What can I say about this year that you haven’t already said? Most of the local lakes in Eastern Central Iowa are a bust this year. Plenty of fish with no size. Most of my outings on public water have produced little to nothing in the way of keepers. I’ve found myself fishing mostly farm ponds to scratch the big fish itch. I was so excited last Sunday when my Dad dropped me a line. I was out playing with the kids in the snow for half the day. I noticed my phone flashing when I got in. I dialed my voicemail and waited. It was my Dad. “I got a limit of perch today!” I quickly called him back. Yep, he had decided to try a new area on the Mississippi River and caught some really nice 10 to 12 inch fish. I told him I’d see if I could make arrangements to come up. Long story short….I was on my way the next day.
I arrived at about 8:45A.M. My Dad was already to go when I got there. He had his wonderful egg and hamburger sandwiches ready for the ride. Some day I need to open a dinner that only sells these….man are they good…and they stick with you all day. We loaded his truck up and ran up river. We arrived shortly and started to walk out to the spot. I was brimming with confidence that I would soon be blessed with these beautiful fish breaching the water to the hard ice above. Perch to me are a real treat. We don’t have much for perch locally in my area. They are not only beautiful fish but they are one of the best eating fish I’ve ever had. They taste like they have been infused with butter! So, GOOD! We arrived at the location he had caught fish the day before. I started up the auger and drilled a dozen new holes. I wasn’t going to bring the gas auger but I’m glad I did. I was looking at 18+ inches of ice. I was in a hurry to drop down the hole. I put my transducer in the hole and saw nothing but bottom. I tried fishing….nothing. I repeated it. My Dad had moved to a different hole. Nothing. Ahh, here we go I thought. The trip is gonna be a bust. Should have been here yesterday entered my head. I hopped a couple more holes. Then in the 4th hole I had a couple marks. Up 2 feet off the bottom. I dropped down and the mark came in line with my jig. Hmmmm…..something didn’t feel right. I set the hook. A beautiful 10 inch perch came up. Nice. I took the fish off and dropped back down. Bam! Another one…this one felt large and in charge. I was thinking bass. I was wrong. It was my biggest perch of the day. A 13.25″ fatty. My personal best in-fact. May not seem that big but like I said…..we don’t have these in my neck of the woods.
So, with those 2 on the ice, I started to feel like the day may go my way. As I continued to fish around I found nothing more. I decided to set up a couple of my tip downs. My Dad still had nothing. About 30 minutes went by without a mark. Then, one of my tip downs started to move down. Nice and slow. I was well away from it so by the time I got to it the fish was hooked and the rod was bouncing up and down. I brought the fish up and it was another nice one. It was a tough day but a rewarding day when it was all said and done. The fish would come through in small pods from time to time. I would manage one really nice flurry of 10 fish in about 15 minutes. What a blast. We ended up with 22 that we kept and one 7 to 8 pound northern that my Dad hooked into as I was packing up to leave. This was his personal best northern. He did a great job of fighting it on the 3 pound test he had on. I also fished a new prototype jig that Mitchel Meyers and I have been working on. It performed wonderfully. I didn’t lose one fish on the jig. I caught 17 of the 22 perch on this day as well. Look for this new jig next season. Might have to bring it to market.