Jumbo's are on the move!

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.
G-Whopper fish
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.
 Prairie Gold!