Do you love big bluegill?
We had some warmer temps last week here in Utah. A few of the lakes are starting to open up. Ice fishing isn't completely done but it will be in the next few weeks. A reservoir near where I live had a lot of great reports this year of good size yellow perch being caught through the ice. Last year was a dinkfest so it is good to see some of the larger ones showing up. I don't know what one considers a jumbo but I did see quite a few 12 inchers show up. There is bound to be bigger ones there.
I've only caught yellow perch through the ice. I would love to catch them throughout the year. I know yellow perch like to spawn around vegetation so they can lay their eggs on the vegetation and then the males swim in and fertilize. Are they difficult to catch during spawning? Do they care anything about moving water?
I guarantee that most of you on here have caught way more perch than I have and have put in the time to figure out how to target them with success. Any tips/tricks/advice you could give would be awesome. Thanks!
Byron Dalrymple in his 1948 book,'Ice Fishing For Everybody'states:" Perch Habitat:Lakes,regardless of size,depth and general fertility.Large slow streams.Seldom found in small,or fast streams."
This I agree with as I 've fished two outlets from Greenwood Lake .The slow large Belchers creek where I've caught male and female spawners and the narrow fast moving stocked trout Wanaque River which has no Perch. The Spawn is a March /ice out event for Perch in New Jersey .In the small lake of Cupsaw I fish more than any other body of water ,spawning Perch at ice out are found near moving water from a pipe or stream at both NW and SE ends of the lake in March and April .
Rebel Wee R's when the water is a bit warmer but feather or Bucktail jigs with a piece of worm or a mealworm fished near bottom work well.
Perch in my experience move extremely shallow in March after a bit of warming after ice out .Dalrymple suggests they range to about 30 feet and seldom go deeper.However that may not be entirely true but I feel its a good guideline . I don't think I've caught them any deeper than 25 feet but I almost never fish deeper than that anyway.
A lake Trout Fisherman might be good to ask if he catches Perch while targeting lakers.
Hey Guys...thought I'd throw in my 2 cents here...
I am fortunate to have some great waters near my home for big spawning perch, to include great tidal waters such as the upper Choptank, lower Susquehanna River and Tuckahoe Creek on Marylands Eastern Shore. Toss in Deep Creek Lake, Piney Run and Pa's Lake Marburg and a serious perch jerker would have a hard time NOT CATCHING several 14 inch to 15 inch fish a year. I saw 16 inchers through the ice at Marburg this ice season...simply huge fish!
In all cases over the years, it has been my experience that these fish make spawning movements up into major tributary arms in reservoirs and up into small tidal creeks when water temps get to the low to mid 40's. Some fish, especially in the tidal gigs, are in and out in a hurry, spawning mostly at night, with long, gelataneous strands of eggs sticking to newly emerging weed growth or sticks and brush that is flooded by the tides or rising water levels from the ice melt/snow runoff. At that time, small jigs tipped with bait catch a lot of fish. The premier tidal tipping option is grass shrimp and small garden worms or nightcrawler pieces do well also. Some swear by small minnows, but that can lead to an expensive option. I've seen big fish in streams you could almost jump accross in Delmarva. Right now, they are banging big fish at many docking areas in the Susky and Northeast River systems in MD.
Fortunately, Maryland has imposed a 10 fish limit per man, per day, on all tidal systems in the state. The yellow perch numbers were in peril for the past dozen years and moratoreums and strict limits were imposed. Now you can keep ten fish, and every body seems happy.
Clearly, the yellow perch spawn is upon us. Let's use good judgement when fishing, and keeping, these delicious fish!
This is a lot of good info John and Jim. Thanks for your input. I had read that yellow perch will spawn early in the AM and at night. I'm going to be fishing Deer Creek Reservoir here in Utah. The Provo River feeds the north end of the reservoir and I believe there is another smaller feeder creek that also feeds Deer Creek.
Utah is very much a trout state and there was a time here when yellow perch were thought of as a "trash fish." I've been told that during the 70s and 80s you could see anglers out for trout catching large yellow perch and throwing them up on the bank in disgust. There are more and more transplants (like myself) from other states that continue to invade the valleys of Utah. Most of us transplants are warm water species fans. Must be why I rarely encounter anyone who targets yellow perch during their spawn.
I really appreciate all the info. I'll be sure to post any pics/reports if I do get into them this year. Thanks for the reminder about using good judgement Jim. I had to teach my boys about that last year during the bluegill spawn. We put back so many fat gills...especially the females. The good thing was, we had plenty of smaller "eater" gills and we helped protect our resource for future angling opportunities.
I should have said Prespawn Perch not Spawning Perch