Game Fishing > Bottom Freshwater Fish types > Pike Perch fishing

Pike Perch fishing

Pike Perch fishingThe wall-eye pike, as,an angler's trophy, may be placed between the perch and the pickerel; for all-round fishing it hardly reaches the pickerel in gameness, though to some anglers it is superior. Personally, I would rather play a perch of similar size, than the wall-eye. It is essentially a bottom fish, and the bait it goes for best is minnows and lob worms, and occasionally it rises to a fly.

Owing to its nocturnal habits, the best time to angle for it is from sunset to dark; in fact, it is fished for after dark by many people on moonlight nights, or by the aid of a bright lantern.

The wall-eye is known by many names, for it is abundant all over the Continent, and is still being regularly distributed as a desirable fish, both for its game and eatable qualities. In various localities it is known as the glass-eye pike, blue pike, yellow pike, salmon, or jack salmon.

In Canada, where it grows to a weight of twelve pounds, it is called the dore. In shape and coloration it is similar to the perch, but has a larger mouth and very sharp teeth. Its eyes are also very large and glassy, being more prominent than most fish, well fitting it for seeking its prey by night. The wall-eye is found in all depths of water, but prefers to stay at the bottom, either of rock or of gravel, in clear as well as cold water.

It loves to lie in deep pools, at the foot of ripples, or where the current is strong and deep, near small dams and under sunken logs, or shelving rocks and banks. It will only enter shallow water in lakes and streams in search of food, or at spawning time. It feeds on every kind of small fish and does not spare its offspring. Insects, larvae, crawfish, and worms are devoured in great numbers, and even small frogs aad young snakes are preyed upon.

Its usual weight is from two to four pounds, but it grows to fifteen pounds under favorable conditions. Its flesh is highly prized as a food fish, being white, firm, and flaky; which makes it a commercial fish of much importance, especially on Lake Erie, whence it is shipped in large numbers.

There are three ways to fish for the wall-eye; on lakes it should be fished for in comparatively deep water, over pebbly bottoms, with a live minnow or crawfish, particularly minnows with silver sides, such as dace, roach or red fin; in rapid currents, pieces of fish with the skin, bright and silvery, trimmed in a shape so that it will spin nicely. I have caught them on a spinner with a bright-colored bass fly at the end. But, certainly, the best sport is with the fly at evening on running streams.

The most likely method is casting over deep and swift water at the foot of rapids, when there is a brisk wind blowing. In such places they congregate in search of minnows that are rendered helpless by the churning waters. For lake fishing, the rod should be stout, with a strong silk or Cuttyhunk line; the hook snelled with gimp or piano wire, because, like the pickerel, their sharp teeth easily cut through the stoutest gut. Drop down a sinker to find the proper depth to adjust the float three or four shot placed on the snell to keep the minnow down in deep water. More fish are caught on dull, cloudy, windy days and in the evenings.

When a wall-eye takes the bait, it swims leisurely away, sometimes taking the float along without going under the water; let it go some distance, then raise the tip of the rod quickly, and it will be hooked. If it does ston after moving a short distance, then strike good and hard; after being hooked it will tug violently and keep up the game till reeled in. It never runs, but simply pulls and tugs till landed.

The large, heavy fish often dive to the bottom after being reeled nearly in; there they stay, jiggering, and it requires careful work to move them. They will only rise to the fly at evening, and that not often, but much more readily in white, foaming water, below a dam or falls; though this fish is most uncertain to locate, being much given to roaming about in search of food.

In fishing rapids, let the fly wander at will, just as the current takes it; sometimes the fish darts for it at the surface, at other times when sunk three feet by the force of the water. One fly is sufficient at the end of a six-foot leader, similar to that used for bass; the fly being about the size of a small bass, or large trout fly. In color use dark flies for mornings, dark gray hackle, Fishing black hackle, gray drake. For evening, use a white miller, silver doctor, or coachman. As soon as the fly is taken, keep a firm hold on the rod. The wall-eye is every bit as strong as the bass, and while it lasts, in swift water, a ten-pound fish is no mean work for a tyro to tackle.

Dr. Brown Goode states, "There is no better pike-perch fishing in the world than that which may be had in the vicinity of Lake City, Minnesota, in Lake Pepin, and the adjacent waters." The wall-eye is quite common in most of the rivers and lakes of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and it seems to thrive well wherever it is placed.