Game Fishing > Bottom Freshwater Fish types > Perch fish

Perch fish

Perch fishYellow perch, also known as ring perch, striped perch, and raccoon perch, are among the most strikingly marked and best known fresh-water fishes. They are found from Nova Scotia to North Carolina in coastwise waters, and are very abundant in large ponds, lakes, and many of the streams.

They are ready biters, strong and voracious feeders, and can be caught on any bait: minnows, worms, crickets, grasshoppers, small frogs, craw­fish, and small spoons. They will rise to an artificial fly, and will ravenously take one of the brightly colored fins of their own species, if placed on a hook and skittered quickly over the surface. Perch frequent quiet waters of moderate depth, pools under hollow rocks, eddies and shady reaches in the meadow brooks, creeks, and canals, preferring the sides of the streams to the swift currents, and sandy and pebbly rather than muddy bottoms. In mill ponds they are likely to be found in deep waters just above the dam.

They sometimes descend into brackish water, where they become large and very firm-fleshed. In muddy pools they often assume a golden color, but are soft of flesh and not well flavored. They love to be among long weeds, grasses, and lily­pads in large lakes, and seem to thrive in neighborly friendship with the bass, pike, and pickerel. Their strong array of sharp spines probably protects them from those savage and predaceous fishes. They are gregarious, and always in schools, each school about a uniform size, whether large or small. When the young angler meets a school of large perch, he may capture every one if he be noiseless and wary.

The usual length of the yellow perch is less than ten inches, and its average weight less than a pound, though specimens have been caught up to four pounds. The simplest way to catch perch is with the boy's standard outfit: a pole, stout line, large float, and heavy sinker, with a worm or minnow for bait. This, however, is only effective when the water is muddy and the perch numerous and hungry. For wary, large fish, in clear water, more delicate tackle is necessary. The line should be fine, a fly rod of six ounces, a light click reel, and a small three-foot leader, with two flies on No. 7 hooks.

The yellow perch is just as good fishing as speckled trout, size for size, eager to rise, bold to a degree, and it fights to a finish. For worm or minnow fishing, the float should be small and well balanced, shot for sinkers, only heavy enough to keep the float steady. Suspend the bait a foot from the bottom, moving it up and down in a gentle manner. No. 5 or 6 hooks on snells, with a small swivel to connect the line, may be used. Always have live worms either placed to touch the bottom, or two feet from bottom in running water, so that they drift back and forth.

This method applies to grasshoppers and crickets, with No. 5 to No. 3 hooks. Grasshoppers should be hooked through the shoulders; both they and crickets will live for some time if hooked in that way. Hook small minnows through the lips, the point coming out on tip of nose. When the fish strikes, take plenty of time, so that it can gorge the bait; only strike after it has moved away. A perch makes two or three runs up to the surface and down; give it a chance, and let it play.

Trolling or casting with small single-hook spoon or live minnow without spoon, will invariably capture large perch in lakes and ponds. The boat should be rowed along the side of weed beds, exactly in the manner of fishing for pickerel. In fishing for perch the angler cannot be too careful unhooking these spike-armed heroes. In fly fishing for perch the best time is when the water is gently rippled, or from sundown to dark; and in casting, it is well to let the fly sink about a foot and jerk it sharply through the water. Any trout or bass fly tied on No. 5 to No. 3 hook is effective. I have caught perch on brown palmer, coachman, and silver doctor.

In the fall perch become more wary, especially the large ones. When perch are caught in stagnant pools and muddy lakes, before cooking them it is best to take the skin off; by so doing, the muddy taste is avoided. When caught in running water or cool spring-fed lakes, it is only necessary to take off the scales; for game or edible purposes, choose, when possible, a running stream to fish in.