Haven’t blogged since last year. have only been fishing 5 days this year. Won’t get out again until this afternoon. It’s a real long walk to where I’m fishing. Yesterday I saw 2 sets of fresh tracks out to within a couple hundred yards from where i’ve been catching perch, so its just a matter of time before the rest of the world shows up. ‘Nuf said about that!
What I WILL share is some winter River perch fishin’ philosophy. Maybe only worth what it costs you to follow this blog.
The most crucial thing is finding the perch. Once located they don’t move much–and if they do move, they’ll likely be back if you wait awhile. Hard mud bottom with remaining green weeds is a good place to start looking. Yesterday I found fish in 7.7 fow–NOT a few yards away in 6 or 9 fow. The bite was slow until 1:45 p.m. Caught a nice mess or decent fish until about 2:20, then it got slow again. Just 2 fish in the next hour so i went home.
I think once you find winter perch over an area of several acres and catch a couple there is little value in moving several hundred yards looking for ‘active’ fish. maybe you’ll catch a couple more 300 yds. away. Maybe because they just decided to bite again.
When perchin’ I take six rigged rods with baits i have confidence in. Sometimes I set a tip-down…usually after Feb. 12. More on that in a sec.
Baits are in both horizontal and vertical presentation. Vertical: L’il Cecil, Northland Buckshot Rattle Spoon, Custom Jigs & spins Candy Stripe jig. Horizontal: Northland Puppet Minnow, Mini Mert, Rat Finkee. Fish will pull the knot of the last two so the lure won’t fish horizontal. Got to check this orientation every time the lure goes down the hole.
Won’t go into colors, lure size and stuff like that–but know these factors can be very important!
Once perch are located I’ll start trying baits to see which ones they respond to the most, then tweak the presentation from there. Yesterday they wanted a certain color l’il Cecil and a certain configuration and color plastic on a certain color Mert in a ‘plop &hover’ presentation, hovering about 1′ off the bottom.
it took over 2 hrs. with just a half dozen fish on the ice before figuring things out, then maybe 1 perch every 15 minutes until they finally decided to eat.
This is the typical mid-January pattern on the River. The fishing diary I’ve kept since 1976 says the bite usually changes pretty close to Feb. 12 most years, remaining constant until ice-out.
I think a lot of this is due to a rising River cuz of snowmelt. More oxygen? More color in the water? yeah maybe. Don’t know. This is a good time to set 2 tip-downs and jig with a 3rd line (where legal)
This marvelous time is 4 wks. away. Probably won’t blog again ’til then. Maybe even longer than that. Likely too busy catching perch. I no longer guide ice fishing, cuz this mid-winter period can be slow. Finally got fed up with clueless folks mad at me cuz fish wouldn’t bite even though they could see ’em on the Vex. Can’t wrap their heads around the concept that fish get a vote too!
Lord willin’ I’ll start guiding again 3/15 and start blogging more at that time. meanwhile, If you want the GPS coordinates to the winter River Tiger concentration camp they can be yours for the same price as my 6 hour holiday weekend guide rate: $10,000. BUT unlike open water rate, you have to poke your own holes…and no cheese sandwich will be provided.