• exploitation;
  • fish ecology;
  • fishery management

Whole-body morphometrics and 15 nuclear DNA microsatellite loci were analysed for 158 Perca flavescens collected during the spawning season from four spawning locations in central Lake Erie, two along the northern shore and two along the southern shore, to evaluate fine-scale variation (spanning 17–94 km). Results showed significant morphological and genetic differences among P. flavescens from the four locations. The magnitudes of differences were unrelated to geographic distance, demonstrating spatially heterogeneous levels of genetic divergence. These results linked morphometric and genetic variation, showing a discontinuity of scale between currently defined management units and population structure of P. flavescens in Lake Erie, and support that P. flavescens might exist as one or more metapopulations. Findings demonstrate the value of using complementary techniques for evaluating population structure.