Went fishing today at C.J. Strike and noticed several dead and dying perch. All were around five inches long. Most were dead but I noticed one upside down swimming in tight circles. Any idea whats killing them and are other fish safe to eat?
This time of the year, we always receive reports of dead yellow perch on various waters throughout Idaho. Typically, the mortality is tied to post-spawning stress. Think of it this way, first-time spawning perch put a tremendous amount of energy and body reserves into producing eggs. Some of these fish don't have the energy to recover.
If it were a toxin or an environmental issue, you would see other species of dead fish (crappie, bass, trout, etc.). The fish are probably safe to eat, but, I wouldn't recommend collecting the perch for that purpose.
Regardless, we will have someone do some sleuthing to confirm this is the cause of the yellow perch mortality.