Perch patterns?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Dizane, Jun 4, 2005.

  1. A while ago I experimented with some perch patterns with no success. Since then, I kind of forgot about the idea. Two observations a few days ago on a north sound beach, however, caused me to rethink the idea.

    The first occured when I was striking out with some proven sandlance and sculpin patterns. All I had to show were a few pulls and one follow by a large dolly. A spin fisherman was on the beach with me and he was doing quite well on SRC and a few large dollies. What really intrigued me was when I saw his lure, a yellow with red spot spinner. There were large schools of small shiner perch in the shallows, and as everyone knows, they have several bright yellow bars on their sides. Was it possible the fish were keying in on the yellow?

    The second observation occured after I ran into a large school of pile perch. These fish were obviously spawning and while unhooking one it started giving birth. The young fish were an interesting color, a translucent yellowish red. Coincidence? I'm not so sure. Does anyone on the board have any observations of fish keying in on small perch or had any success with perch patterns? i think that they warrant a second try in my box.

  2. Dane, in a lake I fish often that has big cutts and a perch population I use a fly that works well and I call it a perch minnow. No reason why it won't work in the salt.

    Crawdad cross cut rabbit wrapped. Add a yellow hackle, about 3 turns and fairly long. Head can be an option, I wrap either peacock herl or ostrich hurl for the head. I have been using a 200 RBL size 8 hook. I have had fish litterally inhale the fly!

    If this doesn't make sense PM me and give me your mailing address and I will send you one.

  3. It seems to me they eat the really small shiner perch very well. However the larger ones, 2 inches or so, we refer to as useless bait. That is you will find huge herds of the suckers milling on the surface around lots of big cutts and the cuts don't seem to care. My guess has been that its not that they don't like the perch, rather that at the times of year when the adult perch seem to be most abundant, there are tons of young sandlance around. Kind of "why eat dry toast when you coud have Pizza". However, all this said, I have messed around with adult shiner perch paterns and had very good sucsess with a few of my own. I am not sure however that the trout knew they were intended to be shiner perch patterns.
    On a nother note, I do tons of sight fishing for sea runs in the north sound, what I have seen leads me to belive that it is generally not that the spin rod guy is gettting more bites, its just that he feels them better. Beware the super ultra mega light biting sea run, most of them fall into this catagory, and rarely get hooked because of it.
    Set hard, and often.
  4. Jim that is an interesting observation about perch being undesirable once larger. My rabbit fur fly would probably not be too effective in the salt in that case. How about a small Mickey Finn? colors seem right.

  5. It could be your rabbit fly turns out to be deadly. If it does it would be my guess that they are taking it as somthing other than a perch, only the trout know for sure. Actualy, scratch that, I doubt the trout are sure either. As for the Micky Fin, tied extra sparse its not only a Killer on trout but also late returning Coho. Go figure. Oh yea, one other thing, about the size thing, I've seen trout key on hering that were 4 inches long, it seems to be just the perch that become less desirable with age.
  6. That (trout avoiding larger perch) may have to do with the profile. The mouth and gullet of a trout are fairly narrow (as opposed to a bass, say) and big perch may not be eaten because they can't be swallowed. Herring, though, are thin and elongated so they'd slide down like an oyster. But the deeper profile of the perch may be more difficult. I know prey profile preference is something that holds true in other fish-- specifically walleyes and bass-- so it may be the same thing with SRC. If the trout learns that larger perch are a difficult meal when the trout is small, that learned behavior may carry through when the trout is larger...or, maybe large perch taste like bananas...

  7. Thanks everyone for the input. I think the profile has a lot to do with it. Larger perch, with their deep profile, would be very hard to swallow you'd think. I'm gonna try some small with wide profile flies and see what happens.

  8. Dane,
    Are you talking about the little yellow barred perch about 4" long? I have been wondering about them, as they are more plentiful in the water right now than any other baitfish. But I know nothing of their spawning; how big are the baby perch, and are they spawning right now?

    This may be relevant to your observations and where you seem to be headed. A while ago I kept getting short hits, and finally timed correctly my set with the hit, and impaled a little perch through the jaw(the whole jaw).

    As I was bored I amused myself by trying to figure out how to catch these little barred perch, and went way down in the fly size. Most importantly, I started stripping differently: two handed, very short strip (4 inches or so), and each strip was like striking a match, acting like a strip set. The result was probably 3 times as many sets for the amount of line taken in normally.

    I indeed started catching these perch, and feel I can catch them at any time I want to now. Incidental to playing with these little guys, I started catching a lot of small sea run cutthroats and silver salmon (6" +/-) that I otherwise would have missed.

    Bottom line, I think there is a lot of gentle takes out there, but to me, in Snohomish County South of Everett, they seemed to be from smaller fish that have a hard time getting their smaller mouths around a size 8 baitfish. I pretty much try to avoid messing with these fish to avoid the mortality on them, but they are aggressive little buggers

    However, I am very interested in the idea that the perch offspring may be preyed upon by the sea runs and bull trout, and will try out some yellow in my flies next time I'm out. Indeed, if the spawn are pretty small, I would guess a predator would probably be inhaling them much like it would take a amphipod or the likes, and might quickly spit out a hook that didn't taste like food before you even feel a strike. Any idea where the perch normally give birth, i.e., seaweed, rocks, ?
  9. The perch I were talking about are two different species. One is the shiner perch which you see schooled up in the shallows. These are the guys with the yellow bars. The spawning perch I talked about were pile perch. I caught several of them in the 12-16'' range, but they give birth to live young in the 2-3'' range. The reason I figured that the fish might be keying in on these 2-5'' perch was that the dolly I had follow and the dollies the spin fisherman caught were all in the 5-8 lb. range. A fish this size, or a SRC in the 14-20'' range, would probably have no problem eating one of the smaller perch that are plentiful on the beaches right now.

    Since sea perch give birth to live young, I don't know if they're very discriminate about where they spawn. I usually find them over rocky bottoms. The pile perch are spawning right now, and should continue to through June. The shiner perch are on the beaches all summer long.

  10. Dane:
    Have you figured out any existing flies imitating the pile perch babies you saw?
  11. I don't believe that the Perch eat Fry. When I was a youngen I used to catch pile perch off the ferry docks in Bremerton. All they seemed to like to eat was shrimp or piling worms. Used to get jumbo shrimp at the meat markets for .10 cents a pound. That was before people started eating them. It was the same for the little perch. Pogies was what we used to call them.The little perch.

  12. Salt Dog,

    I've tied up a few Spread Flies to imitate them. Just gray super hair topped with olive super hair, and veil the sides with some yellow fishhair.Epoxy the head, and when the epoxy is almost dry, squeeze it with your fingers. This will cause the body of the fly to flare out, creating a wide profile for the fly. I haven't tried it out yet, but it seems to imitate the perch in both color and profile. We'll have to see what the fish think.


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