Dave Genz is one of the most accomplished ice
anglers in North America, if not the world. He fishes for a variety of species
of fish but his insight on catching jumbo perch is second to none. Matt Straw, a freelance writer, did an interview with Dave for the In
Fisherman 2013 Ice Fishing Guide that I purchased locally in November.
Matt wanted to get some insight from Dave on how to go about targeting and
catching perch larger than 12 inches.
Since that publication has come out I have reread
the story about a dozen times making notes that might apply to the lakes in
Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario.
friend Jim Price with a hawg
We have big perch in our waters but few anglers
really try and target those fourteen inch fish and beyond.
PERCH WATERS; For years East Angling Lake in the
Duck Mountains has been real good for perch in the trophy range. The largest
perch registered on the all time Master Angler list are listed at sixteen
inches, caught in the three different bodies of water, Lake of the Prairies,
Winnipeg River and two in Oak Lake. I have caught some nice perch while fishing
for walleye on Lake Winnipeg but few real large specimens. Lake of the Woods
also has some beautiful big perch in sections of the lake. Now the Shoal Lakes
in the Interlake have been added on the list of big perch destinations.
According to Genz, in some bodies of water, spoons
and minnow parts work best for perch and in other bodies of water, especially
prairie lakes, real small jigs tipped with bloodworms, maggots and shrimp work
best. He says that is just a forage preference with the perch on a minnow diet
on big water with our prairies lakes providing lots of scuds or freshwater
shrimp for the perch to fatten up.
On recent trips I have been targeting those fish
eating shrimp. Most have been in water less than nine feet so the use of my
small tungsten1/16 G-WHOPPER JIG from Bentley fishing has been a perfect fit.
It’s molded in the shape of an ice cube and has a “Swarvoski” crystal on the
top of its head. This crystal provides a unique flash as it drops weight
forward to the bottom. The square shape also allows the jig to rest on the
bottom with the hook up. Tipped with a small orange power maggot from Berkley
it proved to be deadly in getting big fish to bite.
That's why I am very excited about perch fishing!
Jumbo falls for Rattl'N Flyer
When fish are scattered as they tend to be at this
time of year, calling them in from a distance can be the key. In the article Genz
talks about a number of different presentations but his mention of the Lindy
Rattl’N Flyer jig had me intrigued. It has a sideways glide action and when
dropped will make small clouds of sediment on the bottom. This cloud will
attract perch who think other perch are feeding on the bottom. On the last trip
I would jig aggressively with five or six drops then hold the jig just off the
bottom about a foot. Once I marked a fish I would twitch the bait and lift it
to see the reaction of the fish on the Humminbird Ice 55 Flasher. On this day
there was no hesitation, that jumbo perch would come up and inhale the bait.
These small jigs have been fished on a long sensitive custom made ice rod from
Walleye World Custom rods, matched with a single action fly fishing reel
spooled with two pound ice line. This has been a real great addition to my arsenal
and I highly recommend for pan fish to go this way.
As mentioned in a previous article there are a
number of new models on the market that will cover all species of fish but the Ice
Spooler designed by Genz has a
longer handle and larger base than traditional fly reels. This allows anglers,
when fishing in cold weather, better options to grip the handle. The real
reason that these single action reels came on the market is to clean up the
presentation of a light jig. These units
allow an angler to spool line straight on, thus preventing line twist. With no
line twist the jig will not spin in the water column, a real bonus when trying
to trigger fish to bite.