Making Your Farm Dam Good Fishing

Silver PerchSILVER PERCH are the fish to stock in your dam in NSW as they eat a broader range of food, hence you can stock more fish and they will grow quicker then other fish in farm dams. Silver Perch also don’t eat each other.

SILVER PERCH are native to the western drainage system.

SILVER PERCH are allowed to be stocked in dams above the 1 in 100 year flood mark on the eastern drainage side of the great divide.

DAM CAPACITY for producing natural food varies due to the dam size, depth, water quality, plant life and how often water flows into it ect. Fish are active, except mid winter. If your fish are 125 mm or longer throw some floating feed in the late afternoon shade and if the fish don’t feed within 10 mins, you are more then likely understocked for fishing.

SILVER PERCH STOCK RATE 1000 to 7000 Fingerling’s  per HA (100x100m)  or 1 to 7 Fingerling’s per 10 M (10m x 1m) of dam surface area.

STOCKING RATE WITH LITTLE OR NO FEEDING 1 or 2 Fingerling’s per 10m x 1m of dam surface area or 1000 to 2000 per HA.

STOCKING RATE WITH SOME SUPPLEMENTARY FEEDING. 3 or 4 Fingerling’s per 10m x 1 m can be maintained by relatively inexperienced fish growers. Feeding fish around 5% of total weight of fish in dams once or twice a week or if you don’t know how big they are, feed them floating food until they slow down feeding and don’t feed a few days before fishing.

FEEDING should be done after the sun has left the dam in late afternoon.

STOCKING 5 to 7 fingerling’s per 10m x 1m requires grower to have some knowledge of fish feeding and water quality. But stocking at 5 to 7 fingerling’s generally don’t require aeration unless you are planning to grow fish above 14″ long.

NOTE: 20m x 20m is about the minimum size dam for stocking silver perch. Generally the bigger the dam the better and bigger the silver perch grow.
Maximum size of silver perch is 8kg and can live for 25 years.


  • Silver perch processed food is best
  • Cat dry pellets are ok, and includes Omega 3
  • Chook pellets and bread, silver perch will eat but growth rate is usually poor. Mixing with tuna oil will help.
  • Meat meal is ok for small fish less than 80mm

COOKING Silver perch will take up any flavours you wish to cook them with but if you are used to eating salt water fish be liberal with the salt.

Silver perch are very nicely smoked.

As silver perch are very high in omega 3 it is important that you let you let the fish set (go stiff) in the fridge before cooking as your fish will shrink and curl up if you don’t.

PREDATORS Silver Perch are quicker then most dam species, but like other fish when they a forced to swim fast for over 4 seconds they deplete their body of oxygen and need to slow down or hide to recover.

EELS and TURTLES sometimes get a few small silver perch but generally very few.

BIRD PREDATORS because silver perch stay out of shallow water during most of the daylight hours, wading birds, eagles and hawks only get a few per year while ever fish are healthy.

BLACK SHAGS there are two main types, small black (most) common which will mainly target 2″ to 6″ fish.

LARGE BLACK SHAG which will mainly target 4″ to 12″ fish. the trouble with both these types of shags is if one finds plenty of fish at the right size the next day he will bring a partner and round up fish where the shags can catch them. Then each day after the shags will bring more partners till it’s hard for them to get a feed.

Generally stocking of 1 or 2 per 10m isn’t that attractive as the first shag to arrive at your dam may only see a few of your silver perch you stocked, because when a silver perch school is threatened they scatter in every direction. Shags have no hope of catching 3″ or longer silver per perch in a straight line in open water. Quiet often single shags are feeding on slower aquatic animals like guppies or shrimp and eels ect. If silver perch have been harassed by shags they may not eat for up to a week after shags leave your dam.

The best deterrent is a dog that likes chasing birds. Which if need be you can tie your dog up on a running wire near your dam.

Another thing that works sometimes is a wine carton bladder with eyes drawn on it half hidden in  the grass on the edge of the dam. The birds think its a predator.


Introducing Your Fish

Fish are packed in plastic bags with oxygen, water and foam boxes. The fish will last 24 hours on oxygen when packaged this way.

When at your dam or tank float the bag for 5 minutes in the water, open the bag and add some of the dam water to the bag until it is half full. Leave the bag for another 5 minutes then release the fish from the bag.

Do this in the shade if possible and add the cooler water from the deeper water in the dam, not the hot surface water.