After a hot start, perch action has slowed down
By Dale Bowman Post-Tribune correspondent June 7, 2012 11:42PM
Updated: July 9, 2012 6:20AM
Perch fishing is like being in love. You really can’t get too much.
In the historic heat of March, perch fishermen had one of the most sustained early bites in history around East Chicago and Gary. But it’s been slow for weeks.
“We typically see the decline in perch activity at those locations,’’ Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert emailed. “They, however, had the best early season in that area so I think some of it balances out. As for overall, we are seeing things begin to pick up off Mount Baldy. This has been steadily improving as the weather is.
“Boats were out the last few days. We had some nets out and were able to catch some decent fish. We had perch from 5 inches all the way up to 14 inches in 80 feet of water. Some were ripe females and males so spawning is still occurring.’’
There was a noted surge in effort the last few days
“Perch seem real dead, but many more people (were) trying (Thursday),’’ said Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station. “Hopefully they find some. Because, they are out there somewhere.’’
Doris Salada at Country Bait in Valparaiso said some of her customers started finding perch out of Michigan City as the weather settled this week.
“Everybody is gun shy to go around here, because there hasn’t been any around,’’ Mike Starcevich from Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet in Hammond said of East Chicago and Calumet Harbor.
But he noted the shore fishing has taken off in Chicago harbors, especially at Montrose. The bite has shifted to soft shells in the past week there.
Ducks Unlimited: Big Lake Sporting Clay & Fun Shoot is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Oakwood Gun Club in Wheatfield. Contact Jason Bell at (219) 405-0754, Wally Kimmich (219) 743-6992 or Phil Grenchik (219) 617-3950.
Inland fishing: For waders, this should be the perfect weekend: low levels and hot weather. ... Sleziak reported crappie still going at Potato Creek State Park on crappie minnows. He said fishermen are doing well on bedding bluegill at Hudson and Pine lakes. He said some of the redear being caught there are topping 10 inches. ... Salada said the bluegill remain the top bite at places like Loomis and Long. She said river fishermen are starting to do well for catfish. ... Fishing had slowed at Willow Slough, but it has been improving steadily with the warm-up.
Lake Michigan: Sleziak of Triplecatch Charters said the fishing remains outstanding in 110-140 feet in Illinois and Michigan waters from off U.S. Steel to Michigan City for coho, kings, lake trout and steelhead, “everything except browns.’’
He said with that variety of salmon and trout, they are fishing from down 25 feet to the bottom. Magnum spoons, such as Mixed Veggie and Froggy Glow, have been most consistent. ... Mik-Lurch reported steelhead at the mouth of the Ditch and off the Michigan City piers, but it varies widely day by day. ``The mother lode has not come in yet,’’ Starcevich said. ... Smallmouth moved up in the last week.
Showtime: The first Chicago In-Water Boat Show (chicagoinwaterboatshow.com) runs through Sunday at the new 31st Street Marina in Chicago.
Free fishing days: Illinois’ Free Fishing Days run through Monday. Michigan’s summer free fishing weekend is Saturday and Sunday. In both states, licenses and stamps are not required, but other regulations apply.
Dove hunters: Random selections of Indiana hunters will be part of the National Dove Hunter Survey, scheduled to begin later this month. The DNR said some 10,000 Hoosier hunters harvest more doves than any other species in Indiana, typically around 200,000 annually.
Outdoor people: Assistant fisheries biologist Janal Palla’s last day with the Lake Michigan office is today. For the last 18 years, she’s provided continuity through three supervisors. Breidert said he hopes her spot is filled within the next six months.