It is true that calling a crappie fisherman a perch jerker is incorrect 99.99999 percent of the time.
On Monday, March 21, Wesley Cummings of Booneville was a member of the other .00001 percent.
On a crappie fishing trip to the Mill Creek area of Pickwick Lake, Cummings dropped a pink jig into the water and jerked out a fat, 1.46-pound yellow perch. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks certified the catch as a new state record for the species.
MDWFP fisheries biologist Tyler Stubbs identified the fish and certified the weight. The previous record was 1.13 pounds caught in 2006.
“Catching a yellow perch is rare, so the potential of seeing a new state record was unexpected and exciting,” said Stubbs.
Yellow perch are not native to the state, but the construction of the Tenn-Tom Waterway and Pickwick Lake introduced the fish to Mississippi. Yellow perch are native to the Tennessee and Ohio River systems.
According to the MDWFP, yellow perch have slowly spread into state waters of the Tenn-Tom system north of Fulton. Pickwick Lake and Bay Springs Lake are where most of the rare catches are reported.
Cummings’ catch brings up an interesting discussion about the use of the term white perch in Mississippi.
A member of the perch or Percidae family, Yellow perch (Percidae flavescens) are closest in kin to walleye, sauger and dozens of darter species.
Crappie are often mistakenly called perch, but are not members of the Percidae family. Instead, they are sunfish (Centrarchidae), along with bass and bream.
And, here’s the kicker. A white perch is not a Percidae or perch family member, either. It’s in the Morone family, or temperate bass, along with striped, white and hybrid striped bass. They live mostly along the Northeastern seaboard of the U.S.