Tom Neustrom Ice FishingWith the warmer weather predicted it looks as though many anglers will be out on the ice. Pan fish have been pursued by most anglers of late and many of the lakes in the Grand Rapids area have been producing and will be good destinations in the next several weeks. Small baits are the key and mobility is so important. Drilling 8 to 10 holes is important when out on the lake no matter if you are chasing crappies, Perch or bluegills.

As the weather warms up, and you chase Yellow Perch, make sure you start to target locations that have soft bottom and rock close to one another. Over the years as we get closer to spring, perch are chasing larvae they find in the mud and sand, but they also want to be near rocky areas in search of small crayfish from last season’s reproduction cycle. It’s a food source that most anglers don’t understand. It’s a very important food supply and it’s part of the perch smorgasbord of food needed. Most often perch don’t necessarily eat minnows as their preferred food in late winter. Many Wisconsin winter anglers have been using a bait called wigglers, which were really may fly larvae in their grub state. They actually would swim and be particularly lively in a cup of water. When fished in areas where there were perch they many times would out fish everything else.  As time went on, manufacturers saw the advantage of this small morsel and duplicated there appearance.

I like to use my mapping system and utilize it to find rock piles in 12-20 feet of water. These seem to be the best locations to find schools of hungry perch this time of the year. Another good search bait is a #3 or #5 Jigging Rap with a couple wax works or small minnow head. They both can work equally as well in the right areas. One thing is definitely for sure, Yellow perch are one of the best eating of all fish and have been enjoyed for decades by anglers in the know.