Zander fish, its habitats, characteristics, fishing methods.
The European pike perch, or Zander, is found in lakes and rivers of eastern, central, and Western Europe. It is greenish or grayish, usually with darker markings, and generally attains a length of 50–66 cm (20–26 inches) and a weight of 3 kg (6.6 pounds). The zander is a common and popular game fish in Europe. It is often eaten, and it may reach 15 kilograms in size, although typical catches are considerably smaller. Their success in establishing themselves is owed to a number of factors, one of which is that they are particularly well adapted to life in the slow-flowing, sparsely vegetated, rather murky waters. Zander thrive in water with rather low visibility; pike often dominates the predator fish niche in clear water. However, they need plenty of oxygen and soon disappear from eutrophic areas. Utilized fresh or frozen and eaten steamed, broiled and microwave.
A combination of understanding the fish and the techniques used to catch them will help you to hook more fish to the end of your line. Better knowing and understanding of the fish that you are trying to catch will make you a more successful angler, whether you are fishing for trout on a river or surfing on the beach or trolling on the open water.
They inhabit Eastern and central Europe, Sweden and Finland, Western Asia; introduced into several European countries, rivers in southern Russia and the basin of the Danube. They found in brackish waters of Baltic, Black, Azov, Caspian and Aral seas, Lake Balkhash, Issyk-Kul, Hanka, in Ust-Kamenogorsk reservoir. This species has depleted stocks of native fish in some areas where it has been introduced for angling. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.
Zander, scientific name is Sander lucioperca (or Stizostedion lucioperca), also known as Sandre, Lucioperca, Sander, is a genus of fish in the
Percidae (Perch) family. They also had known as pike-perch as they resemble the pike with their elongated body and head, and the perch with their spiny dorsal fin, but they unrelated to the Esocidae (Pike) family and they are not a pike and perch hybrid.
Their body is elongate, slender, laterally compressed, covered with very small scales (70 - 95 in lateral line), without cross-bars. Lateral line continues on the tail fin. They have a large mouth, the rear end of the maxilla in adults behind vertical from posterior edge of the eye. Total of dorsal spines are 13 – 20. The second dorsal fin has 18 - 24 soft rays; 2 – 3 anal spines with 11-14 soft rays, Caudal fin with 17 soft rays, Vertebrae: 45 - 47. No spines on the gill cover. Their upper and lower jaws have strong teeth. The mouth is large compared with the perch and ruffe, but small relative to the cavernous jaws of the pike. What the zander's jaws lack in size however, they make up for in the size of the teeth they contain. On both, the front of the lower and upper jaws are found pairs of large fang-like teeth. These fit into hollows in the opposite side of the jaws and are used to stab the prey, inflicting a fatal wound, and then to hold it. The eyes are large and have a peculiar glassy look. This is because they incorporate a reflective plate or tapetum, which increases their sensitivity at night and in poor light. Gill cover partially covered with scales. The back is greenish-gray. There are 8 – 12 brown-black transverse bands on the sides and rows of dark spots at the dorsal and caudal fins. Other fins pale are yellow. They can grow up to 130 cm, weight 20 kg.
The back is usually grey or brown in color, with black dappling occurring in vague stripes. These are much less well defined than in the perch though they are clearer in the young fish, while often disappearing completely with maturity. The flanks of the young zander are silver, while those of the older fish have a greenish-gold hue. The underside and lower fins are white, although a hint of blue is sometimes noticeable. The dorsal fins, especially the spiny one carry black spots over a grey and yellow background. The tail is speckled grey with white lower lobe.
Habitat and Habits
Inhabit deep, calm freshwater of lakes, reservoirs, canals and rivers with depth range 2 - 30 m, usually 2 - 3 m and temperate of 6°C - 22°C. Feed mainly on fishes. The habitats occupied by Zander are likely to vary during different seasons, as shown by radio-tracking study done in the United States. In autumn, the adults prefer a substrate of large pebbles in 1.20-1.80 m depth. In winter, when the temperature approaches 5°C, Zander are found in pits and trenches where they overwinter. When the temperature rises above 2.8°C in spring, they commence upstream migration.
2 forms of Zander are known: residential and semi-form.
Residential fish lives in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. They reach sexual maturity at 4 to 7 years of age, with length of about 40 cm, spawning in the spring, when water temperature 12-26 ° C (mainly at 18-20 ° C). Nest in the form of holes or lay eggs on the bare roots of plants. The male guards the eggs and newly hatched fry. Each female can produce from 200.000 to 500.000 eggs. The young feed on zooplankton, by the end of the first year goes to the carnivorous food.
Semi-perch grow faster than residential. They mature at the age of 3-5 years and spawn in the lower parts of the rivers. Each female can produce up to 1 million eggs. After spawning they are migrating into the sea. In the Azov Sea sprat fed, perkarinoy, gobies, in the Caspian - sprat, gobies, in the Aral - silverside, sabrefish.
The diet of the zander depends largely on the food available. Any species of fish is fair game for the zander's toothy jaws, even its own kind. They are particularly fond of the smaller fish species, especially the bottom feeders such as gudgeon and their own relation, the ruffe. They prefer smaller fish than pike do, and they chase and grasp their prey by the tail or any part of the body they can get hold of. They then swallow the fish tail or head first, not turning it in the way pike do. Any fish they cannot swallow is ejected and then probably picked up dead from the bottom. Zander readily take dead fish and have been known to join together with their shoal mates to dismember the corpse. Apart from fish, zander also eat freshwater shrimps and water slaters.
Spawning takes place at a temperature of around 11°C on substrate composed of large pebbles in a current of 1.40-1.50 m/sec. After spawning, the parents drift downstream and stay in pools, 1 - 2 m deep, for 2 weeks. Mortalities affect the females after spawning. In summer, Zander prefer a substrate of pebbles and are found at variable depths, often on the upstream edge of pits and trenches where there is a rupture of current. When the temperature reaches 30°C, they seek deep pools. Spawning is earlier in lower latitudes. Pale yellow eggs are found attached to emergent vegetation or stones and gravel.
This is an extremely popular sport fish. Best method is the free running lead ledgered bait; although pole fishing (some call it cane fishing) with a float is even more successful method. The drawback with using floats is that it can be pushed down the line by the surface currents which then means you are not presenting the bait at the depth you wish. Another essential thing is good quality fresh bait, preferably a live bait, unlike the pike which will take any opportunity for a free meal. Zander - a very valuable food fish. The best time for fishing is in the morning, evening or night.
Great rods for Zander fishing are:
18ft Telescopic Spinning Rod,
12ft Telescopic Spinning Rod,
12ft Telescopic Casting Light Rod,
18ft Telescopic Carbon Pole,
24ft Telescopic Fishing Pole
Freshwater Fish Species
The Perch family species
Saltwater Fish Species