Estuary Perch

Scientific Name

Macquaria colonorum

Other Common Names

Perch, Gippsland perch

In western Victoria often incorrectly called Australian bass

Size

To 10 Kg (22 lb). In Victoria frequently to 540 mm and 4 Kg (21" and 8.8lb).

Photo of an estuary perch

Conservation Status

Common, widespread

Habitat

Most common in estuarine waters.  Generally prefers more saline water than Australian bass, with which it is often confused, but nevertheless quite often found in locations with very low salinity.

Distribution

Coastal rivers and lakes from the Richmond River in northern New South Wales through the whole of the Victorian coast as far west as mouth of the Murray River in South Australia.  Abundant in most streams in its distribution, especially in southern New South Wales and Victoria.

Reproduction

Spawning is believed to occur in the lower sections of estuaries.  Breeding may commence as early as July to August in New South Wales, but usually occurs much later, into November or December, in Victorian waters, especially in the western regions.

Diet

Estuary perch appear to feed loser to the bottom and have a less varied diet to that of Australian bass.

Their diet consists mainly of shrimps, prawns, worms, bivalve moluscs and smaller fish.

Angling

Usually overlooked as an angling target, estuary perch are a good fighting fish and is readily taken on artificial lures and baits such as sand worms, prawns and Bass yabbies.

Tends to run "hot and cold" and often seems to move up and down the lower parts of rivers streams with the tide, perhaps maintaining some preferred salinity level.  Can be very abundant at times.

Easily confused with Australian bass, may be differentiated by their deeper, less cylindrical shape, their relatively larger mouth and their relatively more pointed snout.

On the table

Very good eating.

In the aquarium

Not really suitable for aquarium use, estuary perch often do not handle well and can be difficult to maintain especially in summer.

Native Fish Australia
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