Van Etten Perch 7/27/13

29 07 2013

I spent this past weekend up at my parents place in Oscoda.  I used to go up there on a regular basis but 4.00 dollars a gallon for gas kept me at home more than I wanted.  My brother and his wife were also planning on coming up and they wanted to go fishing.  Not a problem, my Dad had wanted to go perch fishing on Van Etten Lake so this seemed like a good opportunity.

After a breakfast of homemade waffles Dad and I got the boat ready.  I don’t fish for panfish too much so I had to do some digging for the proper tackle.  #11 Rapala’s aren’t exactly the best thing for perch, though it would be interesting to see the perch that would grab one.  A few minutes later I had everything I needed and we were on our way.  A friend of my Dad’s had caught a bunch of big red ear sunfish earlier in the lake so we were off to try and find the same spot.  Of course we never found it.  We were slowly trolling around trying to find a drop off from 5 to 8 feet of water.  I had one rod rigged up with a sinker and baited hook and I was dropping it in until we found some fish.  I picked one perch and then another so we dropped anchor and got after them.  I was using my sister-in-laws rod so I handed that back to her and got my brother set up.  Soon everyone was catching fish but me.  I had yet to get my rod set up.  I was going to experiment.

I really hate using bait, especially worms like everyone else was using.  I had been following another blog (D & B Ice Adventures) about a guy who fishes for panfish in Vermont A LOT.  He and his fishing buddies use a lot of small artificial jigs so I was going to give it a shot.  I was hoping this would work because it would be a lot easier and cleaner.  It did.  I dropped down a small chartreuse jig with a white plastic body and a few seconds later I was bringing in my first perch.  This was great, the water was clear enough that I could see my white jig.  The second it disappeared, set the hook and bring in the fish.  This went on for about the next hour.  Eventually the bite started to slow down so we started to move around to find another active group.  We tried a few more spots but with no luck.  We had a fair amount of fish and it was past lunch so we headed in.  We had other things to do today and the skies were starting to look a little menacing.  50 perch and 1 big red ear sunfish was nothing to complain about.  All that was left now was to drop them off at Wellman’s for cleaning.  Which, by the way, they scaled and filleted for 10 dollars.  I will gladly pay that if I can keep from cleaning panfish.

Now for the vital stats.  Water was clear with about 5 feet of visibility.  We were fishing in 5 feet of water near a drop off to 8 feet.  Weeds were kind of sparse and a few bare patches here in there.  There was a light wind out of the SE and it was overcast.  Everyone else was using a #6 gold plated hook baited with a leaf worm tied above a bell sinker.  I was using a small chartreuse jig with a soft body bait (pictured below).  I would twitch it and bounce it around to keep the perch interested.  They would grab it as it was going up, down and even just sitting there.

All in all it wasn’t a bad way to spend a morning.

IMG_1405 IMG_1406 IMG_1409

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