Author Topic: Where are they?  (Read 1083 times)

Offline Hunt n Fish

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Where are they?
« on: Jan 05, 2018, 12:44 PM »
I'm looking for some ideas on finding these tasty critters.  I've been ice fishing a particular reservoir for about 5 years now and have never been able to really get into them.  I've caught them up to 12" and 10"+ is pretty common but usually only a few in a day of searching.  Everything I read and hear is "perch school so once you find one you will likely get more".  I however have found this not to be the case.  On rare occasions I've gotten into schools of  really small ones (>7") but the bigger ones are always loners or a pair at most.  They really have no predators since trout are the only other fish and are pretty small in there.  There are also almost no baitfish and the only thing I've found in there bellies is an occasional crayfish.  I've fished almost everywhere from the few available flats to the breaks and main channel from 5'-40'.  I've caught them everywhere but never any numbers.  It's filled with clear cold water and is mainly a trout lake.  It's fairly small and has no contour maps available that I can find.  I also don't have a boat so bottom structure is just found by punching holes.  With that said it is a pretty structure less body of water.  Most of it slopes pretty quickly into the main channel and there are almost no weeds to speak of.  It maxes out at around 60'.  I'm starting to think that the numbers just aren't there and 5 keeper perch is going to be about as good as it gets in a day.  Any of you perch pros have any ideas?

Offline panfishman13

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Re: Where are they?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 07, 2018, 07:04 PM »
most of the time perch do school, but i've found that -as with your experience- double-digit perch often prefer to wander around in smaller "wolf packs" rather than the massive schools the species is known for.

this is purely a theory, but i think these fish are actually hunting smaller perch, minnows, and other large prey rather than seeking out the same food sources that small perch look for; bloodworms, shrimp, etc. in your case, it sounds like they're hunting crayfish, but i'll remind you that perch ARE a baitfish, and perch themselves tend to be heavily cannibalistic. you might try finding one of those schools of smaller fish, and working them with a larger jigging lure like a rapala slab rap or a salmo chubby darter. something in the 2 to 3 inch range. i've had some pretty good success doing that this year.

in my area depth maps aren't really a thing. a couple major lakes are mapped out, but that's it. so i use satellite photos to find interesting characteristics of a lake that i plan to fish.

all that said and done, most lakes just don't have a large population of large perch. you'll catch a hundred under ten inches, and a handful over ten. it takes a really special set of circumstances for a lake to grow a lots of trophy perch.

Offline appleye

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Re: Where are they?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 07, 2018, 11:30 PM »
Interesting topic. A couple years ago I had a conversation with an older gentleman who fished a Black Hills trout lake that has some large perch in it, Sheridan Lake. Several years in a row he won the annual ice derby fishing the deepest water in the lake 50-60' deep. The perch were 10' to 15' down. He believes the fish are eating zooplankton. He uses light line and maggots. Worth a try. 
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Offline Hunt n Fish

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Re: Where are they?
« Reply #3 on: Jan 09, 2018, 08:30 AM »
Thanks for the input guys. Perhaps Iíll have to try deeper.

Offline taxi1

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Re: Where are they?
« Reply #4 on: Jan 31, 2018, 10:55 AM »
Is it possible the perch are moving fast enough on you to make you think there are only a few in the school? If I find perch and they stop biting I drill holes to find them again. Rule number one with yellow perch with me is you can't go wrong staying close to the bottom. I've found that is where they are 99 percent of the time. Also I have better luck catching them on flats vs. drop offs. And soft bottoms seem to have the bloodworms they like to feed on (midge fly larvae).
I live in the midwest now but have fond memories of fishing in New England as a kid.

Offline Hunt n Fish

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Re: Where are they?
« Reply #5 on: Feb 02, 2018, 10:19 AM »
Is it possible the perch are moving fast enough on you to make you think there are only a few in the school? If I find perch and they stop biting I drill holes to find them again. Rule number one with yellow perch with me is you can't go wrong staying close to the bottom. I've found that is where they are 99 percent of the time. Also I have better luck catching them on flats vs. drop offs. And soft bottoms seem to have the bloodworms they like to feed on (midge fly larvae).
Thanks for the input.  The bigger ones at least are not schooled up.  I use sonar and never mark more than two (usually just a single) when they do come in.  I also borrowed a camera a couple times and have seen the same thing.  I do find they are almost always on the bottom.  Flats have been more productive than breaks but not by a lot.  I think there just aren't that many in there or they are out in the deeper water where I haven't spent much time. 

Online SHaRPS

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Re: Where are they?
« Reply #6 on: Feb 04, 2018, 07:14 AM »
In my freezer! jk, kinda.
Just add water.

Offline taxi1

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Re: Where are they?
« Reply #7 on: Feb 04, 2018, 08:31 AM »
Thanks for the input.  The bigger ones at least are not schooled up.  I use sonar and never mark more than two (usually just a single) when they do come in.  I also borrowed a camera a couple times and have seen the same thing.  I do find they are almost always on the bottom.  Flats have been more productive than breaks but not by a lot.  I think there just aren't that many in there or they are out in the deeper water where I haven't spent much time.

Makes sense. Some lakes just don't have the numbers. However they can make for some really big ones when you do catch them.
I live in the midwest now but have fond memories of fishing in New England as a kid.

Offline Hooked up

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Re: Where are they?
« Reply #8 on: Feb 06, 2018, 08:30 AM »
Sounds like the lake just does not have a lot of perch. Could be the trout are eating them before they have a chance to grow. If the lake has carb, carb will eat a lot of perch eggs. I would try the deeper water before you give up hope. When I am hunting for perch I will drill holes in 15 ft to 60 ft of water until I find them.

 



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