As a baby, I used to be consumed by fishing and absorbed all the things I may from any fishing journal I may get my palms on.

My grandpa had a pleasant collection of Eighties and 90s magazines that I learn many occasions. Once I was eight, 9, and 10, I even used to go knocking on doorways in our neighbourhood asking for fishing magazines. I’m positive many individuals thought I used to be bizarre, however I grew my assortment.

Studying them, I discovered it odd to see perch-fishing tales. Rising up round Lake of the Woods — which I nonetheless name residence — I noticed many perch sacrificed to the fox that hung across the ice fishing spot or the eagle sitting within the white pine close to dad’s favorite walleye gap. You wouldn’t be caught lifeless with a perch in your bucket or in your stringer. It was walleye nation, in order that’s what of us ate.

The notion was that perch have been wormy, mushy fleshed, and easily no good to eat. So, once I noticed folks writing about perch fishing and holding up stringers stuffed with them, I believed perhaps they only didn’t have a great place to fish different species.

As I grew older and began working as a fishing information at resorts throughout northwest Ontario, I observed that the skilled guides I emulated have been bringing perch in to shore for lunch, to eat with walleye. As I watched carefully, these guides have been saving the perch fillets to cook dinner final, so they might eat them. That’s what first bought me pondering these fish deserved a greater popularity.

Perch fishing in northwest Ontario

My long-time fishing buddy Dave Bennett additionally grew up on the shores of Lake of the Woods and was in all probability the primary of my associates I noticed holding perch whereas walleye fishing. At first, I can bear in mind giving him a chirp or two about holding “the wormy perch” nevertheless it didn’t take me lengthy to lose that perspective for good. A few Friday evening fish fries confirmed me that skinny perch fillets cooked quick and the marginally firmer flesh was very good. They have been certainly good to eat.

Bennett is a full-time information on Lake of the Woods ( and whereas most of his efforts concentrate on muskie and walleye, he is aware of the place to search out perch year-round.

“Lake of the Woods is clearly a giant physique of water, however all through the completely different sections of the lake that I fish the one factor that is still in step with discovering perch is that they like to highschool over mud or sand backside areas,” he stated. “We catch them on prime of construction like humps and factors as nicely once we’re walleye fishing, however the large teams might be over the mud.”

The identical areas are sometimes good all through the summer time, fall, and winter, he defined.

“I feel that perch wish to be close to conventional walleye construction, however they’ll grasp simply off of those locations over the softer backside. I feel they discover extra of the invertebrates and bugs that they wish to eat in these areas and perhaps the larger predator fish push them off the construction.”

Getting larger

Rising up, most of my perch catches have been incidental whereas walleye fishing, however previously decade, perch in my residence water have develop into larger and extra considerable. Higher electronics are most definitely serving to us discover extra teams of perch that have been missed previously. I’m consistently watching side-imaging and down-imaging on the sonar models on the console on my boat. Once I see a faculty of perch, I’ll usually drop a waypoint. Fish aren’t glued to a chunk of construction, so they’ll transfer round from everyday. When you discover a good flat they like, nonetheless, it’s usually good on return visits. Generally you simply must spend a couple of minutes idling round whenever you pull as much as a brand new spot to search out the place the group is situated earlier than you begin really fishing.

One measurement doesn’t match all in relation to one of the best depths to search out perch. Electronics assist anglers discover faculties. I wish to focus my efforts between 15 and 25 toes in open water, whereas sliding barely deeper within the fall and winter, all the best way to 35 toes. These guidelines might be utilized to most waters throughout northwestern Ontario with sturdy perch populations.

Baits that ship

On most days, perch are aggressive. The most important ones will usually chunk first whenever you drop your bait into a faculty. I like to make use of baits that may get their consideration and choose for larger fish. That may imply utilizing a barely bigger swimbait, within the 2.5-inch vary, to solid at teams of fish you discover on flats or it may imply utilizing a 1⁄4 oz spoon on the ice, a bait measurement widespread amongst walleye anglers.

My expertise is that whenever you get round a faculty of perch, an even bigger bait will catch larger fish. That’s to not say there isn’t a time and place for finesse baits, for those who’re confronted with heavy fishing stress or inconsistent climate, at all times let the fish let you know what they need. Mild line goes to permit your baits to get all the way down to the fish faster and offers your baits a extra pure presentation. I take advantage of a braided primary line on all my spinning reels, then connect an roughly eight-foot fluorocarbon chief in 4 or six-pound take a look at. This offers me an invisible hyperlink to the bait, however the braid permits me to really feel precisely what’s going on with my bait always and never miss any delicate bites.

Southern Ontario

OOD contributor Tim Allard is a multi-species professional who spends lots of time on the water chasing all species, together with perch. Rising up, he says he by no means thought-about perch a trash fish.

“I didn’t goal them too severely as a teen as a result of I used to be extra interested by pike, bass, and walleye,” he stated. “After a few journeys to Lake St. Clair with my uncle, I used to be launched to perch and proven the efficiency of the perch rig. After these journeys I had extra appreciation for catching large perch.”

Allard instructed me that one in all his favorite actions every spring is spending a day fishing from shore for perch. “Discover a protected, heat water bay with some brush or weeds and solid a small jig tipped with plastic or a hair jig. If there’s a tributary or culvert bringing in heat water, that’s even higher.” One factor about perch is that if they’re round they’ll normally present themselves fairly shortly.

We did agree on fishing mushy backside flats for perch all through the summer time, fall, and winter — throughout the province. Allard has had some nice days in September, fishing close to construction on flats, just like our findings within the north. He appears to be like for faculties of fish on his electronics then drops small bladebaits, spoons or a swimming jig. He says that backside transitions round structural components like factors and humps are sizzling spots to gather perch. 

Easing walleye stress

One of many constructive elements of extra anglers focusing on perch is that it takes some stress off walleye on waters the place their inhabitants is perhaps careworn from fishing stress. This can be a related challenge on Lake of the Woods and different waterbodies throughout the province the place walleye are the extra standard species.

Many anglers in Ontario who, like me, are spoiled to dwell in walleye nation in all probability want the identical perspective adjustment that I wanted about perch. They’re plentiful and supply an important possibility for harvest, particularly the place walleye are careworn from fishing stress. They’re additionally a species that we are able to chase year-round all through the province, so they’re an possibility any day of the 12 months.

Prime perch waters

  • Lake Simcoe
  • Lake St. Clair
  • Lake Nipissing
  • Lac des Mille Lacs
  • Lake of the Woods
  • Wabigoon Lake

Initially revealed within the Nov.-Dec. 2022 challenge of Ontario OUT of DOORS

Click on right here for extra open air information



No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *