Lee Garigliano, Recreational Angler
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Posted on September 25, 2012 | Permalink
Tell Me More About Silver Perch
Location: Nanticoke Harbor
During the past three fishing trips out of Nanticoke Harbor we caught several fish we had not seen previously. The Capt. said they were King William perch. I could find no reference to support that but did found there were American silver perch, Biardella chrysoura. I kept a couple of them and they were delicious as the reference indicated they would be. I have been fishing these waters since moving here in 1973 and these are the first I have caught. Have they moved up from further south or what is their history in this area? The reference said they were a very common under-utilized resource. Although small, they were hard hitters and fighters that would bite on almost any bait we used. Next time we will keep more of them now that we know what they are, how easy they are to clean, and how good they taste. Any additional information would be appreciated, thank you.
DNR Response: King William perch is an old colloquial name for a silver perch (Bairdiella chrysoura), a member of the drum family. They are also variously known as sand perch, Virginia perch, yellow tails. Silver perch look a lot like a cross between a spot and a white perch.
Although apparently not as abundant as in the past, silver perch are a common fish in Virginia and the lower Maryland portion of the Bay. They are generally caught as bycatch in commercial and recreational fisheries. Our surveys often encounter them in the Nanticoke River in late summer/early fall. In fact we just caught some there in the past couple weeks. In the past we have also caught silver perch in the Potomac, Patuxent, and Elk rivers, although it is unusual to catch them in the upper Bay. Dry years with high salinity allow them to expand their range a bit.