Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ice Fishing For Perch

I have heard tell of an old home remedy for people suffering from the general malaise associated with a Maine winter. The ancient elixir consists of equal parts muscular torment drilling holes in the surface of an icy lake, a health dose of freezing your butt off and adrenaline laced rock ride when the flags are up and the fish are biting. If that doesn’t give you a swift kick in the rear and jump start your winter then nothing will.

At 55 acres we weren’t fishing what would actually be considered BIG waters but foot travel and deep snow has a way of making even small distances seem massive. As I crossed the frozen lake my exhalations created huge plumes of frozen vapor that circled my head and fogged my sunglasses. Each deep breath of the cold dry air the negative air slammed into the back of my throat causing me to break into a coughing fit. The deck thermometer had registered -10 F before the sun had awoken from its fitful slumber. Now, since rising and despite the intense solar rays the mercury still refused to budge.

With the annoyance level of a small child dragging their fingers down a chalkboard; each of my footsteps creaked nosily across the snow surface causing intermittent shivers up my spine. Peering through my ice encrusted Oakleys I could faintly see our destination, a small finger of land jutting out into the small pond. From many previous trips to this location I knew that an impressive yellow perch fishery lay just 14 inches below the ice.

The old Jiffy ice auger coughed, wheezed and finally sputtered to life like an asthmatic struggling for a strained last breath at a dust mite convention. Despite the bitching and complaining the old warhorse had drilled five impressive ten inch holes within minutes and rattled just about ever filling out of my skull.

As we spread out over the hard water drilling hole after hole our combined efforts left the lake surface the consistency of well aged Swiss cheese. With perch fishing it is all about location, location, location and we were searching for the prime real estate.

Well, it didn’t take long to get the yellow perch to start biting and even with several jig pole working overtime, our tempting minnow supply soon become depleted. Thus was the signal to pack-up the equipment and make the hike back to civilization. Returning back to the homestead I had fun trying out the 30 second perch filleting method and only managed to lose one finger in the process. Not to worry I reattached it myself using some duct tape.

Take Care!


  1. So a tip up knowing a perch is on board is an adrenaline rush??? I might get a little excited about a white perch, and a little wound up about a nice salmon. But I think your cabin fever is getting the best of you buddy. Now after a little jabbing, I must inform your following about your next voyage this weekend to the premier ice fishing depot called East Grand...

    Did I just leak out some information you yellow perch chasing maniac?


    And you may want to check out my blog, good things are coming your way, well sort of....

  2. TRO - Enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for the humor, too! I can relate to everything you said as I am an active ice fisherman who loves chasing Perch, Trout, etc.

    I see you use Duck Tape also!

  3. DEDH,

    As a guy who used to hang off 1000 foot ice walls with nothing more for protection than a couple of razor sharp ice axes I suppose "adrenaline ride" is a somewhat relative term. Now that I have retired from the world of climbing I have to find new sources of entertainment to keep my heart beating! Watch out YELLOW PERCH!

    Yes, E. Grand is our intended target this weekend! Already have the tip-ups loaded with new octopus hooks and fire line!

    OfF to your blog!

  4. Mel,

    Thanks for the positive comments! Always much appreciated! Hope my stories manage to put a smile on your face from time to time . . .

    Heading out shortly to the state's premiere ice fishing mecca. Hope to return with that new state record togue BUT if not I guess a 15 pound wall hanger will suffice . . . ice fishermen the eternal optimists!


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