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Lake: Blue Mesa Reservoir

Perch tips

Post By: yard dogs      Posted: 3/13/2023 4:39:59 PM     Points: 722    
Alright fellas - hit me up with any perch tips you are willing to share. I laker fish 99% of the time, but my little man really wants to get on some perch this coming weekend before the ice is gone. I have researched some and have a few jigs that I think will work, but I really have no idea on where to target them (rocky shelves, sandy flats, etc.). Do you guys have better luck with waxies or mealies? Any help is greatly appreciated!


 Reply by: Digginjiggin      Posted: Mar. 13, 6:23:53 PM     Points: 426
Hey Brad,
Perch can be pretty easy to catch but in late season they can get real tight-lipped. At least the keepers. Early season we find them on break lines off the flats on transitions from sand to gravel. On Blue, we have found some on the rocky bottoms near bluffs about 30 fow, but found a lot more in deeper coves where the sand meets the gravel from 17-24’. Early season they hit good on small tubes and brass pimples. Mealies in the morning, waxies after 10. And perch eyes. Last trip they were real picky for 4mm tungsten’s with 1 waxie or brass Genz worms with a waxie. Fire tiger and green glow or white glow colors. GL, they are getting close to spawn so might be easier to catch now. GL
 Reply by: GoNe_FiShIn_11      Posted: Mar. 15, 8:13:45 AM     Points: 10241
Good info there. That should give you a starting point. Panfish generally like baits on the smaller side. Small spoons and jigging raps for the aggressive fish. If they are finicky try 5 or 6 mm tungsten jigs with a plastic and worm of sort. Minnow heads work well too if available. Once you get into them a bit perch eyes are killer. Little guy may not want to watch the removal though.
I did well with the vmc bull spoons this year. Little bit smaller profile with a good hook.
Beware perch fishing can be kind of addictive lol
Good luck
 Reply by: Mud      Posted: Mar. 16, 3:28:42 AM     Points: 79
The best bait I have ever found for perch is perch. Once you catch one, kill it then cut tiny strips like you would with sucker meat for lakers but on a smaller scale. Or, for a classic method, pop out an eye and use it. I personally find that the meat+skin works just as well and stays on the hook much better if you are willing to sacrifice a perch to use it. Either way, if you get a little chunk of meat in front of them they will bite. I wouldn't worry too much about the lure, I normally just use a tungsten ice jig with a split shot over it for them since it gets down fast, and I almost never have a perch mark appear and not bite. Just hold it totally still in front of them once they seem interested.

The real challenge of BM perch fishing is finding them. If you want to go for perch, be ready to drill dozens of holes. Don't stay in one spot if you aren't seeing perch after a couple minutes, keep on moving. In my experience during early ice they relate to rocky and woody cover under 30 feet, especially points and humps. I look at a depth map and the shoreline and drill some holes around anything that stands out as different from the surroundings and eventually run into perch. That's easy to do in the early season, but now that the ice is thick and the snow makes walking tiring it gets a lot tougher if you don't have a snowmobile and a power auger of some kind.


For what it's worth, mid and late season perch out east where fishing for them is a lot more popular traditionally form schools in the deepest mud flats in the lake. The only problem is that deep mud flats in the east are normally around 30 feet, while the deep basins in BM are 200+ which means traditional perch info is useless out here. If anybody knows what perch do out here during late ice, I for one would be really interested.

On the bright side, this incredible snow year should mean rising waters if we don't send it all down to Powell. And rising waters will hopefully bring flooded vegetation so the perch can have a highly successful spawn this spring. If that pans out, I would expect crazy good perch fishing 3 years from now.

I'll be trying to get out to BM on Friday and Saturday and this thread motivated me to give perch one last shot for the season. Post an update if you get out!
 Reply by: Walleye Guy      Posted: Mar. 16, 7:03:10 AM     Points: 181
Is cutting up perch and using it for bait legal here? Not interested in starting a fight, just interested.
 Reply by: yard dogs      Posted: Mar. 16, 8:42:33 AM     Points: 722
Awesome tips - thank you fellas!!!

Little man has been sick the last few days, so I hope he kicks it and gets to make the trip...

Jerry - thats the kind of pile we need to make some tacos!! Little dude would love it

Mud - I (hopefully we) will be out on Saturday. Most likely in the Cebolla area. If you are around there stop and say hi. We will be on a blue Polaris sled.

Walleye Guy - it is legal to use perch meat
 Reply by: Mud      Posted: Mar. 16, 12:24:23 PM     Points: 79
Walleye Guy

From the regulations:

e. The only species allowed to be taken and used for personal use as bait(either alive or dead) by fishing, seining, netting, trapping or dipping are minnows, bluegill, hybrid bluegill, carp, sunfish, gizzard shad, sculpin,
white and longnose suckers, ****yellow perch**** and rainbow smelt. Statewide bag limits apply to sunfish, bluegill, hybrid bluegills and yellow perch.

Of course, live bait is not allowed on BM but I see nothing to indicate that perch cutbait is illegal. Plus, perch eyes are a pretty common bait among perch fishermen.
 Reply by: Walleye Guy      Posted: Mar. 16, 1:19:00 PM     Points: 181
As I said I was just interested in the regs. I used perch eyes as a kid in Wisconsin, never used perch pieces tho. Seems to me that both “were” illegal back in Minnesota. Funny how state rules are different.

As Billy Joe Shaver put it….one thing in common is we all are different.
 Reply by: Hawaiian Punch      Posted: Mar. 18, 3:39:52 PM     Points: 10703
We use perch eyes for icefishing bait . . .I make an eye ball scoop from a piece of piano wire and a wood handle . . .think of a cherry pit scoop.
 Reply by: GoNe_FiShIn_11      Posted: Mar. 18, 6:01:22 PM     Points: 10241
Hey Dan I finally used the eye scoop you learned me to build years back. I’ve had it in flasher bag for years and used it in South Dakota in January. It worked like a charm.
 Reply by: Wmdunker      Posted: Mar. 19, 6:17:32 AM     Points: 463
I made and eyeball scoop out of a stick and a paper clip and it works great. Thanks for all the tips on perch fishing Blue - maybe someday I will be able to find them consistently. But for now, it is mostly hit or miss with a lot of misses.

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