With the current interest in Lake Erie yellow perch fishing it seems appropriate to seek answers to the most asked questions. Experienced perch jerker William Hookim will share his thoughts and guidance.
Q: When is the best time to go perch fishing on Lake Erie? Morning or evening, spring, summer or fall?
Hookim said, “I’ve fished for perch in every season and even through the ice during the peak of winter when the big lake actually freezes over, but without a doubt the best of the best is late summer and into the fall.
“Reports coming from the top perching spots right now are remarkable. Charter guide Bill Huber, who runs the 30-foot Miss Millie out of Conneaut, reports that during the past week his clients landed their limits of 30 fish per angler in record time, on some days in less than two hours of fishing, and in every case the fish were as large as he has ever seen.
“Huber said that some catches have averaged one half-pound per fish or more. That kind of catch adds up to a lot of perch fillets in anyone’s book.”
Huber fishes mornings but he said that the perch often bite off and on all day. Some guides book two trips per day with good results on both trips.
Perch fishing is excellent right now and getting even better at ports across the lakefront.
Newcomers with boats simply need to ask at a bait shop for directions to the good fishing and look for a pack of anchored boats.
Q: Do you have any advice about tackle?
Willie suggests that anglers pick a light spinning rod with good sensitivity because perch are light biters. Best bet is to use braided line with no stretch so the lightest bite can be felt. On the business end, you’ll want to use a spreader with two hooks or a vertical rig with either two or three hooks. Ohio allows up to three hooks on a line. Hook sizes from number four to number two should do it. And red-colored hooks attract perch better than plain hooks.
Q: I’ve heard the term “jumbo” perch? Is there such a thing?
According to Hookim, this is a great question because most people think of perch as a very small fish, a creature hardly worth spending time and money chasing. You’ve heard of huge shrimp haven’t you? Well while some perch are indeed small, others are not but they are all good. Perch over 12 inches are considered jumbos and they, when cleaned properly, provide a nice meal. Jumbos are always welcome during a day of perch fishing, adding a special prize to an enjoyable day.
Q: Speaking of cleaning perch what is the best way?
Willie responded by saying it would be hard to argue about the benefits of paying a professional cleaner to fillet the day’s catch. A pro removes the scales and fillets each fish with just a couple well practiced swipes of a sharp knife.A pro also leaves the two fillets attached to produce what is known as a butterfly fillet, an attractive and tasty piece of seafood. But it costs money. Prices range from $1 to $1.25 per live weight. Lots of perch fishermen clean their own catch, a chore that is as much social as labor intensive. One or two sets of hands scrape scales while another fillets the fish with an electric fish cleaning knife. When done, the fish are shared.