Percopsis omiscomaycus Trout-Perch


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The natural history of the northwoods



  • Percopsis, from the Greek, "perch-like"
  • omiscomaycus, a native American name containing the root for "trout"
  • Common name from its similarity to both trout and perch
  • Other common names include: Grounder Minnow, Sandroller, Silver Chub


  • Kingdom Animalia
    • Phylum Chordata, animals with a spinal chord
    • Subphylum Vertebrata, animals with a backbone
      • Superclass Osteichthyes, bony fishes
      • Class Actinopterygii, ray-finned and spiny rayed fishes
      • Subclass Neopterygii
      • Infraclass Teleostei
        • Superorder Paracanthopterygii
        • Order Percopsiformes
        • Suborder Percopsoidei
          • Family Percopsidae, the trout-perches
            • Genus Percopsis, the trout-perches
  • One of only two species in the trout-perch family Percopsidae, these little fish combine the characteristics of spiny-rayed and soft-rayed fishes, resembling both trout and perch. They are a surviving remnant of a larger group now mostly extinct.


  • An unusual little fish of interesting pedigree.
  • Length 3"-5", females larger than males
  • Coloration
    • back and sides pale olive, straw-colored, or silvery to almost translucent
    • five distinct rows of black spots on back and sides
    • belly whitish
  • Body
    • thick-bodied
    • tail fin deeply forked
    • fleshy adipose fin
    • single dorsal fin with two weak spines and 10-11 rays
    • anal fin with single weak spine and 6-7 rays
    • pelvic fin with one spine and 8-9 rays
    • lateral line of 47-58 scales
  • Head
    • large head
    • mouth horizontal and large
    • upper jaw not reaching beyond the front of the eye
  • Lifespan 4 to 5 years


  • Resembles a small perch, but can be distinguished from them by the presence of an adipose fin, a feature of trout.


  • Alaska through central Canada to the midwestern and eastern US.


  • Prefers stream habitats with high water quality and is most commonly found in streams that have deep pools and bottoms of sand and gravel. Lake populations avoid mud-filled bays.
  • Spends daylight hours in deeper water or in piles of sticks, leaves or other debris.


  • Nocturnal; feeds over shallow bottoms on aquatic insects and other small invertebrates. Moves during daylight into deep water or hides around structure.
  • Where abundant, an important prey species for Northem Pike (Esox lucius), Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens), and Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum).



  • Popular neither as game nor as bait.


  • Spawns from May through August over rock and sandy bottom.
  • Random spawners, they give no parental care to the eggs or fry.



Boreal border

Last updated on 17 October 1999