This is an incredibly easy recipe for fried perch. It takes less than 10 minutes to have these on the plate and they couldn’t be more delicious!

Perch garnished with chopped parsley.

What are yellow perch?

These yellow perch, also known as Jack perch, American perch and a few others are incredibly beautiful. They are a mild flavored fish that are native to the Eastern regions of the US and Canada, to the Mississippi River. The species is plentiful in the Great Lakes and possibly our favorite native fish.

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How to fish for them

Most regions have limits on how many fish can be taken per person. In NY the limit is 50 per licensed fisher.

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Small perch are quite easy to catch. They will bite on pieces of worm, shrimp, and spikes off of docks and in deeper water. And with crankbaits, swim baits or jigs.

They travel in schools and once you have found a school of perch, it can be easy to catch your limit in a short amount of time.

Larger perch, which are ideally the ones you want to keep, can be tricky to locate at certain times of the year. They are best fished for in the early spring and late fall, when they will move into more shallow water to feed heavily in preparation for winter.

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During spawn and pre spawn conditions, they can be found in 3-50 feet (1-15 meters) of water. Post spawn fish tend to move to deeper water and are therefore can be hard to locate.

Fried perch on vintage metal plate.

How to prepare them

Perch can be fileted or scaled and dressed (innards removed). We have a different way of preparing perch filets that produces filets with 1/3 more meat than traditional fileting. See our YouTube video for How to Filet Yellow Perch to learn the secret!

What you need to make these fried perch

  • fileted perch
  • butter
  • flour
  • salt
  • lemon pepper
  • celery seed
Fried perch ingredients. See recipe below for details.

How to make them

  • Mix spices with flour.
  • Dry perch well.
  • Dredge in flour mixture.
  • Dredge second side and shake off excess.
  • Melt butter in cast iron pan. Add filets. Don’t crowd the pan.
  • Once browned, carefully flip perch to second side.
  • Flip and brown that side. Serve immediately.
Pan fried perch step by step process photographs. See recipe below for details.

What sides to serve with them

  • Brown sugar glazed carrots
  • Green beans almondine
  • Apple coleslaw
  • Rice pilaf
fried perch3

Pro tips for your success

  • Filet fish well so you reduce the risk of choking on bones.
  • After fileting, soak fish in very cold water with a bit of salt for about 5 minutes.
  • Fresh perch freezes very well. With smaller fish, I usually add a bit of water to the bag to reduce the risk of freezer burn.
  • Fish will freeze for at least six months.
  • Leftovers will last 2-3 days refrigerated.
  • I don’t usually reheat leftovers. We eat them cold but you can reheat in the microwave for just a minute or so, so that they don’t overcook and get tough.
  • When frying the perch, use a very hot pan and brown them for only about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the size of the fish.
  • Serve with lemon wedges.

More fish recipes you may like

  • bullhead
  • northern pike
  • fried smelt
  • stuffed rainbow trout

Tools I use

  • cast iron frying pan 8″
  • filet knife
  • mixing bowls
Fried perch on gray plate topped with chopped parsley.

This fried perch is delicious served with the sides above. It also makes fantastic fish tacos and fish sandwiches.

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