The Silver Perch is a native Australian freshwater fish that is a native of the
Murray Darling River System. Just known as Silvers they are a widespread species that
are a great sporting fish. They have small mouths and a large tail that will give you
a great fight on light line. Unfortunately silver perch in the wild are not as common
as they used to be. There are many reasons for this but one of the main problems is
the construction of dams and weirs on the major rivers. This, compounded by drought,
has lead to a serious decline of fish numbers in many areas. Silver Perch are listed
as a “Vulnerable Species” in NSW.
Silver Perch are summer breeders that have very specific requirements. They need
warm water, flood conditions and a migratory run. Silver perch in the wild have long
migratory spawning runs up river to breed. This occurs over the summer breeding season
and starts around mid October and lasts till mid March. Unfortunately they need flood
conditions over this summer period to have their migratory run and to spawn.
Silver perch are prolific breeders with around 150,000 eggs per kilo of fish. The
problem is that these eggs are negatively buoyant and will settle to the bottom. That
is fine if there is a strong current with water moving past them, they will still
develop and hatch. It is even better if the eggs themselves are rolling along the
bottom. If the eggs fall into a no current, no water movement area they will die and
not hatch. This is the dilemma of the Silver Perch and the reason it is in such rapid
decline in the wild. River floods that create ideal conditions for breeding and the
survival of the eggs don’t occur very often these days and when they do the rivers are
full of dams and weirs that stop the flow and create still water areas where any silver
perch eggs will just drop to the bottom in dead water areas and die.
Many people stock their farm dams with silver perch and they survive well and grow
tremendously in even relatively small farm dams. Unfortunately the conditions in a
farm dam are not suitable for breeding so they will not multiply in your dams. You
will only get back out what you put in.