Fall perch fishing

By on November 6, 2017

Don’t put away that fishing tackle quite yet! The perch are making their fall run in from Lake Ontario into the tributaries to spend the winter. All the bays off the lake are a good bet to catch these tasty fish.

Pete McElhatten with a nice mess of fall run perch taken in Irondequoit Bay. Provided photo

Pete McElhatten with a nice mess of fall run perch taken in Irondequoit Bay. Provided photo

The fall perch bite usually takes place around Halloween. I contacted Jim Miller (aka the Perch Punisher) for a few fall perch fishing tips. Miller has never met a fish he wouldn’t eat; and if you’re talking perch, he would sell the family dog to the circus for a bucket full of these delicious morsels. Jim keeps every sized perch he catches, he doesn’t care how small they are. His motto is, “If a fish is big enough to bite my bait, it is big enough to hit my plate.” The man has eaten so much fish in his life that each fall he tries to swim upstream and spawn.

I checked in with the veteran angler for some fall fishing tips. Jim says that if you are a shore fisherman the place to be now is Braddock Bay under the Lake Ontario Parkway Bridge with a 1/16 oz. chartreuse hammer tail jig tipped with a few spikes. Put a weighted bobber about four feet above the jig and you can cast the weighted bobbers a long way. Once out there, just keep lightly popping the bobber and keep it slowly moving with a stop and go retrieve. This gives the jig plenty of action and if there are fish in the area they will hammer that jig, sinking the bobber.

There is still a lot of visual excitement to bobber fishing. Watching that bobber go under is still thrilling, whether you are six years old or sixty. You can use that same rig with a perch minnow rather than spikes as well. The problem with minnows is that they are more expensive and are usually gone after one bite. Spikes are cheap, easy to keep, and stay on your hook longer.

Miller continues, “If you have a boat, Irondequoit Bay’s perch bite is going good now as well. Try fishing the drop-off at the center buoy. You will see other boats in the area. Here you will be better off rigging with the standard sinker on the bottom and a perch minnow about a foot up from the sinker; two gold #6 hooks about a foot apart with a ¼ oz. sinker on the bottom because the water is deeper. Use a small number six gold hook. You can buy your minnows and spikes at S&R Bait & Tackle at 4423 Culver Road, just past the entrance to Durand Eastman Park on your left. They can also give you up-to-date perch recon.

“Sodus Bay as well is a great spot to catch perch at this time of year. If you are unsure where to fish just look for the other boats. Most of the time there will be a group of boats in a cluster around any good school of perch. Just don’t come motoring in and throwing your anchor in with a splash, know your fishing ethics. Motor in as slowly as possible and stay a good 50- to 100-yards away from other boats. The perch are schooled in the fall so you may have to keep moving to get on a school. Here is when a good electric motor can really pay for itself, allowing you to move slowly to find fish. Once you find the school deploy the anchor. Some perch fanatics use two anchors to stay in an exact position.  There is a breakthrough on the technology with the new electric motors; they now offer models with a GPS system built in. They are wireless so you can just hit the anchor button on a remote-control unit and the electric motor will keep you in the exact spot as long as you want to stay there. This eliminates the need for an anchor altogether. Can you imagine… talk about a great breakthrough for the fishermen. These GPS sync electric motors are big bucks, but that anchor feature alone would be priceless to a fisherman trying to stay on an exact spot.”

Thanks to the Perch Punisher for sharing some of his perch knowledge. This is a dangerous thing to do … if his fellow perch fanatics find out he is giving away these secrets, they will impeach him as their Grand Poohbah of Perch.

Remember New York State has implemented a 50-perch limit, so if you are really catching a ton you must keep an accurate count or you could get ticketed. This law was implemented because some fishermen were catching hundreds of these tasty fish and selling them. The regulation seems to have made a difference and perch numbers appear to be coming back.

Shore fishermen … I said it in the spring and I will say it again now … Pick up your trash! The shoreline at Braddock Bay, Irondequoit Bay and the Greece ponds is outrageously loaded with garbage left by fishermen, most of it plastic, Styrofoam and, even worse, discarded fishing line. This trash will eventually blow into the ponds and lie forever on the bottom of these great fisheries. There is no excuse … do the right thing and properly dispose of all your garbage. You brought it in, take it out!

You must be logged in to post a comment Login