Photo courtesy Idaho Fish & Game
Twelve-year-old Tia Wiese holds a record yellow perch caught through the ice. Yellow perch are excellent eating.
They usually don’t get very big. They travel in schools, and when you find them, they are relatively easy to catch. And, they are great eating., They are yellow perch.
Yellow perch are cousins to the walleye and every bit as good eating. They generally are smaller than walleye, and have a yellow stripped coloration. Yellow perch, walleye and sauger are all members of the perch family.
Several outdoor writer friends recently posted on Facebook the smiling face of 12-year-old Tia Wiese of Idaho with a huge yellow perch she caught through the ice.
It turned out the plump, big yellow perch was not only an Idaho state record, but a world record for a yellow perch caught through the ice using a tipup
(Tip-ups for ice fishing are a way to present live bait to fish without holding on to a rod. Tip-ups allow ice fishermen to fish multiple holes at the same time, fish various depths at once, or work various positions on drop-offs or other bottom structures. Tip-ups are rigged with a small flag that pops up when a fish takes the bait, hence their name.)
Young Tia was ice fishing with her father on Lake Cascade when she pulled a two-pound, 11.68-ounce beauty through the ice.
We don’t see many yellow perch around this area of Kentucky and Indiana. They originally were naturally found in lakes and streams in the northeastern part of the U.S. and across into Canada. However over the years, these fish have been stocked in lakes in nearly every state in the country.
Yellow perch also are known as American perch, ringed perch, striped perch, coon perch and jack perch. They probably also have some other regional and local names.
According to the International Game Fish Association, the all-tackle world record for a yellow perch is four-pounds, three-ounces. It was caught by Dr. C. Abbot, and apparently is the longest standing freshwater fish record in North America, dating back to May 1, 1865. It was caught near Bordertown, N.J.
The Indiana record yellow perch was caught by Roy Burkel from a gravel pit in Vigo County. It dates back to 1981 and weighed two-pounds, eight-ounces.
The Kentucky record yellow perch weighed one-pound, seven-ounces and was caught by Klint Thaxton of Ashland, IL, at Kentucky Lakes in March of 2010.
Yellow perch are delicious with a mild flavor. A one-pound perch is a big fish, but if an angler can find a school of them, they are relatively easy to catch using light tackle.
The perch will hit minnow shaped lures with wiggly tails, and other similar jigs. As to live bait, they like worms, live and dead minnows, and crickets.
While I’ve never lived where yellow perch were available nearby for catching, I enjoyed fishing for them at Aerobus Lake in Northwest Ontario for many years. When the lake trout or northerns weren’t biting. it was time to purse perch.
For me, fishing for yellow perch had a feel of hunting.
At Aerobus, a number of the bays are rather shallow and the water is crystal clear. On a day with calm water, I would float the bay looking for schools of perch. Once I found a school, a cast to them would almost always provide several strikes and fish.
If the school moved on, I would simply try to follow it, or look for another one. I usually caught more small ones that were returned to the lake than keepers, but it was fun and the keeper once filleted and fried golden brown were great eating.