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- Prostaff Member Trout Whisperer
When I started driving years ago I thought the road lanes were as narrow as the holes in the pool table I was occasionally taking a poke at. After awhile on the road black top or the velvet covered slate my perspective broadened. Funny how the road width or pocket size never changed, but my attitude did.
So it was with perch. I always thought perch were a nuisance fish. They were always so little and seemed to be everywhere and what I wanted was walleyes. Walleye season closes. As I got older my perspectives changed yet again.
For the past three weekends with several friends and better than five years of perch hunting, pestering dnr fisheries folks, I have hit upon a perch lake that allows for the whitest fillets. Make no mistake, perch are not walleyes. But they eat the same way.
There is no giant drama to perch fishing. Set a waxie in front of them in shallow water, next to last falls fallen weed line, lower bait, set hook, rinse and repeat. Not to be too greedy but we can harvest twenty per person and that adds up to forty fillets. It's a fish fry fish for a family. The fish may be small, but long on economy.
Some of these weed lines are better suited to my perch fishing than others. If you recall last Summers Lake bottom substrate you may want a muddy bottom over the gravel that walleye seem to prefer.
If you don't own all the electronics, perch don't seem to mind. Fishing earlier in the morning and a steady or rising barometer will hopefully fill your bucket, I know it has mine. You don't even need minnows. The micro jigs with the lightest line, and you’re in business. Don't be afraid to fish very shallow. Five to seven feet can be plenty of water even with 24 inches of ice cover.
If you’re catching perch, one fin after the next and all of a sudden things go dead. Stay put and wait. It's been my experience that a northern may have ghosted in; shut down the perch and once Mr. Water wolf moves off the perch pick right back with feeding. But a good spot for perch, especially when spring spawning, is a honey hole, time and again.
If you suddenly start to catch sunfish, crappies or bluegills and all your after is perch its time to move just abit deeper. Why the perch bite first and the panfish move in behind them later, perhaps as the lake gets lighter, I can only speculate at. Don't get me wrong if the gills or crappies are big enough it doesn't hurt my feelings. But if I find a good perch hole they usually stop feeding or move off about the time the pannies show up. Maybe the panfish are just more aggressive.
I like filleting perch, to me there much easier than sunnies. Im sure it's all about perspective. Maybe some day I’ll change my mind about sunfish.