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Team Otter

Knowing full well I would be spending the next two weeks away from home chasing perch, I penciled in some guiding and personal time this weekend for some of the same around home. Over the past few years, I have developed a lot of confidence in the perch bite this area has to offer but let me tell you, if you're not willing to search, investigate and observe, you will fall flat on your face this time of the year. Over the past 3 days, I have went through 3 full tanks of auger gas! Good thing an auger gets better mileage than my truck. ;\) Another thing to realize about our area perch bite is that if you're expecting to go out and consistently catch fish over 12", think again. Most of the fish I'm on are between 10 - 11", with some in that 9" range as well as some in that 12 - 13" range. However, what's nice is that when you get on a school in that 10 - 11" range, every single fish you catch is the same size and that, my friends, makes for a nice fish fry and the action is simply tough to beat. If you want a fish for the wall, look elsewhere. whistle.gif

My game plan going into Friday morning and through the weekend was to fish steep shoreline breaks, basin areas between main lake points and mid-lake structure and deep water transition areas. If the fish weren't going to be concentrated in any one of those three areas, I knew I would be in trouble because I'd run out of time looking anywhere else.

On Friday, I punched ~75 holes before even catching a fish. Talk about frustrating but I stayed with it and by day's end, I had found a real nice school of 10 - 12" perch in 32' of water in a basin area. What really had me stoked about this area is that the fish that were cooperating were suspended 4 - 12' off bottom and they were feeding. So, Saturday morning, right back to the same area, right? Well, not really. With the early morning cloud cover and no fishing pressure, I decided to look elsewhere only on a "gut feeling". Scary, huh? We focused mainly on deep transition areas in 23 - 27' of water and we're instantly on fish and that bite followed for the better part of an hour or so. Ever heard this before; "Never leave fish to find fish". Well, I did it. sick.gif Somehow, I convinced the group into moving only to find out that ~4 hours and 150 holes later we were right back in the same area where we had started. And within 30 minutes of our arrival; BINGO!

Recognize anyone?

eric2gl5.jpg

Another point to make about this particular area we ended up fishing pretty hard is that there was a mix of species hanging around. You knew the perch were coming through if someone yelled, "white bass" or "sheep head". And there was also some monster 'gills that showed their face from time to time.

Hub Cap 'Gill

eric1fd0.jpg

This morning was more of the same. I went right back to where we finished up yesterday afternoon and was there and fishing before sunrise. Guess what? Crappies everywhere! The largest fish was 10" but man were they fun to catch and release for ~30 minutes before the perch decided to quit hitting the Snooze button and start feeding.

10 - 11" Muddy Noses

march003yj5.jpg

Oh yeah, the feeding pattern, which ultimately ties in with the title of the report. This time of the year, if you catch a perch that either has a worn belly (i.e. almost bloody) or a muddy nose, you have found an area to concentrate in. The muddy nose signifies that those fish are diggin' in the mud for feed and want to eat. If you can get those fish to turn their heads and look up, hang on. You won't be able to "get ready" fast enough. They come chargin'! If you see a worn belly, this signifies they're carrying a lot of eggs and with that, a lot of energy is spent each day and so they need to eat!

It's only going to get better. Now, about the fish for the wall. Lake Gogebic, here I come!

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Bigeye30"

That is a great report, all the info a guy needs to start the search. Thanks Jamison

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Team Otter

No problem. Happy to help.

Someone needs to stay on them for the next 2 weeks for me being that I have trips elsewhere. I have guide trips scheduled for the week of Easter, so I need the favor returned. Thanks in advance. Ha!

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harvey lee

Thanks for the report and your right, the one who is willing to punch a 100 holes, should find some fish. The best fishing is yet to come.

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hawkeye43

I drilled 9 holes today, fished 7. 18 nice peach whistle.gif

I go away for a few days and the one person I wanted to fish with, finds his way so close to home. Man I going to tie a bell on him.

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Team Otter

Don't let him fool you Tom. He forgot to tell you he used some of the holes drilled from my weekend escapade.

Ken, remember, you've got quite a bit of windshield time with me in a few days. The trash talking has just begun.

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hawkeye43

What trash talk, all facts were stated as happen. It did take 2 1/2 hours to get them. One hole was open, no fish there I might add.

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sleepless dad

I want to say thanks for the great report. I've been trying to learn more about ice fishing and all of you have been providing a lot of good lessons. I can only get a couple of hours to fish and with a hand auger it's been pretty discouraging the past few weeks. I am planning on trying to fish for a few more weeks, but I'm concerned about ice conditions in March, is the fishing for panfish and perch still safe during March?

Tom

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BK19

we had a fun time saturday alot of work but really fun thanks jamison. Bill and Richard

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eyepatrol

It sure was nice to get back on the ice, do some fishin' and shoot the breeze with you again TO! Bill & Richard too...it was nice to meet the both of you and put faces to names. And abviously Richard now knows not to wear those Tony Stewart colors out on the lake....they just don't produce! \:D Amp or Dupont....that's the key! grin.gif

On to the fishing....

By the time I got there, the fish seemed to be almost 50/50 with some coming in on the bottom and some coming in suspended. Drilling a number of holes and hole-hopping was one of the keys to catching more fish. Once a few fish were found, we punched a number of holes surrounding the area to hone in on their location. We kept the holes fairly tight to each other too; maybe 5' - 7' between each hole. If someone was on a fish, others could move into the adjacent holes and often times find another fish or two.

One of the perch was really loaded with bloodworms which was interesting to see. Probably the first time I've ever seen it myself.

Black Fiskas and Marmooskas with a euro or waxie worked well. Some fish, especially the larger ones, were willing to chase while the smaller fish were much more finicky and preferred the jig held still. The perch were around until ~4:30pm, but after that the 'gills pretty well moved in.

Wish I could have made it out again today, but when I got home last night I was informed we were attending a last-minute family function at my folks' place today. I'll likely be out again next weekend and will try and stay on top of those fish while you're 'AWOL' TO. ;\) With the ice conditions we have and no real "threat" of warm weather in sight, this could very possibly last well into March!

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riverrat56

TO, after reading your report about a good perch bite I had to change my game plan of chasing crappies to chasing perch. Although I was about a 125 miles from your general area, the same general tactics held true.

I was fishing a lake that I had never perch fished in before, but had incidently caught a few during some great crappie bites and knew there was some nice fish around.

I headed to a fast tapering break and found a transition area from mud to sand/gravel, the bottom change was located in 18-19ft of water.

I started my search over the mud in 23' thinking that the perch may be feeding on the mud on larva or insects.....they weren't.

I was looking for a breakline to focus on but I noticed a bottom transition from soft to hard between 2 holes.

Stayed on the mud side with nothing, switched to the hard bottomed side and connected the first fish, a fat 9".

I pulled three more fish from that hole before moving to the next one. This hole was in 18ft of water and had lots of perch swimming beneath it, but they were smaller than the fish cruising right on the transition line.

A pattern developed of following the mud/sand line and picking off a few fish in each hole. Most were in the 9" range but I did pull out one at 11 3/4".

I used a 1-2 punch of starting every hole with a buckshot spoon and picking off active fish, switching to a marmooska jig when things got tough. Waxworms and minnow heads worked equally well.

Thanks for the inspiration TO.

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Team Otter

The weather forecast looks like it will cooperate for awhile yet. To give you an idea, we were on the ice until about March 20 last year and overall ice conditions were not as good as they are this year. On the flip side, the ice can go quickly in March. Keep an eye on here for local conditions.

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Team Otter

Bill and Richard, you're always welcome to come along as long as you wear blindfolds. Ha!

I think Jeff Gordon needs a new radiator.

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Team Otter

E-mail notifications will be fine. Ha!

Good fishing with you again Eric.

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Team Otter

Nice work Nick. Way to stay with it. Any time I can help, just let me know.

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1lkstage

Good job guys, Way to get after them. Nice seeing Basscaters mug again.

Lonnie

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eyepatrol

It certainly hasn't gotten any prettier! eek.gifwhistle.gifgrin.gif

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Team Otter

 Originally Posted By: 1lkstage
Good job guys, Way to get after them. Nice seeing Basscaters mug again.

Lonnie

The artist formerly known as "Basscatcher". It's "eyepatrol" now.

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1lkstage

My 1+1= didn't register, until I looked at the name with the avator.

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BK19

Eric it was nice meeting you also,richard said yeah it must be the orange colored suit :),TO i picked up some of those fiska's after work today thanks for the tip \:\) blindfolds ? i had them on the whole day \:\) although we may try for some perch on saturday! gordons transmission dissappeared also along with the radiator

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Team Otter

Welcome to the world of tungsten. You'll love 'em.

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muc33

Fiskas-They drop like a rock and get right to the fish! And it feels like you got hit by a rock when you loose one!!!! But you will love them!

If you loose a few due to your own error, you really learn how to set a drag properly and tie knots more patiently.

CCFC

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Team Otter

CCFC,

Nice to see you venture into the "other" Southern MN forum.

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guppie

After reading this thread it got my wheels turning and I decided to try for some perch today. I started in a spot that I had caught them before on a deep rock /mud transition, drilled a ton of holes and marked fish in just 1 hole. Turned out to be a school of crappies. After they left I kept drilling and searching to no avail. I did end up with a decent mess of crappies but so much for a different change of pace! oh well

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Team Otter

I'd stay away from the rock to mud transitions. Perch are setting themselves up for the spawn and this typically happens on sand or gravel. Focus on those areas that transition to mud and you'll see better results.

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