After yesterday, we weren’t sure what the bite would be like if the white perch were still in the area. We got on the ice early finding that the water had come up a bit since the day before. We started the day off in the dark by setting up the hydro glow in the area that the crappie were yesterday.
The bite was very slow until just before sunrise. We decided to break from the light and try to locate the feeding crappie as the sun broke. It took about 10 minutes to realize that we weren’t set up on the right spot but it all worked out fine by the end of our day.
For the next 6 hours, we worked through three different but close weed patches over and over. Within each, we identified a hole or two that always provided a crappie first drop. Letting them rest after briefly fishing was key to consistency. At 1 pm, it was time to pack it in for the day with limits of crappie and some nice pumpkinseed on the side. While the fishing was great, the highlight was not catching white perch!
The plan for the day was to locate some late ice panfish. We were on a bay that usually provides some great fishing but has been dead all winter. Getting on the water around sunrise was the plan as reports said the shores were not super solid.
We made it on the ice and started off with a plan of cutting shallow and working deep. While my buddy cut ahead, I followed using my underwater camera. Sure I was looking for fish, but weed composition was also being kept track of. With the number of bass and pike moving in for the spawn, dense weeds would be necessary for our target species.
It took a while to find some fish but for the rest of the day, the area that we fish was small. Even though the target for the day was crappie and pumpkinseed, white perch were the most common species. Big ones too!
Picking at the panfish between runs of perch was fun and they bit well until about 3. At that point, everything shut down. For about an hour, we walked in every direction trying to locate where they moved to. They were no where to be found so we decided to pack it up for the day and come back early in the morning for round two.
With a day like I had on Sunday, it was hard not coming back up the last two days to fish for the white perch! Although the bite was great, handling all the fish that I caught took a toll on my hands. They needed a bit of time to get nursed back to health.
Once again, I wasn’t on the water until about 9 am but it didn’t take long to get into the fish. Other than for about an hour in the morning I sat in one hole and pulled fish. The bite was just as good as Sunday but the I began fishing a different technique and found that I had better hook ups. The fish were stacked in 15 feet of water so I used my normal panfish approach of fishing top to bottom. I would start at the bottom of the ice and slow but steady drop. Any tick in the line was a bite and just about every bite resulted in a hook up.
The aggressiveness of these perch amazes me. With the high sun today, I was able to sit over the hole and look down to watch them bite. While I have never given them the credit they deserve, I will certainly be back for me!
Check out White Perch On Lake Champlain on our YouTube page for more action!
In general, white perch provide us with nothing but frustration. For this day, trying something new meant pounding on white perch for about half of our time on the water. They had been biting good all winter but with other bites and species occupying our time, getting after something different was appealing.
The weather was less than ideal. Throughout the day, we got plastered by rain, snow, and sleet. Wind too! The day was a rough one but in the end it paid off.
Getting on the water around 8:30, it took about 2 hours to consistently get on fish. After finding fish, the bite was good for close to an hour. Getting up and down quickly was very important to keeping the fish interested and not moving on. The main bait choices for the day were minnow tails and maggots. The maggots were about as nasty as could be without being hard but they worked. Also, we tried eyes, plastics, and small fillets of fish unsuccessfully.
After the first run of fish, they disappeared. Over the next hour we picked and poked at fish moving out towards deeper water. After a slow hour, we hit them again. For the remainder of the day, one hole provided action as quick as the jig could get back down. After two hours of steady catching, all minnows and usable maggots were gone so it was time to pack up and head home. Nothing wrong with running out of bait by 3!
The second day of filming didn’t go as well as the first. The target for this trip was white perch. While there were plenty of whites biting on southern Champlain, overnight rain and warm temperatures raised questions about water clarity and ice safety. We decided to head north and look for them there. We covered a ton of water and only found yellow perch. To top things off, we had heavy rain all day. After only a few hours, we called it a day. Not only were the fish not biting but the odds of keeping the camera dry enough not to wreck it were slim. Instead of fishing, we decided that a nice hot lunch sounded better!
To start off a several day fishing spree, I met up with a buddy and his wife to fish for some panfish on Lake Champlain. The main target for the day was to be white perch but in the same area would be yellow perch, pumpkinseed, bluegill, and most likely every other fish Lake Champlain has. The weather was suppose to finally cool down after a two week heat wave and I couldn’t be happier.
We were on the water shortly after 7 and it was starting off as a great day. There was a slight chop on the water and the fish bit right off. Before the anchor was even set we had some fish in the boat. We used the anchors long rope to change our fishing spot for as long as the fish bit. When the bite would slow we would flag out further until we got on them again. The majority of the day was vertical jigging with a 1/8 ounce jig on the bottom and a hook tied in line a foot or two above. As the sun rose higher in the sky, I used a drop shot rig to hold the bottom thinking that the fish would move down the water column to stay in the cooler water. Not to mention, as it got later, more boats came out and the water became rough making it tough to feel bites with little to no weight.
The fishing was either really good or really bad and it became apparent very quick when we needed to move. It seemed like throughout the day, the larger fish were holding tight to the deep side of a weed edge while the smaller ones were in the weeds. Using electronics was huge in order to locate the weeds when they weren’t visible. The majority of the day was spent in 11-16 feet of water. While most of the fish were holding close to the bottom, the white perch were anywhere from 7-9′ below the surface.
Mixed in with the panfish we were after were several nice bass, bullpout, and drum.
We weren’t rushing to get on the water today. The last few days had produced a better mid day bite than at first light and the weather was suppose to be fairly calm all day. We were launching the boat close to 7:15 and were dropping our first line shortly after. We putted through the shallow water watching the fish finder to see if we could find a pod of walleye.
We went a while before catching the first fish and as it turned out, a dinky white perch wasn’t all that exciting! We finished off our slow drift with no other excitement. We decided to move in the same direction as many of the other boats were going. We drove through the maze of other boats and from what we could tell, the fishing was slow.
We continued past every one else and up to a deeper hole with only two other boats. The first pass through took a few of our grabber rigs. Once we got a hang on bottom structure, a few fish started to come our way. We picked a few rockbass and smallmouth before hooking into the first walleye. It was a little over 19″ and right in a thick mix of woody debris on the bottom. A few more drifts through the same area produced no fish but we kept at it.
Drift by drift we found a section of bottom that wasn’t completely filled with snags and held some fish. The other boats in the stretch were onto the same spot and were picking fish at about the same rate that we were. We got to see a few walleye, a huge sheephead, and some nice smallmouth bass.
Overall the fishing was slow but we caught some nice fish. The wind picked up and ultimately made the call for us that it was time to go home. Our jigs could hardly touch bottom because we were moving so fast and when it died momentarily, the lines sunk and snagged up. We were on the road home shortly after lunch time.