A couple declarations are in order. Bouncing waves, a warm summer day, and fast fishing action makes for a grade “A” Father’s Day activity. Conneaut, Ohio is without challenge, the absolute runaway capital of perch fishing. And anglers who cheer for the catch and release crowd are missing some of the finest eating anytime and anywhere. Let me explain.
My family graciously allowed me the pleasure of missing Father’s Day brunch at one of my daughter’s house to go fishing with friends. How unselfish is that? We drove to Conneaut to meet Bill Huber, a tireless perch fishing machine who operates a part time charter business there. Huber, like the rest of us, had Father’s Day grilling festivities scheduled for later in the day so not to interfere with fishing. A good plan for sure.
While Lake Erie’s yellow perch are popular targets for fishermen from Toledo to the Pennsylvania line, the size and the number of fish varies and the focus is always late summer, Conneaut perch are different. Conneaut perch bite from spring to freeze up, they are much larger than fish found anywhere else, and they seem to be much more numerous too. That puts Conneaut in a class of its own.
Now let’s talk about the catch and release fans. Yellow perch are there for the catching and keeping. Given that I have come up with a new fishing game. It’s called catch and fillet. Take that you purists with tweed hats, elbow patches, and barbless hooks and let this be a warning to all bluegills, perch, walleyes, and cats that come close to my boat; once aboard the Mickey Finn, there’s no going back.
Following a perfectly planned morning plan, we deferred cleaning duties to the sharp knives and experienced hands at Snug Harbor Bait Shop near the Conneaut docks where our fish were professionally filleted and bagged as requested.
The perch fillets, when sliced by the pros, are symmetrical and lacking of bones. Scaled with skin on, the fillets will be lightly breaded and pan fried. You just can’t beat it. Caption: