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Nile Perch Fact Sheet

Information On Nile Perch

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Nile Perch (Lates niloticus) are native to the African continent and live in lakes and rivers in tropical areas. They get very big and are a good food fish. Jeremy Wade caught this one in his series ("River Monsters")

  • Description - These fish are brown to greenish brown on the back with a silver belly. The head is long and narrow compared to the wide body. Its eyes are very black with a yellow ring. It is related to the snook and barramundi.
  • Size - Nile Perch get big. The world record caught on rod and reel is 230 pounds but fish over 500 pounds have been caught in nets.
  • Distribution - Native to the tropical areas of Africa, including the Nile River and lakes in Egypt, They have been introduced into other areas including Lake Victoria, but are listed as one of the top 100 most invasive fish species.

  • What Nile Perch Eat- Very young fish eat plankton but bigger fish eat other fish, insects and crustaceans. Big Nile Perch will also eat smaller Nile Perch.
  • Reproduction - Fish reach sexual maturity at three years old. The female lays eggs, a lot of them, with a big female laying an average of nine million eggs in her life. Eggs hatch in only 20 hours from March to June each year.
  • Attraction to Light- They will come to lights because smaller fish they eat are attracted to lights.
  • Life Cycle - After hatching the fish grow quickly. Many are caught for food or eaten by other fish before they reach giant size. They have few predators after reaching about 30 pounds, except for man.
  • Problems - These fish are so prolific they overpopulate any waters they are not native to, and decimate other species. They have been stocked in many waters where not native, for food and for sport, but always cause problems for native species.
  • Fishing for Nile Perch - Fishing is best in early mornings and late afternoons. Live bait like talapia and tigerfish are good choices for hooking one. They make hard, long, powerful runs after being hooked so you need a heavy rod and a reel with a very smooth drag system
  • Nile Perch grow big and are very prolific. They are good to eat and big ones are considered trophy catches, with fishermen traveling thousands of miles for the chance to catch one.

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