Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Fish That Likes to Kill

Noah and I went looking for big semi-anadromous white perch again yesterday. We were once again wildly unsuccessful at finding our target. Usually by this time of year the places we have looked should be just packed full of them, but all we caught were yellow perch.

Yes I was fishing a hair jig with a fly rod. Suck it up. 

Eventually we decided to give up entirely on the hope of getting these white perch. We weren't done fishing though, far from it. We just moved water bodies and changed target species. We traded tidal water for landlocked water and temperate bass for black bass and pickerel. As it turned out that was the best decision we made all day. It turned out that many of the predator fish were in the shallow weedy water and they were hungry! Especially the snot rockets, which are honestly one of the most fun freshwater fish to catch on fly. Especially topwater bass bugs! These fish really seem to enjoy killing stuff. They hit flies so violently and aggressively its just crazy. The conditions were cloudy with light wind, warm water in the shallow muddy flats and weeds just starting to reach the surface. This makes for the best non-weedless topwater fly pickerel and bass fishing you can possibly have in the spring. The fish were often in less than a foot of water and the takes were extremely visual, even more so than usual. The fish would come flying over to the bug making a big wake, often from ten or more feet away. Pickerel are built like missiles and hit a fly like they really mean it harm. I was using foam "Ploppers" and getting strikes pretty much constantly from very shortly after we got on the water until we left.

Catching a few chain pickerel here and there on topwater is awesome and makes for a good day of fishing. Yesterday I was catching them all over the place constantly. Easily the most I've ever caught in one outing. It truly was incredible. There were pickerel seemingly everywhere, with murder in their eyes and teeth ready to tear through foam and leader. I lost only one fly but had to cut and retie about ten times. Mixed in were a few chunky pre-spawn largemouth, a nice black crappie, and a couple of bluegills. Fun, fun, and more fun!

You may be thinking "We've all seen chain pickerel photos before. Why did you take photos of every single one?". That's just it, I didn't! I caught so many pickerel and bass that the sum of photos of every few fish and most of the larger fish ended up being quite substantial. Not only that, I haven't included five fish that were on the smaller side or the photos didn't turn out well. So yeah, you still get a pretty stupid number of run of the mill snot rocket photos, but that just goes to show how fast paced and productive the fishing was.

Right now there is a crazy amount of fishing options to look at. I've had a pretty incredible spring on the Salmon River, and I know how boring constant posts about stocked trout can get. So for a while I'm going to pull away from that and focus on some more natural fisheries. My home river is going to be really productive here in the next week, and I've got to put in some hours looking for early nigh times stripers, so there is plenty of good stuff coming up. Even the possibility of some bowfin. So stay tuned.


  1. Huuug, the Chain Pickerel, my favorite fish. I sure would have enjoyed this trip. Thanks for the excitement!!
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

    1. They are fun to catch, not fun to handle though.