Golden Perch / Callop / Yellowbelly - Macquaria ambigua
Golden Perch form the backbone of the inland fishing in Australia. They
are willing takers of baits including crayfish, shrimps and worms. They
are also lure takers with spinnerbaits and trolled deep diving lures gaining
more popularity. They can often be found in large schools in both river
and lake situations. Eating qualities vary depending upon the waters they
are caught from and the size of the fish. Larger fish are often very fatty
along the top of the back.
Golden perch are commonly caught at about 5kg, but can grow up to 9kg (76cm).
Weights of up to 23kg have been recorded, but these are questionable.
Golden perch are sexually mature at 4-5 years of age and can live for
as long as 19 years. At maturity these fish are around 41-42cm in length.
Their colouration is variable ranging from dull black to brilliant gold.
Generally they have a dark brown to olive green back, shading to yellow
or white towards the belly. Larger adult fish have a very distinctive
form. They have a high-humped back and stumpy, barely functional tails.
Their gill covers have razor-sharp serrated cutting edges. Golden perch
feed on shrimps, crayfish, small mussels and occasionally fish. When
breeding they may migrate considerable distances upstream during the
spring and summer high water and the female may deposit over 500,000
eggs each about 4 mm in diameter.
Confusing species - Golden perch are sometimes confused with Macquarie
perch (Macquaria australasica), however golden perch have a concave forehead
and protruding lower jaw. Small golden perch are also often confused with
small silver perch, goldfish, carp, Murray Cod and Trout cod.
Golden perch are found only in freshwater. They occur in clear, fast-flowing
rivers or streams, as well as slow-flowing, turbid rivers and backwaters.
Golden perch prefer warm, turbid slow-flowing streams. They range throughout
the Murray-Darling river system in central and southern Queensland, New
South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. They can also be found in rivers
draining into Lake Eyre. Golden perch undergo long migrations upstream
in late spring to early summer. There are three genetically distinct stocks
of golden perch. One is native to the Lake Eyre drainage system (Macquiria
sp.), another to the Murray-Darling system (Macquaria ambigua) and the
last to the Dawson system (Macquaria ambigua oriens).
The abundance of golden perch has dramatically decreased in the Murray-Darling
and Fitzroy catchments due to migration obstruction and the alteration
of flow regimes and temperature stratification following the construction
of weirs and dams.
from the Murray-Darling system has been introduced to dams thoughout
the Murray/Darling catchment and in many dams along eastern Australia.