'Super unusual': West Kelowna fisherman catches 4-pound yellow perch | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'Super unusual': West Kelowna fisherman catches 4-pound yellow perch

West Kelowna resident Devin Ruehle's yellow perch, caught in Shannon Lake, Feb. 4, 2022.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Devin Ruehle

A yellow perch caught from a West Kelowna lake may be a record-breaker.

The B.C. record for yellow perch is 1.5 lb. and 13.4 in. in length recorded in 2017 and caught in West Kelowna's Shannon Lake, according to Record Fish Canada, a database of records for fish caught in Canada. 

The largest yellow perch in Ontario weighed only 2.52 lb. but reached 15.75 in. in length, according to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters’ Ontario Record Fish Registry.

Those are chump weights for West Kelowna resident Devin Ruehle, who caught a whopping 4 lb., 2.4 oz., 13.5-in. yellow perch, Friday, Feb. 4, while ice fishing on Shannon Lake.

He said his fish was so large, it took some work to get it out of the ice fishing hole.

“It’s definitely not the first one out of Shannon Lake, that’s what I fish for there mostly. I try to get as many of them out of there as possible because I like fishing for rainbow trout in the summer but the perch population is pretty bad for the other fish,” he said.

The species is invasive in B.C. but native to North America east of the Continental Divide.

Ruehle caught 25 other perch that day but they were all roughly a pound in size.

READ MORE: Here's some of the best spots to ice fish in the Thompson-Okanagan

“I was pretty shocked. I didn’t even really know what to do… That was the end of my day, I caught that one and then I was like ‘OK I should probably go home and figure out what to do next.’”

It’s definitely the biggest perch he’s ever caught, he said.

Ruehle ended up eating some of it and feeding the rest to his pet piranhas but not before snapping a few photos of the fish.

Yellow perch on average is only about a pound or two in size, said Jesse Zeman, executive director with the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

“Anything over a pound is pretty big actually. They’re typically less than 12 in. long,” he said, adding records aren’t officially tracked for the fish in B.C. because they’re invasive.

Zeman said “it’s super unusual” to find a perch that’s four pounds in size.

“I’ve never heard of anything that big, ever, to be honest.”

Perch are highly predatory and a lot of fisheries and fish like the rainbow trout, are being impacted by the species, he said.

To control yellow perch populations, lakes essentially have to be killed off since angling doesn’t impact the population, he said. In large lakes, they're impossible to kill.

READ MORE: Province to put fish-killing chemical into two Okanagan lakes to control invasive perch

“They’re very resilient fish. They can deal with really warm water and really cold water,” he said. They typically live in shallow water and if anything is living in that space with them, they’ll eat it.

Yellow perch have been known to grow really fast in Shannon Lake due to the high level of fertilizer in the lake, he said.

A scale shows the yellow perch weighed in at four lb. and 2.4 oz.
A scale shows the yellow perch weighed in at four lb. and 2.4 oz.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Devin Ruehle

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