Hot perch bite in Montana

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The yellow perch are in at Flathead Lakes East Bay in Polson, Montana. This is a fishery that many look forward to each year when the water temps rise and they move into spawning grounds.

JUMBOS!

JUMBOS!

Once water temps rise to about 48 degrees on this shallow bay, the fish turn on.  Ideal conditions look like this…cool nights that allow the water temps to drop to about 40-42 degrees in 1-3 feet of water.  As the late morning sun begins to warm the water, the fish become more active.  By noon or so, the temps have warmed to about 48 degrees and the fish become more active, and go on a feeding frenzy when the temps hit 48-50 degreesF.  Sometimes, these fish will gather below the shade pattern of your boat and allow you to sight fish and pick the size of fish you wish to catch.

 

Closing in on the state record

Lures are simple, 1/8 ounce, minnow pattern baits with a bit of night crawler or perch belly. Cast and retrieve your jig along edge of weeds, with a lift/fall action.  Or, just put same bait under a slip bobber, keeping it no higher than 6″ off bottom.  This is a GREAT fishery for kids or seniors as the action can be non-stop.  And these yellow perch are some of the finest table fare out there.  Self imposed limits are important, as yellow perch are not regulated here.  Keep a couple meals and let those big females go, so they can spawn and help protect this fishery for years to come.

 

Last week, a fish barely 1/4 pound off the state record was caught by a local angler who avidly fishes yellow perch in the winter. 15 3/8″ and 2.13 pounds, it was a personal best for him.