Animals -> Fish -> Freshwater Fish -> Perch and Darters

Perch and Darters

Yellow perch is reported to have been eaten by the Plains Cree, Chippewa, Anishnabeg Ojibway (Anishinabek), Ontario First Nations, Micmac (Mi'kmaq) of Richibucto, Eastmain Cree and Rappahannock. The Rappahannock are reported to have valued it highly [1-7]. The Eastmain Cree caught the fish in the Lower Eastmain River [1]. The Chippewa dried yellow perch on a rack over a fire or in the sun [4].

The small fish, johnny darter, is reported to have been available in the Red Earth, Shaol Lake region of the Red Earth Cree of Saskatchewan; however the Red Earth Cree usually used smaller fish for dog food only and therefore may not have eaten johnny darter [8].

Logperch was reported to have been eaten by the Red Earth Cree of Saskatchewan [8].


1.         Berkes F: An Investigation of Cree Indian Domestic Fisheries in Northern Quebec. Arctic 1979, 32(1):46-70.

2.         Speck FG, Hassrick RB, Carpenter ES: Rappahannock Taking Devices: Traps, Hunting and Fishing. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Anthropological Society; 1946.

3.         Speck FG, Dexter RW: Utilization of animals and plants by the Micmac Indians of New Brunswick. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 1951, 41(8):250-259.

4.         Densmore F: Food. In: Chippewa Customs. edn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press; 1979: 39-43.

5.         Mandelbaum DG: The Plains Cree: An Ethnographic, Historical, and Comparative Study, vol. 1st edition. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center; 1979.

6.         Clifton JA, Cornell GL, McClurken JM: People of The Three Fires: The Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibway of Michigan. Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Grand Rapids Inter-Tribal Council; 1986.

7.         Rogers ES: Aboriginal Ontario: historical perspectives on the First Nations. Toronto: Dundurn Press; 1994.

8.         Meyer D: Appendix I: Plants, Animals and Climate; Appendix IV: Subsistence-Settlement Patterns. In: The Red Earth Crees, 1860-1960. Volume 1st edition, edn.: National Musem of Man Mercury Series; 1985: 175-185-200-223.

Perch and darters are part of a family of freshwater fish that includes walleye and sauger and that is related to the sunfish and freshwater drum families. They all have a dorsal fin separated into a spiny-rayed section in the front and a soft-rayed section in the back. In North America, the perch and darters include the yellow perch (Perca flavescens), the logperch (Percina caprodes), and the Johnny darter (Etheostoma nigrum).

The yellow perch is native from eastern Canada south to Missouri, but stocking has brought it to all Canadian provinces, except Newfoundland. They are greenish on the back and yellowish on the belly with six to eight wide, dark vertical lines on their sides and orange pelvic fins. Their mouth reaches the mid-point of their eye. They can grow to around 25 cm and are most often found in shallow, clear, and slow-moving waters with weed beds [1].

The logperch occurs from the Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. They have a tiger-like colour pattern, grow to around 15 cm long, and are found in small creeks and rivers, but also in deep water bodies [2]. The Johny darter has a similar range to the logperch, but is small and slender, rarely growing over 5 cm long, and has dark saddle-marks on its back and sides [3].


1.         Wooding FH: Lake, river and sea-run fishes of Canada. Madeira Park, BC, Canada: Harbour Publishing; 1997.

2.         "Percina caprodes Rafinesque, 1818." []

3.         "Etheostoma nigrum Rafinesque, 1820." []


Images provided below, unless otherwise stated, were obtained from: Encyclopedia of Life. Available from
Yellow perch
Copyright United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Supplier: Animal Diversity Web
This map is based on occurrence records available through the GBIF network
Johnny darter
Image was obtained from: Quebec Biodiversity Website. Available from
Scott, W.B. and E.J. Crossman. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Bulletin 184: Ottawa, ON.
This map is based on occurrence records available through the GBIF network
Supplier: Freshwater and Marine Image Bank
Publisher: Freshwater and Marine Image Bank, University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections
This map is based on occurrence records available through the GBIF network