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Old 03-01-2010, 07:37 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Did someone call me?

Here are my thoughts- In the 80's and 90's the perch were much more abundant. The average size was around 6-7 inches and anything near 12" was a considered jumbo. With the arrival of the zebra mussels, and gobies; and corresponding decline of the alewife and smelt populations, the numbers of perch decreased. However, their average size during the spring/summer increased. Guys are now catching 12-13" perch regularly with a smattering of 14's or even a 15.

I support a 15 fish limit to reduce the overall number of fish taken and a closure during the spawning period-roughly mid-April through mid-May to protect the spawners. You cannot imagine how many gravid perch are harvested by the boaters off Waukegan every spring, and how many are wasted because they were too small and released to die from the bends. What would happen to the perch population if the limit was eliminated? I don't partake of winter perching because most of the larger fish -9" or larger are egg laden females. Personally, I have a problem with seeing all those egg sacs wasted. The impact from recreational harvests should not be discounted.

Consequently, my perching efforts are focused on catching enough from late May through the end of June and stocking my freezer with enough fillets to last me until the following spring. In my opinion, 9-12" perch have the best taste and texture. 13.5" plus perch should be released.
Agreed on what was stated early about the July closure being nonsense. Usually, as others have indicated, the shore action for perch really slows down due to the higher water temps and only nominal quantities are taken.
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:14 AM   #22 (permalink)
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WW, you always make sense - all without triple posting and deleting the content of two posts.

"gravid" - I learned a new word today.

A thought I've always had on females with eggs (perch and eggs, again?): I'm not promoting yanking a bunch of females off the the happy spawning grounds, but--- keeping a big female in January that's almost filled with eggs or keeping it early April because when it's completely filled and about to spawn, or keeping it the prior September when it has no eggs, what really is the difference? It's a breeding machine that's not going to spawn the upcoming Apr/May spawning season, or ever again. Regardless of what month it's taken out of the lake and kept, it's GONE.

There's more perch out there than people realize. Some marvel how the perch hang out straight out of Northpoint, Waukegan, Wilmette, Evanston Diversey and 95th. Wow! How miraculous that they congregate straight out of each harbor/launch and we don't have to burn much gas to get to them some think. Connect all those dots and you'll find perch strung out most everywhere at that same depth as long as the forage and bottom conditions are favorable. Boaters don't travel far from the launch to explore because they hit the wall of perch quickly and don't have to go elsewhere. Elsewhere also has the perch...
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:09 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Here's my take on the egg issue. It's true that a harvested fish will obviously not reproduce ever again. At what point should one stop harvesting? The answer is depending on what regulations are in place(presently not applicable regarding spawning perch) and one's personal feelings. Most guys aren't bothered by the presence of eggs in perch taken from December through May.That's why they fish for them and harvest them. The point I'm trying to make is I think a perch should be left alone during the critical prespawn/spawning period because it could have turned into 10 additional adult perch in 4 or 5 years if it had the opportunity to drop her eggs instead of being converted into two fillets. Just let your conscience be the guide.

I don't believe perch are spread widely from 95th St. to Northpoint. They are attracted to certain areas for spawning because the depth, water temperatures, and bottom structures are adequate for egg development. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've never heard about boaters hitting pockets of perch other than the Northshore, the Navy Pier vicinity, and around 95th in the spring. Have you ever read any early season boating reports of perch caught off Montrose, Belmont, Diversey, Burnham, or 63rd? Boats launch from all these location. There's a lot of barren water out there. Once done spawning, they head inshore following food sources, whether it's alewives, gobies or crayfish. This is the time when I focus on them.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:19 PM   #24 (permalink)
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No they aren't everywhere, but are much more prevalent than people think. Most head out, mark fish, then proceed to fish. There are some very productive spots that are seldom fished because they are not close to the launch. Highland Park and Great Lakes are a couple that come to my mind. One of my favs is Wilmette/Evanston.

When commercial fishing was open, there was a reason the gill nets were strung literally from 95th clear to the WI border...
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:56 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Bigsaw wrote
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Wow ! There are more, there are less, they are bigger, they are smaller, closed in june ? Which is it? You might need to get your facts straight about the reason(s) their are dramatic shifts in perch (and most speices) size and numbers. They like most predators are ciclical in nature as to reproduction and growth. As far as food sources in the last 30 years it's pretty much the same with the exception of the gobies. But the gobies are a good food source for most larger predators. The two biggest dangers to lake Michigan and the other Great lakes are currently bighead carp infestation and quagga mussels. Do a google search. I'm sure you'll agree with me. In the meantime keep the big spawned out female fish and the big males in May and June and throw back the babies.
The topic of the post asks for "opinons". State yours in a civil manner and move on.

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WW, you always make sense - all without triple posting and deleting the content of two posts
Now was that shot necessary?

I'm telling you two and everyone else, this season this perch forum is NOT going to go like it did last season. I'll close the whole damned forum if that's what it takes, or give two multi-year subscribers lengthy times outs if necessary also. Both of you have good knowledge and skills, but neither of you have all the answers. Play nice or be gone.

Now back to the topic.
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Old 03-01-2010, 02:04 PM   #26 (permalink)
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WW,

Your mention of released perch dying from the bends just blew my mind, though I guess it could make sense.

Can you elaborate or point to any sources about fish getting the bends? Why have I never heard about this before?

Thanks,

Schnoodle
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Old 03-01-2010, 02:32 PM   #27 (permalink)
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When they are brought up from great depths, they don't adjust to the rapid pressure decrease. Their eyes pop out and you'll find their stomach/air bladder/innerds protruding out of their mouths. Survival rates are very low if released.

In this video, you'll see a popeyed perch of mine at the end. Fifteen seconds into the video, you'll see a boater releasing a perch with the bends to die.

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Old 03-01-2010, 06:02 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:17 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I just started perch fishing last year so I am new to it and enjoyed it. I had fished out of Burnham/Navy Pier, 95th st and in Ind. I only had problems with the bladders coming out in the 40-50ft of in Ind. The other places the water was 20 to 30 ft max where they were and nothing happened. I had seen on tv where they would take a needle and deflate the bladders and release the fish. Since I didnt have a needle I would take a sharp barbless hook and deflate the bladders in and slowly push back their bladders hoping that would help. Just wondering if that would of helped prolonging the life of the fish. Has anyone tried doing that at all?
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:21 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Video was fun, Ron - thanks.

Quick question - you ever anchor in LM while perch fishing or do you just use a drift sock?
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