Outside Chance: Cold water perch


by Jack Payne


This cold crazy spring has brought one good thing, perch fishing. Good angling has occurred on Muskegon Lake, White Lake, Fremont Lake, Gun Lake, and Crooked Lake and on Lake Michigan at Grand Haven.

Other smaller lakes will soon get into the action. Some of these smaller lakes do not need their names in print. Talk to fellow anglers or your local sport shops or go to the DNR website and search out the lakes in your county on their site for a few hidden gems.

On Lake Michigan a clay hump, a spot of gravel, something different on the bottom that attracts feeding perch. Your graph will become your best friend. Use the zoom mode or the bottom tracking function. Only the bottom 5 feet means anything to an astute perch angler. Once a spot is found, mark it with a GPS.

On Muskegon and White somedays you will be in 30 feet of water, other days deeper but never fail to check out the shallows. One day some friends found them in 10 feet of water, just inside the harbor on a sand bar.

Lakes like Fremont we search out weedy areas. Decayed weeds, new weed growth and inlets will draw early season perch. In these situations we use a slip float from Carlisle and a teardrop tipped with a wax worm or half a leaf worm.

Regardless of where they live. Second, perch eat. Locating the perch is half the battle if not three quarters of it. Because of their aggressive nature perch can be found with a search mission in mind. On the Great Lakes perch will favor a certain depth and with a wind change they are gone.

Fishing on the Great Lakes requires plenty of anchor rope. As a minimum you should expect two feet of rope for every foot of depth. A solid anchor with flutes that dig into the bottom is a must. Adding a piece of chain will help in getting the nose into the bottom. Many anglers now use their anchor lock mode on their trolling motor. I love this feature.

A thumper anchor is an anchor that is used off of the boat to keep the boat from swinging around. Set this rear anchor so that it lifts off of the bottom with the waves and drops back down. This creates a puff on the bottom and draws in the curios perch. On this anchor I tie on three orange flags. Perch love color and the flags keep their interest.

Tied to the anchor rope, just above the flags is an old nylon. We use the cheapest canned cat or dog food that we can find. With the movement of the boat small particles of the food gets released and keeps the perch in a feeding frenzy, or at least some of the time.

The better perch lures includes the K @ E Tackle Moon Glow tear drops and the perch flies from Stopper Lures. Tipping the lures with scent will increase your catch immensely. A spike works great and on any given day, colored spikes can really shine. Try using the Pure Cure fish scents, they work!

We also use the No Tangle Rigs or the Dressed Snells from Stopper lures. These rigs come pre-tied with two hooks. I often cut the hooks off and tie on the fly or the glow in the dark teardrop. A one ounce sinker works well under most conditions faced.

Set the hook when a perch hits and then hold the rod still for a minute. Often a second perch will hit when it sees the hooked perch moving around. A neat way to get a double!

Schools of perch will appear easily on the screen and after a few trips out you will have a half dozen honey holes. Stop in at Johnson Sporting Goods for your turkey and fishing equipment in Montague.