The yellow perch breeds in the spring, or in early summer if the water’s cool. It lays its eggs in shallow water, normally on rooted plant life, branches or submerged dead trees, sometimes even on a sand or gravel bottom.
Sexual maturity in the yellow perch is reached between one and two years for the male, and two and three years for the female. In fact, the male reproduces for the first time around the age of three, while it’s more likely to be around the age of four for the female. Egg laying takes place during the night or very early in the morning. The yellow perch builds no nest.
The eggs are transparent. They’re laid in a very long strand forming a gelatinous mass that attaches to vegetation or debris. The mass contains an average of 23,000 eggs. Depending on the size of the female, the number will vary from 2,000 to 90,000 eggs. Incubation lasts for around 10 days.
In the spawning period, it’s believed that the female waits for one or more males, who take turns trying to fertilize her eggs. A female full of eggs may be pursued by 15 to 25 males hoping to fertilize those eggs.
Once swollen with water, an egg has a diameter of about 3.5 millimeters. These eggs, floating freely, are contained in a flattened ribbon, gelatinous and transparent, with accordion-like folds. Some ribbons may be as long as two meters and as wide as four centimeters. The parents don’t protect them, but the eggs are believed to contain a substance that discourages predators. They receive air thanks to the water circulating through the gelatinous ribbon.
At hatching, the fry measure close to five millimeters. After consuming their yolk sac, they eat plankton.