PERCH NOW, Northern Wisconsin Style
Ok, this is the time to work the Perch and there is no special, long time ago story, to guide you, I am going to tell you just the facts. My guests enjoy our routine for consistent productivity, this includes, Crappie minnows and a small jig. If you have read any of my reports, as I post on Lake Link on a daily basis, on the Vilas county section of Northern Wisconsin, you will see the Big Perch we catch and NO, they are not Lake Michigan Perch, but very, very good Perch, from 9 to 13 inches. For now, let’s forget about all the different rigs you have read about over the last several years, although they do work. Those rigs do and will continue to work and produce Perch. Absolutely yes, but I am going to tell you how to do it with minimal effort.
Now, let’s focus on weeds and sections of deep water next to the weeds that have been producing fish over the last several years in the water environment that you have been fishing. This is where we work for Perch, a small 1/16 oz. jig and small minnow will do the job. Will you catch them in other areas other than I am describing, of course you will, probably off your dock and even off the public boat landing, or close to it.
We cast, or drift jig our offering to the perch in there feeding area, now, when you hook your small minnow, I put the hook in the mouth and then out the back of the head, yes, this does kill the small minnow, although, if you are, “on the fish”, you will catch many, many more fish, than hooking the minnow thru the lips.
Perch will locate , as any fish, close to the food, on a seasonal basis, that’s right, a seasonal basis, as the water warms , these fish will feed in certain temporal locations during the course of the year. Early on, in the post spawn period, they are feeding on larva, from the bottom, then as the larva moves up into the warmer water, towards the surface, then they feed on the actual insect that emerges from the larval stage off the surface of the water. Also, the young of the year Crayfish, that has hatched before most larva, closer to the bottom of the lake, this is also a large food source of the Perch.
As the water warms, the young of the year hatches of several fish species, (fry), become the target of the Perch, as the Perch rise from lower levels of the water Column, to meet and feed on the young of the year fry that relate to the surface of the lake, for the warmer water, especially on calm days. At this time, you will see the small pods of fry making small ripples in a circle fashion ,on the surface of the lake and then you will see an occasional small splash, as Crappie and Perch feed off the fry from their own spawn. Fry, from their own spawn is an actual food source for the Perch. This is and is, working now, enjoy the bounty.
“a slow approach is the key, no quick movements, only subtle motions is the answer to success…”
Simply follow these guide lines and you to, will enjoy the results. So, do you have to cast the surface of the lake to catch these fish, NO, of course not, you will see the occasional fish rise and splash at the surface but the bounty of the school is around 5 to 15 ft. below the surface. So, either cast to, or drift over the area that you see the activity on the surface, now remember, this is only one method, we still catch them at the other areas of the lake we have mentioned, such as, previous locations we have caught them in the past, like a location of your past, in catching Perch.
You will see good catches of Perch from areas off of points and a flat bottom area of the lake connected to the point that the perch have been caught in previous years, or right after spewing from that area.
Color of your jig head does matter, this will be due to the color of the water you are fishing, for example, if you are fishing a dark colored water, like coffee, then I would use a glow in the dark jig head, a tea colored water, I would use the same or a blue jig head, a foggy clear water, I would use a green or chartreuse jig head and clear water I would use a dark navy blue or plain “dark” lead colored jig head.
So, in recap, a small Crappie minnow worked slowly, with a small jig head over the weeds or next to the weeded drop off and or closer to the bottom on the flat connected to the weed drop off, is the ticket to success. A fast up and down motion is not good, a slow approach is the key, no quick movements, only subtle motions is the answer to success, the critical concept is , easy, smooth, genteel, slow lifts and drops nothing fast, moderate to slow retrieve, this will provoke the slight tap or strike and then set the hook.
Stay positive, think clearly, do not listen to negative talk and do not listen to negative people.
- 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.