Wow! It’s been a while, so much for fishing all the time after I retire. I don’t think that I have made a post since the Lake Washington coho fishery in September. Before I get on with the report please oblige me in sharing a thought or two.
As a fisherman and somebody that loves to talk fishing I tend to provide more information than necessary when posting a fishing report. I am not one to feel that I own a fishery or a productive technique. Since joining NWFR I have tried to share as much information as possible for a given fishery. In some way I feel that it is my responsibility to be detailed in what I share and I do realize that there is a disconnected wire in my head that leads me in that direction. Whether I am writing or standing around the boat ramp flapping my jaw, I take the time to help my fellow angler be effective in their pursuit of a given fishery. Now all that said I do understand that in certain fisheries 2 is a crowd. I intentionally do try to be a little vague when it comes to river fisheries while still helping people catch fish. Apparently, there have been a number of people upset that I share detailed fisheries information.
Specifically, regarding my September Lake Washington Coho report. As I understand it there were a number of people that felt that I blew up the fishery with my report. In the aftermath I ended up losing a fishing buddy and threats were made against my rig if found at a boat ramp. While the threats were second or even third hand the overall response concerned me.
Should I not share information? If I do, am I going to find the tires slashed on my rig when I return from the days fishing? Or worse alienate the people that I enjoy fishing with? I do not know the answer but I apologize that the information I provide is perceived as blowing up a given fishery. I might offer though that the problem is not in what I provide or the paid efforts of a published outdoor writer; rather reduced angler opportunity resultant from short seasons and emergency closures. Instead of beating up your fellow angler, get involved. Join CCA, attend the WDFW council meetings or public forum meetings, support petition drives and have a voice in our recreational fisheries. Ok, thoughts shared I step down from my soapbox.
After driving 60 miles through a monsoon I met Downriggeral and his son Jim at the WDFW launch in Kenmore. I had previously offered to explore the Lake Washington perch fishery with them, sharing a bit of my local knowledge while providing the makings for a Downriggeral family fish-fry. After launching we pointed the boat west out of the “slough” and cautiously motored through the shallows into Lake Washington. Currently the shoaling is significant and there are a few trees in the marked channel, please use caution. Between the rain and fogged up boat windows, after leaving the slough we just idled down the lake and began our search for Perca Flavescens or Yellow Perch. In Lake Washington Yellow Perch are considered an invasive species. Although nobody really knows the exact number of perch in Lake Washington, Yellow Perch are the largest biomass in the lake. For their age the Yellow Perch in Lake Washington are relatively small. Between the size and sheer numbers the Yellow Perch in Lake Washington are un-managed and there is no daily angling limit.
My usual approach when perch fishing it to meter around and mark “scratches” on the meter. A scratch could be a handful of fish or the mother-load perch-a-polusa. After establishing the perch map for the day I start picking away at the different meter marks until the boat finds a willing school of biters.
My general technique is to butterfly rig a small dart type jig including a dropshot hook approximately one foot above the jig. Tip the hooks with either a small piece of worm or a small piece of the sacrificial perch and lower the rig to the bottom. During the winter perch fishery, the fish are not very aggressive. They do not want to chase their meal. I find that after letting your jig settle on the bottom you should lift your rod tip ever so slightly creating a very slight bend in your rod then just hold your rod still. The bite will be subtle and when you do feel the bite just lift your rod until the fish is hooked. If you swing you will miss the bite every time.
It took me ½ the day to locate the fish but once we did it was hammer time. In the end we put 82 nice perch in the live well and released a number of smaller fish. As the skipper it was a bit rewarding. In looking at my “ perch map I had noted a small mark that we had gone back to and set the anchor on. In short order an occasional fish here and there became a perch-fest where doubles were the norm.
All in all a great day on the water with friends and a bucket full of perch!