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The Redfin Perch in Australia

The Redfin Perch in Australia

Perca fluviatilis, otherwise known as the Redfin perch or English perch although regarded as a pest in Australia by naturalists due to its ‘introduced’ presence, it is without any doubt, one of the favourites for anglers as they are not only attractive to look at, fun to catch and plentiful, they are also delicious when cooked right.

This freshwater fish is actually native to northern Europe and was introduce to Australian waters in around the mid 1800s and due to its unique ability to adapt, the Redfin quickly became widespread through much of New South Wales, Victoria, South Eastern and South Western inland waterways. It is known as the Redfin due to the lower fins and forked tail which are commonly red whilst the rest of the fish’s body colour may range from grey to green with vertical dark shaded stripes.

The fish is also popular with anglers due to its fighting characteristics which add to the thrill of angling. The Redfin varies in size and colour depending on the diet that the environment it thrives on provides. Although on average the Redfin is usually around 45 cm in length and weigh anywhere between 1 – 2 Kg, it is known to grow up to 60 cm in length and weigh up to 10 Kg.

In general the Redfin’s ‘adopted’ natural habitats include billabongs, swamps, slow moving streams and rivers as well as lakes. Commonly the Redfin stays close to submerged dead wood, large driftwood, reeds and rock crevices, as long as it’s surrounding environment offers adequate shelter and doubles as an attraction for prey, the Redfin tends to linger in schools or solitary. The carnivorous Redfin survives on a diverse range of prey, which include (but not limited to) crustaceans, molluscs, larvae, worms and smaller fish.

redfin lures

Fisherman on the river bank, a fisherman caught a perch. Fisherman holding a perch in his hand. Big bass, silicone lures, fish, catch, spinning – concept of active rest.Article about fishing and fish.

The Redfin is considered a pest due to its veracious predatory appetite and studies have indicated that the introduced species has been the reason behind the population fluctuation of native Australian freshwater fish. Although, studies are still preliminary and have been based on physical observations and random statistical data. The mere fact that the species is quickly finding their way into new regions in Australia and populating waterways to the point of ‘clogging’ has raised concerns about the fate of indigenous species such as the Murray Cod, Mountain Galaxias and Macquarie Perch which are unable to compete with the Redfin towards survival.

However, despite its ‘pest’ status, the Redfin is as mentioned earlier, considered to be one of the tastiest freshwater fish and is a favourite amongst anglers who not only like how the fish tastes, but also love ‘the fight’ the fish usually puts up when hooked. There are a variety of redfin fishing lures which are easy to use and easily catch these fish, spin lures, hard body lures and soft plastics will all work, adding to the popularity of the species by fishermen.

The easiness of preparing the fish is another factor that makes the Redfin popular for lakeside camping, this is because after removing the skin, a boneless fillet can be obtained just by running a blade down the side of the backbone and along the ribs, after which adding a bit of lemon and herbs before grilling the fillet would make a hearty and delicious meal.