The number of times I’ve gone perch fishing I can count on both hands in the last 20 years! But this year is a different story as I’ve gone more times this year than the previous 20! Some of the lakes in Alberta have been fished out and others like so many have winter killed but the excitement of catching these tasty eating fish really gets me going.
I love to experiment with the bait that I’m going to use and what type of lure to go with that bait. Most people use maggots or meal worms or small minnows as their primary bait for perch and any little jig that will hold it. I on the other hand use small cooked shrimp that I pick up at Safeway, I also use chicken skin or the new one I was introduced to the other day, pork fat.
Perch really go for this type of bait as they seem to like the fat taste of these last two baits. A friend of mine asked if I had used raw shrimp and I said no but I’m willing to try anything, he said they love it as much as cooked. The reason I use cooked is that if the perch don’t eat it all I will.
With today’s advances of holographic fish lures one can use these little jigs that look so much like small perch or minnows, that the use of maggots or meal worms is not necessary. However this subject will be for another time.
This year it was great to get on the ice with little snow cover before Christmas. However, January was another story. With the additional snow fall driving on the lakes to catch perch and white fish became more difficult with the addition of flood water added to the mix. Fishing for perch was a little slower than usual in most lakes when guys went out, it seemed like there were only small perch to catch and the bigger ones were not to be seen. Moon phase most likely had something to do with it as well as the weather no doubt. Cross Lake Provincial Park was great the whole season from the reports I got, other lakes such as Long and Nakumun were slow into the New Year. Limits were easily caught at Cross but the fish were small and getting a limit of fifteen that were over 10 inches took most of the day.
If you can get some that are 12 inch you might be called the winner should you bet on the outcome of who catches the biggest one. We caught over 80 perch in Cross Lake this past weekend in 8 hours between both days and our biggest one went to 12 inches. The reason for this was that we fished in a little bay that no one seems to fish. The water depth was 6 feet under the ice and we were near a hump where it seemed the big ones were feeding. I’m looking forward to the month of March fishing for perch, the big ones will be feeding big time before the ice goes out and spawning begins.
Last Thursday I went to Snipe Lake for perch; a lake I’ve never been to. I punched about 12 holes near where I thought I’d pick up some decent perch. After fishing for four minutes I started to get a few hits and wham up comes a 12 plus perch and I was ecstatic since it was about 9:30 am and I’ve got all day. After getting about 10 perch I was selecting the biggest and the smallest ones under 10 inch were going back for retooling and bigger skin next year. Shortly after 11 am this fella comes over and asks me if he could drill close by I said absolutely and if he wished he could use the holes I’ve already drilled.
He said no its ok he’ll drill a few just past where I had punched mine and shortly thereafter he started to pull some smaller perch. By noon I suggested he start fishing in the holes I drilled. I also gave him two of my lures I was using and next thing we were both catching perch over 10 inches. The biggest being 13.5! He has never caught perch this big and was so overwhelmed with my generosity that he invited me to his winter home in Cabo San Lucas for a few weeks so we can do some fishing for Rooster fish, Dorado and Marlin. So I suggest we get together this summer and do some salmon fishing in Prince Rupert since I spend most of the summer there and he can bring a few of his other fishing friends to experience some of Rupert’s fishery.
It just goes to show you that people who ice fish have a tendency to make more friends than when fishing by boat. When was the last time you had a stranger park his boat five feet from yours and start fishing. It never happens but it does when ice fishing. The peace we experience from fishing brings out the best in us is my belief.
On Sunday I went fishing with another new buddy that currently flies the Hawk jet for the Canadian Forces in Cold Lake and is training to fly the F-18 this spring. We never started perch fishing till 10:30 but the bite was steady and the fish were decent size with a 12 inch being the biggest. The best thing about fishing with Sean ” can’t give you his last name” is the flying stories he tells and the guys that graduated that were featured on the program “Jetstream” “check it out on youtube” filmed in Cold Lake are the guys he’s hanging out with and I get all the funny stuff these over achievers do. Having flown water bombers for 14 years I’m currently living the jet age vicariously through Sean and loving it, a friend I look forward to seeing every opportunity that presents itself.
Tight lines everyone!