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Silver Perch

Bairdiella chrysoura

(Brandi Noble/NOAA NMFS SEFSC Pascagoula Laboratory)
(Brandi Noble/NOAA NMFS SEFSC Pascagoula Laboratory)

The silver perch is a small drum with a silvery body and yellowish fins. It lives in the Chesapeake Bay year-round, most commonly found in shallow waters from spring to autumn.


  • Greenish or bluish-gray body
  • Faint, dusky stripe that runs along the length of the body to the tail
  • Silvery belly
  • High, rounded back
  • Deep notch in the dorsal fin
  • Fins on the lower part of the body are yellowish
  • Grows to 9 inches long


  • Found in shallow waters, particularly in the lower part of the Bay
  • Moves to deeper, water waters in winter


  • Lives year-round in the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay
  • Usually caught between spring and autumn, with a peak in September-October
  • Rare north of Baltimore


  • Eats small crustaceans and bristle worms

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Spawns in spring along the shallows of the Bay’s eastern shore
  • Larvae and small juveniles migrate upstream into fresher waters. As they grow, they move back down to the Bay, gathering in higher-salinity shallows near bay grass beds.

Other Facts:

  • Also known as sand perch
  • A member of the drum family, which includes spot, weakfish, red drum, black drum and spotted seatrout. All drums are able to make a loud drumming or croaking sound by vibrating their swim bladder using special muscles. Atlantic croakers are the loudest of the drums.
  • Can be confused with white perch. You can distinguish a silver perch by its yellowish fins and slightly pointed, rather than forked, tail.

Sources and Additional Information:

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