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Fly Fishing For Yellow Perch

Blog by: David Coulson 9/12/2011
Part of Series: Warmwater Fly Fishing

Yellow perch are popular with a lot of folks, including myself, primarily because they’re outstanding table fare.  Let’s face it, you won’t hear many stories about their fight or huge size (a 12 inch fish is a Master Angler), but when it comes to eating few fish rival these tasty morsels.

Further, when the conversation turns to fishing for perch, bait fishing with worms has to be one of the top methods, closely followed by small jigs tipped with a worm.  Fly fishing, well not so much.  But there are times when it should be consider as it can be an extremely productive method of catching yellow perch. Sunday is case in point.

Cody and I decided to fish Boyd from kayaks and we were on the water shortly after sunrise.  We paddled to the south end to work the weed edges.  Primarily looking for black and white bass, of which we had little success.  After a couple hours we decided to head north.  As is my habit I drag flies behind me as I move from one location to another. Once we got into deeper water, 13-15 feet I got a strike and landed a brace of 8-10 inch perch.

Now what was really interesting was the two fish came in with a whole school of perch, fifty or so fish.  Needless to say, we parked and proceeded to catch triple after triple, with an occasional double.  Simply, once our gang of flies encountered a school of perch (running from 50-100 fish each), they ganged up on the flies until all hooks were loaded and then they kept at it, trying to take the flies from the hooked fish. 

Simply, right now at Boyd, I presume other perch waters, large schools of perch are aggressively chasing bait and a gang of flies (2 or 3), in our case 1.5 to 2 inch clousers worked on a sinking line is producing some great action.  

If you like perch and fast action, give fly fishing a try.  I think you’ll find it to be an extremely effective and fun way to catch your dinner.

Boyd CrappieBoyd Lake PerchCody with a perch triple
Early mornting fisherDecent `gillNice Largemouth
Blog content © David Coulson
Blog Comments
Good Sam, CO   9/15/2011 8:02:35 PM
Good job Dave. How deep were you fishing your flies? Steve
David Coulson (Flyrodn), CO   9/15/2011 11:21:37 PM
I was counting down 5 to 15 seconds. With a type three line that starts me down from 2 to 5 or 6 feet and with long casts I got a bit more sink andI was ticking bottom (evidenced by weeds on the flies occassionally). So I was working the full column to about 10 ft. However, I don't think the fish were hugging the bottom, as we often got hit within the first strip or so.
Tiny Stevens, CO   9/16/2011 1:35:08 AM
Reading this makes me hungry!
ThoseGuys26, CO   9/19/2011 8:05:11 PM
I thought I was a loner on fly fishing for perch. They're focusing on baby crayfish right now in 1-6 feet of water. Sink tip or your type 3 line and small crayfish patterns are killer right now. You're spot on about how few fish compare to the taste of the perch! Sashimi style yellow tail tuna straight from the ocean is pretty hard to beat..but that's a whole different animal.
David Coulson (Flyrodn), CO   9/20/2011 9:21:29 AM
There are few species that can't be caught with flies, and at times, such as fall the fly rod can be extremely effective for such species as perch. Likely hit Boyd or some other local perch water, it's time for a perch dinner. I do hope, however, that folks will consider harvesting them selectively. Boyd has a huge number of perch, but like many waters most are small. Harvesting fish under 12 inches, and releasing "trophies," fish over 12 inches will go a long way to keeping the small fish thinned down in my opinion.
ThoseGuys26, CO   9/21/2011 11:53:59 PM
Good point. I don't harvest hardly any fish.. well I guess I've actually been harvesting more fish the past year in CO than I have for years but that's do to the crazy amount of stocked lakes CO does. Honestly, if the CO residents didn't harvest the amount of bows they do, the DOW wouldn't stock so many. I probably catch and cook 12 brookies a year on & at the river in CO but I take a few rainbows out of some private lakes for my friends & my own smoking, that truly enjoy the fish. It's very different where I come from but I'm very excited about CO's fisheries and plan on making it last with my own efforts.
David Coulson (Flyrodn), CO   9/22/2011 7:58:00 AM
Absolutely nothing wrong with harvesting fish. I rarely say that I do, and almost never say I did when I report on fishing as I don't see how it helps others catch fish. I really enjoy eating most warm water species, including black bass. But I try to harvest when a particular species at a given water are plentiful and then I keep whatever comes my way, and release the "trophies." As an example, at Boyd if I want a meal, depending on the catching, I time how long it will take to catch enough for dinner, and then I keep whatever comes my way that is big enough to clean, but not a trophy (and legal of course). I let nature decide the size, and often the species. So somedays it will be all perch, somedays it will be a mix of species, such as bluegill, crappie, and white bass. And never more than meal at a time. I don't stock the freezer and I don't often give fish away, and when I do it is to fill a special request as a favor. I feel the resource is too valuable to be harvesting just because it's legal. The only exception is where CPW requests certain species be harvested. I do comply in those cases, such as brookies at Trappers Lake.
FishBrad, CO   11/9/2011 9:01:21 PM
big mouth,lov to eat bass but I have eaten 1.
FishBrad, CO   11/9/2011 9:06:07 PM
tasty,yum,good to eat thats all i can think to say

Other Blogs in the Warmwater Fly Fishing Series

Walleye Fly Fishing by M. Snider 09.03.21
A primer on how to go after toothy walleye on the fly. With a sinking line and some clousers, you'll be well on your way to hooking these predators on a noodle rod.
Sonar Exploration to Catch More Shallow Fish by M. Snider 06.19.21
In this blog I explain a bit about my technique of scanning sonar in deeper water around a lake to find and mark congregations of gamefish and baitfish to improve chances of catching fish when casting shallower structure.
Ready For Carp by M. McConnell 03.18.19
Fly fishing for Carp is a blast! Whether you're targeting Common Carp, Grass Carp, or Mirror Carp - these fish are sure to test your fly fishing skills.
Carp on the Fly Resources - Part 4 by T. McInerney 10.14.18
Here's the fourth and last of a few blogs highlighting some great resources to get you into carp on the fly.
Carp on the Fly Resources - Part 3 by T. McInerney 09.24.18
Here's the third of a few blogs highlighting some great resources to get you into carp on the fly.
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