The presence of one foreign fish species in British Columbia that has created some controversy in the angling community is the Yellow Perch. Yellow Perch have been mostly illegally introduced by anglers or groups of anglers referred to as “The Bucket Brigade”. Perch have a high reproductive rate. They are directly in competition with other game fish such as trout for food and they tend to take over the ecosystem. Perch will also feed on salmonid fry which is not ideal for trout or salmon waters. There are times that fisheries department will legally introduce Perch into waters for the objective to improve recreational fishing or to provide forage for existing fisheries.
The Yellow Perch offers great fishing for all level of Anglers, especially for family fishing outings. Perch are an easy fish to catch and can be fished for in all seasons, including under ice. In addition to these fish being easy to catch, they are also very delicious. Always check the BC Fishing Regulations for quotas and closures before heading out.
One of the best times to fish for perch is during ice fishing season. Ice fishing for perch provides a lot of action which is great when introducing ice fishing to a fellow angler and childeren. Since Perch are schooling fish when you find one you’ll find many!
The Okanagan is home to a few good perch fishing lakes, but the one that tends to produce a lot of fish and has thick enough ice during the winter season is Bear Lake, (aka: Lambly Lake) near West Kelowna. Bear Lake is also stocked with Rainbow Trout and offers good fishing for smaller Rainbows along with Perch. The lake is 74 hectares with a max depth of 40 feet.
To find these fish target the shallow weedy shorelines in waters from 5 to 15 feet of water. The hotspot on the lake that the BCFishn.com team likes to hit is on the north side of the lake near the south end of the island.
Ice Fishing Techniques for Perch:
Yellow Perch are easy fish to catch once you locate them. Use ultra-light fishing gear as these fish are small and don’t require anything over sophisticated. The best baits are shrimp (pieces of cooked prawns work well), pink maggots & worms. Use #4 or #6 hook sizes so that the fish don’t take in the entire hook, this prevents deep hooking the fish. Small bright coloured jigs with a small split shot weight 10 inches up the line works well. Drop the jig & bait right to the bottom and then pull the hook only 2 to 6 inches off the bottom. If you are not getting any action try slapping the weight off the bottom to stir up some silt as this helps attract the fish. Once you start to feel the fish bite pull the line up about 12 inches before reeling to set the hook. If you fish for 15 minutes without any nibbles drill a new hole to try to locate the fish, you will know when you have found them! When taking Perch home for table fare keep fish of 8+ inches as they provide decent size of fillets. It usually takes about 5 to 6 fish per person for a decent meal.
From West Kelowna you take Westside Road out past Bear Creek Provincial Campground up to the Bear main forest service road, take a left and follow the road up to the entrance at the 24km mark. (In the winter season a 4×4 Vehicle is recommended due to snow depths)
Bear Lake can also be accessed by the Crystal Ski Resort road from Westbank, taking the Jackpine forest service road and following it up to the Bear main forest service road turning right following it down to the well-marked lake entrance. (This way is not recommended during winter due to roads not being plowed)
Ice fishing for Yellow Perch can be an excellent way to spend a day while out on the hard water! The action is fast, plentiful and fun! This is why Perch fishing is an excellent opportunity to take the kids out fishing; they will have the biggest smile on their faces as they pull out fish after fish! With all the fun action you may even feel like a kid yourself and that it what it is all about!
Tight Lines & Conserve our Waters!
For more information about Perch Fishing in BC please feel free to contact us! Don’t forget to share your photos on our BCFishn Facebook Page!