Yellow Perch Spawn, Again, In Severn Run

They’re Back!

Yellow Perch egg sac in Severn Run

Thanks to observations from Lynne and Craig Rockenbauch , we are excited to announce that the beautiful yellow perch have returned to the Severn Run to spawn.

Yellow perch are a semi-anadromous species – meaning they migrate from saltier estuarine waters to the freshwater in Severn Run to lay their eggs.

In late February adults travel up the Severn to begin a new generation.

Females begin laying long, white, gelatinous egg chains that multiple males fertilize. These egg chains then hatch 11-27 days following fertilization.

Pictured to the right above is a long egg chain discovered by Lynne and Craig on the shores of the Severn Run.

Lynne takes in the Severn Run in late winter.

Lynne points to Yellow Perch egg sacs


Lynne and Craig began their annual Yellow Perch expedition along the banks of the Severn Run at the Discus Mill Rd Bridge and trekked downstream, noticing flooding and beaver dams but no yellow perch eggs.

They then headed downstream of the Veterans Highway Bridge, noticing abundant skunk cabbage and finally the treasure they were hoping to find – two yellow perch egg chains!

We are excited to see this cherished species return to the Severn Run.

However due to poor water quality and juvenile habitat conditions in the Severn River, egg and larval viability is very low.

Next Phase Of The Search For Yellow Perch

With guidance from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Arlington Echo, SRA will sample for larvae beginning next week and continuing through April.

We hope to see an increase in larval abundance and hatching success, though this has not been the case in years past.

Yellow Perch Reproduction At Historic Lows

Meanwhile, University of Maryland researcher, Alex MacLeod has produced a research poster explaining why Yellow Perch’s egg-hatching success has fallen to less than 10%. To review Alex’s poster, click here.

— Field Investigator, Emi McGeady; Photos: Craig Rockenbauch