Being that our freezers were void of perch fillets we planned a fishing trip to rectify the situation. We decided to hit Lake Washington and then focus on loading the cooler with perch. I have a general familiarity with Lake Washington fisheries but G-Man had shared a bit of his local knowledge so our learning curve was a short one. We metered around off Yarrow Point in 15’-30’ of water looking for schools of fish located on the edges of the numerous weed beds. On locating a likely area we would test fish it, drifting to determine size or if anybody was home. If all was good we would set the anchor and get down to business. As it turned out after a couple different test drifts we anchored over the perch mother load. Over the next couple of hours we caught hundreds of perch releasing all but the 8-12 inchers. We were fishing a butterfly rigged jig baited with a chunk of night crawler or perch meat. We started out fishing the jig with a drop shot hook about 12” above but went to just the butterfly rigged jig.
Although the big fish bite would come and go we had fish going from the moment we dropped anchor. We ended up keeping exactly 100 8” – 12” perch (98 + 2 for bait) releasing at least that many. Boat safely tucked away in the garage it was time to fillet. As it turned out it only took me 1 ½ hours to fillet our spoils. We had about a gallon of boneless fillets and a 5 gallon pail full of perch carcasses so now what?
We dip the perch carcass in milk and bread crumbs, not…, they went in the “Bait/Beer” fridge for crab bait. We bread the fillets, freeze them in dinner for 4 size portions and then vacuum bag them to be consumed later. Although there are many recipes for breading fish the one we use for perch is not really a recipe and pretty simple. The method follows; but first in my mind the key to a successful fish fry is the oil temperature. Maintain the oil temperature at 350-360 degrees. To keep the oil at the right temperature use a large cast iron fry pan or fryer, monitor the temperature and fry in batches.