Water temperatures have warmed to 43.7 degrees. The bite is on for pre-spawn walleyes & perch! The only tough part is getting to places where fish are congregated.
No easy task with essentially every boat launch flooded and water spread across the flood plain from railroad track to railroad track.
Fish don’t want to fight the current, but use the current’s flavor to lead them to areas where they will spawn–walleyes in a few days and perch in a week or so.
Edges and barriers are key to fish location. hard shoreline along a highway or railroad track is a good illustration of this structure. Fish need to stay wet to swim. When they find a barrier, they stop and re-assess.
With river levels on the way down now, flood plain is draining. Water is a slave to gravity. Choke points like drain tubes and narrows near bridge pilings funnel the water, which is several degrees warmer cuz it has been simmering in the shallow, dark bottomed flats of the flood plain.
These conditions draw fish like gangbusters! The Admiral wants perch again for supper, so I snuck out to a spot which met these parameters that has been producing fish for over a week.
Fish are almost all males, which are now actively milting. You get just as much meat from a 10″ male as an egg-laden female. meat from males is firmer as we get closer to spawn. harvesting males has virtually no impact on the population. It sickens me that folks feel compelled to fill their livewells with bloated female perch–but I don’t make the rules.
10 nice male perch is enough to feed the Admiral & me supper, usually with just a couple fillets left over for breakfast. If you need more fish to feed the family, why not take the young ‘uns along to catch a few?
My pre-spawn perch rig is almost too simple: a 7′ St. Croix panfish rod and reel spooled with 4-6 lb. mono. At the business end there is a 1/16 oz egg sinker, a small barrel swivel, 12-18″ of leader and a red #6 long-shank hook.(sometimes adding an orange bead makes a difference).
For bait, a pinch of crawler will work. A couple red wigglers usually works better.
Just cast out, raise the rod to a 45 degree angle and slowly swim the bait in–with the accent on slowly. Perch can be finicky. The closer you can get to zero weight resistance, the better. No need to make a mile-long cast. The fish are headed for the rocks–which are pretty much right at your feet.
Got to clean some perch, then launch the Lund to look for some walleyes. Last time they were in about 12 fow, feeding on B-Fish-N tackle Pulse Rs in the new white glow pattern. Water clarity is looking better as River levels drop. Thinkin’ maybe cotton candy will be the ticket today.
Can’t catch any fish with your line out of the water, so adios for now!