Anglers can help control spread of undesirable, non-native fish species
PRATT -- The invasion continues. White perch, a fish species native to the Atlantic coast of North America, now inhabit the waters of Lake Afton in Sedgwick County.

KDWP fisheries biologist Jessica Mounts said an angler recently reported finding white perch at the 260-acre lake located southwest of Wichita. Using electrofishing equipment, Mounts confirmed the presence of the species at the Sedgwick County-owned lake. The size of the white perch collected indicated that they have inhabited Lake Afton for at least a year.
Like other non-native species, white perch create problems by competing for food and space with more desirable sportfish.

In recent years, white perch have established populations at several other Kansas locations, including Cheney and Wilson reservoirs, Kingman State Fishing Lake, Hoover Pond in Kingman, Carey Park Pond in Hutchinson, as well as in the Ninnescah, Arkansas, and Saline rivers.

White perch resemble white bass, a popular sportfish species in Kansas, although they do not have lines or stripes along their sides and those encountered by Kansas anglers are usually less than 10 inches long.

To help prevent the spread of the species to other waters, the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission earlier this year approved the addition of white perch to the list of prohibited species. It is illegal to possess live white perch in Kansas, or to release fish taken from one body of water into another.

Angler harvest may help control white perch populations. Anglers who catch white perch should not release the fish or place them in livewells. They should be killed and disposed of or eaten. More information on white perch and other aquatic nuisance species is available at the KDWP website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us. Just type "ANS" in the search box.