The cool weather has already got me thinking about ice fishing. I primarily target Yellow Perch thru the ice and enjoy fishing for them. This got me thinking, why not fish for them now? Last week after fishing for trout on a nearby lake I stopped by Wapato Lake for some bass fishing. The bass fishing wasn't so good but I saw very large schools of Yellow Perch in the crystal clear water as well as some exceptional sized perch in the 13" range.
The wind made fishing challenging this weekend but a morning and afternoon spent fishing produced a 100+ Yellow Perch with at least two fish pushing 13". The end result was a couple fun days on the water and 4 quart sized Ziplocs stuffed with delicious perch meat. Yellow Perch are a highly under-utilized fishery. They have amazing reproductive potential and risk of over harvest is very limited. For example egg masses in 8" fish were just about the same size as those in 12" fish. I encourage anglers to harvest as many as they would as there are no minimum size or limits. Aggressive harvest can actually drive up average size of these fish.
The lake also supports healthy populations of very large Bluegill and there were plenty of aggressive Rainbow Trout from this past spring still cruising the lake.
For details on how to enjoy this fishery check out the video below.