You wouldn t know it the way the wind has been blowing this week, but prime Lake Erie yellow perch fishing time is upon us or will be again soon when the lake settles down.
At least numberswise, they were on fire [before the blow], said Travis Hartman about perch action around B- and C-Cans and one to two miles west-northwest of Green Island. Limits were coming in fairly fast of fish 7-1/2 inches to 9 inches, many of them from the abundant 2003 year-class.
Two bonus walleyes flank a nice mess of jumbo-size Lake Erie yellow perch caught near the Davis-Besse complex. Eastern Lake Erie is especially active with perch this time of year.
Hartman, a state fisheries biologist at Sandusky, said he expects that it will be Sunday or Monday before conditions settle and fishing resumes. While the prolonged east-northeast winds may redistribute the schools, he said, he would start fishing the pre-wind hot spots first before going perch hunting.
It s prime perching time and it s picking up, he added, noting that cooling lake-waters in late summer and early fall usually help action. The numbers of eight-inch and larger perch should be better this fall than in any of the last five years, the biologist said.
However, little action has been reported from traditional hot spots, such as off Marblehead, Gull Island Shoal, or around Kelleys Island, Hartman said.
We ve already seen a lot of effort redirected toward perch [from walleye], perhaps out of habit. Go to the east for bigger perch, as usual, he said, referring to nearshore areas from Vermilion to Conneaut. If I were going for big perch, I d go to Ashtabula or Conneaut. On the other hand, he acknowledged, Fairport Harbor is an unofficial perch mecca.
Along with the heavy 2003 class of fish, good numbers remain from solid classes in 1996, 1999, and 2001.
Remember that the new daily creel limit is 40. The standard tandem-hook perch rigs baited with emerald shiners always are the best medicine, using wire side-by-side spreaders, or vertically stacked wire crappie-rigs, depedning on preference.
Coser to Toledo, once the dirty water clears up you can try around the Toledo Harbor Light on the Toledo Ship Channel, off Little Cedar Point, the area marked as Gravel Pit on charts, or east of the Toledo Water Intake. All are traditional perch zones.
Jerry Meyers Sr., left, and Dan Tucker heft some fine yellow perch taken on a western Lake Erie expedition.
Two regional yellow perch fishing tournaments and festivals are scheduled next week.
One is the popular Lake County PerchFest, set for Sept. 8 through 10 at Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park in Fairport Harbor east of Cleveland.
A perch tournament with a $1,000 top prize for adults is set for Sept. and 10. PerchFest also features entertainment, fireworks, perch dinners, marine museum tours and related attractions.
For other details call 1-800-368-LAKE, or visit on-line at www.perchfest.net.
In another event closer to Toledo, the Wild Wings Perch Tournament is set for Sept. 9, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Wing Wings Marina off State Rt. 2 just west of Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in western Ottawa County.
The event features a 100 percent payback, though entries must be filed by Sunday. For details visit Happy Hooker Bait Shop, 9688 West State Rt. 2 at Humphrey Road, or call the shop at 419-898-9676.
The Apling family of Manitou Beach, Mich., whoet out Sunday on a 1,450-mile circuit of lower Michigan via the Great Lakes in a 27-foot offshore triple-tube pontoon boat has reached Harbor Springs, in northern Lake Michigan, some 450 miles north of their starting point at New Buffalo, Mich., near the Indiana line.
Dave Apling, patriarch of the clan and veteran of two pontoon-boat trips to Florida from Michigan, said that he and his wife, Donna, and son Pat and his wife, Laurie, arrived Tuesday night at Harbor Springs, well ahead of schedule.
They will await son Mike and his wife, Liz, who will take over for Pat and Laurie. The family runs Devils Lake Water Sports at Manitou Beach in northwest Lenawee County.
The plan is to motor through the Straits of Mackinac and head down Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit River, ending on Lake Erie at Toledo Beach, just north of Toledo.
The old boat [actually it s brand new and superbly equipped] performed really well, said Apling. We got here sooner than expected.
On Sunday they encountered heavy seas of five to seven feet, which caused a lot of thumping and rolling, said Apling. The boat handled it well, though it was doable. The next two days [under calm seas] were just fantastic.
He said he will wait for Mike to finish some business and they will resume the adventure in a week, several days later than planned. As for the resort of Harbor Springs, Apling adds: It s not a bad place to wait.