitat

Estuary perch prefer fresh water rivers, dams and streams with cooler temperatures averaging 15 – 25 degrees with plenty of heavy cover present.

Identification

Estuary perch can be easily identified by their deep, laterally compressed body shape which is grey/silver to dark brown in colouration on top leading down to a whitish under belly. Fish may be darker in colour depending on the water quality they are encountered in. The head shape is slightly concave with a protruding lower jaw and a large eye.

Taste rating

  • Fifty Taste Rating
    50%

 Estuary perch are as good eating as most fresh water species! A bit bland for me.

Sport rating

  • Seventy Sport Rating
    70%

Estuary perch are highly regarded as a quality freshwater sport fish and can grow to phenomenal sizes!

Tackle requirements

Ultra light and light graphite spin rods 6’6” – 7’ in length that will cope with gel spun and braided lines rated from 1 – 4kg are ideally suited to targeting fresh water perch and when coupled with quality spin reels in the 1000 – 2500 class make excellent outfits for throwing both baits and lures. Larger outfits spooled with heavier 10 – 12lb nylon line can also be used when targeting larger fish around heavy cover with baits but will struggle to cast small hard bodied and soft plastic lures. Fluoro carbon leaders with breaking strains of 10 – 20lb should also be joined to mainlines via an improved albrite knot and not only prevent the fish from seeing your brightly coloured main line but also help from being chaffed of on rough underwater structures.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Fresh or live earth worms, yabbies, night crawlers and small insects are an ideal bait option for chasing freshwater perch and should be fished on a pattern and size of hook that’s suit’s the bait. Example – earth worm fished on bait holder pattern of hook similar in size to the bait. Hard bodied, sub surface, spinner bait and soft plastic lures from 50mm – 100mm in length will also temp big goldens into striking with this exciting new style of fishing really taking off amongst all anglers from beginners to the pro’s over the last few years. Many tournaments and clubs have now been set up to encourage and educate the new generation of freshwater fishing fanatics.

Handy hints and tips

Most fresh water and small salt water lures will tempt perch into striking, especially if they resemble small crawfish or yabbies!

Preferred fishing times and tides

Low light periods such as dawn and dusk are preferred for most forms of fishing including freshwater and a rising barometer also helps.

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