"The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope." John Buchan

Friday, August 19, 2011

August 18th Starv'in Perch Service Project

So we made plans this week to try to get out to Starvation.  Weather was looking reasonable for Thursday so we pressed go and headed out.  We in this case worked out to be Jason, Guy and myself.  This was Guy's first fishing trip on a float tube.

We headed out of the Salt Lake area at about 4am to be able to make the drive in time enough to be at rabbit gulch for a sun up launch.  For Jason and I being to the water at sun up has become something desirable vs dreadful.  Guy is more of the latter camp on this angle, but he was a good sport about it anyway.  Anyway we got to the launch site and got going on the setup. 

Jason was first on the water in his now leak free tube and he headed out toward the marker buoys to work along the rock structure.  Guy and I joined him shortly after that and got the show on the road.

Jason took care of the first fish for us which turned out to be an 'eatable' sized perch.  That got our hopes up a bit for aspirations of toad perch overflowing our baskets before the end of the day...  Guy and I, as we worked out toward the rocks, started to get some attention on our lines as well.  Felt mostly like smaller perch, but we were still in the shallow between the shore and the rocks under the buoys.  By the time we made it to the rocks both of us had caught a few perch.  Mostly dink sized perch, but a couple were big enough to land in the basket. 

We worked that area around the rocks for a few hours.  During that time Jason had manged a good sized small mouth bass and a grundle of dink perch.  Guy had caught a foot long walleye and a bunch of dink perch that got sent back to grow up.  I was also dealing with the starv'in dink perch that simply wanted a bite of the bait we tipped our jigs with.  Went through more worms today then most other trips because of them. 

As we moved over this area our finders were showing us a lot of weed like structure in the water that seemed to go from the floor up to just a few feet from the surface.  We were in about 15' of water where we were seeing this.  Mixed in these weeds were fish showing up on the finder, lots of them showing up on the finder.  It took us a while to figure out, or better said guess, that there were no weeds down there except on the bottom...  All of the mess showing up on our finders were the clouds of dinkster perch down there.  We also concluded that the larger fish icons on the finders that were keeping up hopeful either were full bellied larger fish already full of perch meat or a few smaller perch huddled together giving off bigger signals to the finders.  We could get large groups of the smaller perch, that looked to range from about 3" to about 6" to follow our jigs up in the water column enough that we could see them through the water.  Amazing how many perch must be down there.  Makes me hopeful for the seasons to come, both for large perch as well as for other larger fish that like to eat perch.

I find myself lacking when it comes to running a second pole at the same time when your working the perch.  Trying to watch both poles and be johnny on the spot to set a hook on two poles is trying at best for me.  So I simply setup the second pole and dropped the jigs down to just off the bottom without much expectation from that pole.  Then I focused on the other pole for working the area.  A couple times as I moved/drifted around I managed to snag up on the rocks and would have to work to get my jigs free.  Then as it looked like I had snagged up again on my 2nd pole I saw it take a couple hard tugs in the holder.  Quickly switching poles I worked to bring in my first small mouth bass of the day.  I ended up landing a few more in much the same way, having them hit a no-action jig sitting just off the bottom.  Very fun to fight those smallies on my little ultra light pole.

After a while of searching for more small mouth and feeding the future generations of perch I headed across the bay toward the rocky far side. Jason and Guy followed along.  The count of fish on the finders really dropped off when depths dropped down to 25"+ feet.  So other then a few mid strata marks the center of the channel didn't offer much.  As we got into the 20" range nearing the far side the masses of perch started to show up on the finders again.  Since these groups were about 5' deeper then the other side I got myself hopeful that might be bigger perch.  First fish I brought up in this area was an eater sized, though not a toad.  Promising anyway...  Dropped a marker buoy on the center of a large area of fish and started to work around it.  Jason setup shop a dozen yards to the side as he was marking similar amounts of fish.  We didn't find our toads in any concentration, even the eater sized were still sparse, but we did feed a lot of hungry youngsters as we worked the area.  I managed a walleye, but the area didn't really produce much to put in the baskets.

Guy had continued on past where we were toward the rocks along the far shore line.  He found dink perch in groups over there as well with very few sized enough to be worth putting in the basket.  He did finally find justification for the effort it took to kick across the bay when a fat 20" rainbow tested the stretch of his his line and took him for a spin in the tube.  Happily he brought the trout in and landed his top prize for the day.

It was getting close to 1pm at about this time and the wind was starting to pick up to we started our kick back across the water.  I think all of us had a fair smile on for the day.  Jason had the fullest basket with over a dozen fair to toad sized perch as well as a nice smallie.  Guy managed the biggest fish of the day with his 20" trout as well as put a couple walleye and perch in his basket.  I had a happy day with the smallies and while the trout eluded me both the perch and the walleye made a cameo appearance in my basket.  Nice when everyone has something to smile about.

Now if we can just put some size on those younger generations of perch!!!

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