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.
I got out of work early yesterday due to a bomb threat so I called some buddies and we went to check out a crappie bite that had been hot recently. The weather was bad, hit or miss thundershowers all day. I looked at the radar and the closest storm was over the great lakes so I thought we had some time to get a few hours in. I picked up my buddy and his boat and headed to the lake.
We got to the lake at 1 pm and noticed some blackness overhead so we waited 15 minutes for a storm to blow over and we hit the water. I was very familiar with the bay that we were on. I had spent many hours ice fishing this bay on my own and also during the VT Sportsman tournament series. The bay is notorious for holding large numbers of gills, seeds and crappies during the winter but it’s usually only a staging area for them. The fish were there now and we had to find them. The bay is nothing more than a larger 6-8′ flat with pockets of weeds. Once you found the weeds you found fish. A good graph would be key or in our case the Navionics app on my phone pointed us in the right direction.
It was not a good day to be bobber fshing. The wind was blowing about 15mph from the south and boat positioning was an issue. The wind also created some decent sized waves with white caps that I think was spooking the crappies away from our baits. We managed to find a school of fish and I caught two decent crappies right off, but the anchor didn’t grab and we lost them.
Why were these fish here? Well this is my theory. We have had a really dry spring here in Vermont. These fish usually head for one of two near by creeks to spawn. I don’t think they ever made it due to the lake level being so low. I think these fish decided that it would be better to save their energy and spawn in the shallow weed beds and stick marsh of the bay. Hopefully they make this decision for years to come!
Back to the fishing. The three of us tried lots of different baits to try and get the crappies to bite. The two most successful baits were the Berkley Gulp Minnow , and the Bobby Garland Baby Shad rigged under a bobber on a 1/16oz jig. The bite slowed but I had another theory that payed off. We were catching white perch one after another and they were feeding aggressively. We see this a lot in the winter with the gills and seeds in which their feeding activity actually causes the crappies to bite less or the fact that they are lazy and the seeds and gills beat them to the bait. Another factor working against the crappie on this day was the weather. The waves were big, and the lake was churned up and the crappies were laying in the weeds on the bottom. I took my bobber off and decided to slow role my jig tipped with the Gulp minnow. First cast I pulled a nice 12″ crappie. I would cast out, count to 7 figuring a 1′ drop per second, and then slowly swim the jig through the weeds. This got the bait below the white perch and into the crappie laying in the weeds on the bottom.
We ended the day boating some nice fish and running away from another big thunderstorm. I kept a few for dinner and that’s that.
After 3 failed attempts to connect on a spring walleye on Lake Champlain I finally got a hook in one.
I got on the water first thing in the morning with my guide for the day Scott Blair from VTSportsman. The reports had been decent from the days before so hopes were high. We unloaded the boat and headed out of the marina, the first spot was not far at all, just around the corner. We had decided to use the same technique that I had discussed before, 3/8oz jig tipped with a minnow. We also were prepared to drag crawlers if needed but “only if we had to”. I rigged up two rods, one with a jig and one ready to drag a crawler. It didn’t take too long to get a hit once I got them both in the water. The first rod to fire was the rod set up with a crawler. I had high hopes from the type of bite that were had landed right on a school of nice walleye but up came a decent 12″ white perch. Back in the water with him and back to jigging for me. Shortly after that Scott hooked up with a healthy walleye, just under the 18″ length requirement of Lake Champlain. This was a good sign as walleye are schooling fish and where there is one there should be more! The bad sign was, it was a small male, close to the mouth. For the time of the year and the water temp this means that the spawn is just about over and the fish are on their way out of the river, we better hurry and get these fish before they leave the river for good. Another half hour of jigging with nothing to show for lead us to a new spot, well we thought we’d fish it but when we came around the corner there were about 15 boats drifting and dragging crawlers through the section of river that we wanted to jig. Most boats had stringers out so we knew that there were some fish close by. We kept right on going up river to another spot away from the crowd that has produced fish in the past. It didn’t take long upon arrival for me to hook into my first walleye of the season. I could tell by the bend in my rod that it was a decent fish. I find the fight of a walleye to be an interesting fight. First of all you only about 6 feet of line out when jigging so the hook set is quick and the fish is right there! Keeping your drag set light is key, if you horse these bigger fish often times you’ll pull the jig right out of their mouth. I let the fish take some line and eventually Scott was able to get the fish into the net. It was a respectable 26″ inch fish.
The next hour or so brought Scott three more short fish but none that were keepers. We left the water at 11am with only one keeper in the boat but that was ok since I was finally able to get a hook in one. Walleye fishing is just about over for me for the summer, time to start chasing the crappies on structure. Stay tuned for more posts and some great tips on catching Vermont’s crappie in the summer off structure!