Percopsis omiscomaycus (Walbaum, 1792)

member of the Trout-perch Family (Percoppsidae)

South Fork Kawishiwi River, Lake County, Minnesota 8 October 1983

photo by Konrad Schmidt












What's In a Name?
Trout-perch: so named because of their resemblance to both trout and perch

Percopis (Pair-kop´-siss) from Greek meaning "perch-like"
omiscomaycus (oh-miss-koe-may-cuss) more than likely taken from a Native American name, that includes the root word "trout"


    Where Do They Live?
Trout-perch occur in all drainages of Minnesota. They are especially abundant in the Mississippi River (upper and lower), the St. Croix River, the Rainy River, and many of the state's clear, deep lakes, including Lake Superior. Trout-perch inhabit water that is clear to moderately turbid (cloudy) with bottoms of sand and gravel. They prefer the deeper areas of lakes and tend to stay away from the shallow, muddy areas.


How Big Do They Get?
How Long Do They Live?
In Minnesota, trout-perch can reach 203 mm (8 in) in length, but 75-130 mm (3-5 in) is more typical. Female trout-perch tend to outlive males. Females live for 4 years; males only make it to 3. Besides living longer than the males, females grow to slightly larger sizes than males.

    What Do They Eat?
Trout-perch eat a variety of small aquatic animals including waterfleas, copepods, sideswimmers, fingernail clams, and midge larvae. Larval trout-perch eat rotifers, waterfleas, and copepods, while large adults occasionally go for a small minnow or darter.

What Eats Them?
Trout-perch fall to a variety of piscivorous (fish-eating) fish, such as walleye, freshwater drum, brook trout, northern pike, lake trout, burbot, yellow perch, and saugers.


How Do They Reproduce?
Trout-perch have a very long spawning season (May to August), one of the longest of any species. In lakes, they spawn over sandbars or rocks, or they migrate into small streams and spawn over gravel or sand beds. Two or three males cluster around a female pressing on her sides. She releases her eggs while the males fertilize them. The fertilized eggs sink to the bottom and are given no care. Egg counts range from 240-728, but these probably represent clutch sizes (groups of eggs that become ready for spawning at about the same time). With such a long spawning season, each female probably produces several clutches. The embryos hatch in about 5-8 days, depending on temperature. As free-embryos they develop another 4-5 days before they begin to feed.


Conservation and Management
Trout-perch are common and widespread in Minnesota and have no special conservation status. They are an important forage fish for many piscivorous (fish-eating) species.




Permission is granted for the non-commercial educational or scientific use of the text and images on this Web document. Please credit the author or authors listed below.

Photographs by Konrad P. Schmidt
Text by Nicole Paulson & Jay T. Hatch in cooperation with
the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' MinnAqua Aquatic Program

This page developed with funds from the
MinnAqua Program (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fisheries)
and the
Sport Fish Restoration Program (Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior)

Maintained by Jay T. Hatch
General College and James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul

Last updated 23 October 2002