The hottest bite as of this week has definitely consisted of perch and northern pike. With a few days of consistent sun and higher temperatures, both species have been on the move in search of baitfish, feeding and staging adjacent to their spawning areas. We are noticing that the perch are really running in size-oriented schools, and each school has its own mood. Some of the smaller schools of larger fish have actually been feeding more aggressively than others. With this in mind, we have not been using a very large presentation like a perch rig or jigging spoon. The most successful technique has consisted of small orange and chartreuse tungsten jigs tipped with wax works and spikes. Using 2lb fluorocarbon main line has been best. All lakes have had different depths that have been producing perch. The most important thing to look for when locating active perch is a soft muddy bottom on a flat that is adjacent to weeds or a drop-off. If the lake you are targeting is mostly shallow, finding isolated weeds with a soft bottom will be key.
Northern pike fishing has been great. The rest of the month will yield some of the best pike action of the year. Both the males and the females have increased their daily travel and really seem to be putting on the pre-spawn feedbag. We have really steered away from steel leaders this season, we have had great success with 15lb fluorocarbon tip-up leaders rigged with a size 12 treble hook. This has allowed the action of the golden minnow to maintain a very active wounded motion. By using lighter line, smaller hook and a ¼ ounce egg sinker we have found that we are getting a lot more action. Depth of water for these pre-spawn fish has been consistent with most lakes. 6-15ft of water close to drop offs, flats and weed beds has been best.
Last ice fishing is right around the corner. With this comes some excellent action for all species, but it also brings sketchy inconsistent ice conditions. We ask that all anglers please use extreme caution when hitting the ice the rest of the season. Good luck and catch them up!