Perch Now

By John Andrew - May 1, 2012
The Big Perch are biting now and with early ice out across most of the mid western states this year, spawning has taken place ahead of schedule for several different fish species. It's not just the Walleye we should focus on this opening season, the Perch are also on the bite now and they are feeding very aggressively, just like the middle of June.

Fishing the drop offs, including slow moving current areas and the new weed growth that is close to their spawning area, is very productive for us.

Using small Crappie minnows in conjunction with a 1/16 oz. jig, casting out, allowing the jig to sink a few feet and then starting a slow retrieve is a good method for boating several of these tasty fish.

A slip bobber with a 1/8th oz. split shot weight and a #6 Aberdeen Mustad short shank wide gap hook, with a Crappie minnow, is my second go to method.

I would like to explain the details of these 2 very effective methods, these details are called the critical concepts and I will be getting into these deeper details on all articles and postings from now on.

We use all super line on all rods and reels, Berkley Fire Line in the smoke color is my personal favorite, no, not because they give me line or other free products but because of the pure quality, sensitivity, cast ability and lack of memory.

Casting a small jig and minnow combo nation with 4 lb. Berkley Fire Line and a 6 ft. long ultra light rod and reel is very easy and very effective for this technique. When you have your Perch located, cast a long distance and engage your real quickly, pick up any slack the wind may have created, then count your bait down between 5 and 15 seconds, depending how deep you want to present your bait. Then when retrieving your bait, real slowly, put just enough pressure on the line and lure so you can feel the slightest tap or increased pressure on your line. As you retrieve back to the boat you must reel slowly. When the tap or increased pressure develops on your sense of feel and touch, set the hook, never wait for a second or third tap, also ,don't wait until your rod starts bouncing around with the fish hooking itself. When you feel the subtle difference or see the slightest movement at your rod tip, set the hook, this will help you understand when the very initial bite takes place, you will catch more fish and not hook them deeply.

Color of our jig does at times make the difference of catching a few fish to sometimes catching a lot of fish. Color is important, make no mistakes about it, ask any Bass Pro and he or she will sit you down for an hour just talking about color on Plastic Baits or Crank Baits. Each lake is different in water color and some are very different, this makes a big difference in color preference. You will need to experiment and find out which color works best for you.

Try these favorites, Chartreuse, Orange, Blue, dark Green, dark Plain Lead, Pink and Glow in the Dark.

Slip Bobbers come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, we use the 3 in. size. No need for bigger versions, the smaller ones are less wind resistant and cast just fine. Also, detecting the strike can be easier. Drifting with these bobbers out in place on the water is a good method, although, the wind needs to be gentle. Anchoring can be the best method to work the bobbers. Take note, be very gentle when lowering your anchor not to spook the fish. Once you have located the fish, they can become very aggressive after you have been there for 20 minutes or longer why? Perch are aggressive by nature, similar to a Bluegill, they are very competitive, that's why there are times you will see several Perch chasing your bait back to the boat. The Perch will bite closer and closer to the boat, providing you are fishing for them with several bobbers out on the water. There will be times when the fish will bite directly under the boat, this is when your day will be very exciting.

Fishing the deep weeds really can be a great pattern for several days in a row and even for several weeks in a row. You may have to go to different locations on the same lake with similar depth and similar weeds, but they will be there day after day.

Ok, so you found them, surprisingly you will need to take very good shore line markings or better yet, use your G.P.S. because at times, these fish are very tightly bunched together and to get back to the action the next day or the next weekend you will need to be precise on your location.

Remember, with the slip bobber, set all your slip not's to the depth most productive and hold on because most of the fish will be together. This technique can work better than the jig, as the jig will snag the weeds after each cast and retrieve, eventually spooking the school of Perch causing you to have to re lift your anchor, which brings up a lot of mud, decaying weeds, silt, debris and other aquatic food the Perch will feed on instead of your bait.

Author John Andrew
John Andrew
Captain John Andrew is the owner and operator of The Angler's Choice Guide Service. John began fishing on Wisconsin's Big St. Germain Lake in 1964 at this grandfather's lakefront cabin. As John's passion for fishing grew he apprenticed under legendary Wisconsin Northwoods guide Jules Novak before he began his own guiding career. John holds two World Records in the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall Of Fame as well as two Outstanding Angling Achievement awards. Click here for more information on John Andrew and The Angler's Choice Guide Service.