Erie Perch, 08/27/17

28 08 2017

My original plan for last weekend was to take care of some chores and do a little fly fishing each morning.  That all changed early Saturday when I got a text from Steve Schoonover, owner of The Mad Viking Tackle Company.  Normally I don’t start perch fishing until the Fall when they make their way into the river.  Since they have been doing so well on Erie I jumped at the chance to get an early start on putting some in the freezer.  We made plans to meet at the Bolles Harbor Marina the next day around 10:00 am.  Fellow Handliner Dave and his son Braden were also along for the trip.  That meant we had the potential to go home with a 4 man limit of perch, 200 of them.  While that sounds both excessive and awesome the thought of cleaning that many really didn’t appeal to me.  I’d be happy with a couple of dozen each.  I give most of the yellow perch I catch to my Mom and she really can’t eat that many anyways.

Once we got the boat loaded up with our gear we made our way to the first stop near Stony Point.  There were some decent rollers so it made for a bumpy ride.  The Algal bloom wasn’t to bad in this area but looking out over the lake you could see where the surface would go from green to blue.  We started drifting perch rigs (supplied by Steve) at first to find some active fish.  Once we did we dropped anchor.  The first stop yielded about 2 dozen perch in the 9 to 11 inch range.  Not a bad start but after an hour we moved on towards the Raisin River bouys.  There were a lot more boats in this area so we picked a spot just outside of the pack.  The bloom was a little thicker here but nothing like the pea soup it had been like a week ago.  We picked up about another dozen during the next hour.  Around 1 Steve had us pull lines and we moved deeper into the center of the pack.  Once we dropped lines it was game on.  For the next couple of hours the 4 of us steadily filled the live well.  We only got a handful of doubles but we weren’t complaining.  We were kept busy and there were very few lulls in the action.  If we didn’t get a bite after a minute or two we were pulling in to check for bait.  The minnows we had didn’t survive well and by now we were using dead ones.  The perch didn’t seem to mind but whenever we set the hook the minnows would come off all the hooks.  We were even doubling up on the minnows on each hook.  We pretty much had to, the emeralds we had were in two sizes, extra large and extra small.  The extra large ones were used first, after that it was the pinheads, two at a time.  Like I said though, it didn’t matter.  The perch were abundant and hungry.  Only problem was that being bounced around in the boat for the day was starting to take it’s toll.  We were already at 100 so Steve decided we should quit at 125.  Braden brought in #125 but since we still had lines out it was soon followed by numbers 126 and 127.  All that was left now was the trip back in and the cleaning.  With four people helping it only took about an hour, which isn’t to bad at all.

Father & Son

Captain Steve, The Original Mad Viking.

Doubling Up

 

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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.

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