Estuary Perch – (Macquaria colonorum)
The body of an Estuary Perch is slightly deeper than that of the Australian Bass, the snout profile is concave and the snout noticeably longer than that of the Australian Bass. The Estuary Perch is a dark grey to silvery on the back becoming paler below. All fins are dark except the outer half of the rear section of the anal fin.
Other Common Names
Perch, Gippsland perch
In western Victoria often incorrectly called Australian bass
Looks very similar to Australian Bass (Macquaria novemaculeata) which can be distinguished from the Estuary Perch by their straight dorsal head profile.
To 10 Kg (22 lb). In Victoria frequently to 540 mm and 4 Kg (21″ and 8.8lb).
Most common in estuarine waters.
Generally prefers more saline water than Australian bass, with which it is often confused, but nevertheless quite often found in locations with very low salinity.
Coastal rivers and lakes from the Richmond River in northern New South Wales through the whole of the Victorian coast as far west as mouth of the Murray River in South Australia.
Abundant in most streams in its distribution, especially in southern New South Wales and Victoria.
Spawning is believed to occur in the lower sections of estuaries.
Breeding may commence as early as July to August in New South Wales, but usually occurs much later, into November or December, in Victorian waters, especially in the western regions.
Estuary perch appear to feed loser to the bottom and have a less varied diet to that of Australian bass.
Their diet consists mainly of shrimps, prawns, worms, bivalve moluscs and smaller fish.
Usually overlooked as an angling target, estuary perch are a good fighting fish and is readily taken on artificial lures and baits such as sand worms, prawns and Bass yabbies.
Tends to run “hot and cold” and often seems to move up and down the lower parts of rivers streams with the tide, perhaps maintaining some preferred salinity level.
Can be very abundant at times.
Easily confused with Australian bass, may be differentiated by their deeper, less cylindrical shape, their relatively larger mouth and their relatively more pointed snout.
On the table
Very good eating.
In the aquarium
Not really suitable for aquarium use, estuary perch often do not handle well and can be difficult to maintain especially in summer.