Come February, and lasting through the last ice of April, the perch fishing just gets better and better. In the eastern U.P. there are three places, all close together, where the perch fishing can simply be the best.
Drummond Island is one of the biggies when it comes to perch fishing. When this water catches fire the perch are squirming on the ice.
Hard core perch anglers have probably heard of Potagannissing Bay, the huge bay that includes the protective islands and peninsula. But, telling you to head to Potagannissing Bay in order to catch perch would be like telling a deer hunter to simply head to the Superior watershed for the biggest deer. Both are a poke-and-hope proposition at best.
Check out Scott and Maxton Bay specifically for the best perch fishing grounds. Ice hangs here late in the season as the waters are well protected from wind and river currents by a number of outer islands and the main islands northwest peninsula.
In Maxton Bay first look for the perch in the shallows. Check out water in the four to seven foot range. Be prepared to move around in order to find the schools and be sure to look down into the hole. Under most conditions you'll be able to see bottom. The bottom you are looking for here is a sandy silt with some weed cover.
If the shallows don't produce look to deeper water. Just out from the Bayside Restaurant, Peck, Ashmun and Rutlege islands break the horizon. In between these islands are channels that can get as deep as 25 to 30 feet. When the perch aren't in the shallows this is the area they are more than likely to be.
In Scott Bay look for the water to be a bit more stained than that in Maxton. It is definitely not dirty but does have some color to it. Look for the eight to 12 foot depths here, and definitely look for the edges of the weed beds. Cabbage is much better than coontail or reeds. If you are lucky enough to find a weed bed that is edged by a rocky bottom you should have no trouble finding the perch.
Securing a perch dinner in the Les Cheneauxs is often a simple matter of getting to the water early and waiting for them to begin to feed. Some days you'll have your meal in the first hour, on others they seem to turn on later in the afternoon.
The dark bottom found around the marinas in Cedarville and Hessel is very soft, and where there is a soft dark bottom you are sure to find wigglers. You'll also find weeds. And, these weeds provide protection and food for the minnows. These clues should tell you that the top baits are wigglers or minnows.
For big perch, and were talking those above 13 inches, Munuscong is the place to drill your holes. Perchin on this shallow body of water is either hot or its cold-- there doesn't seem to be any in-between. You'll come home empty on some days and others your bucket will be filled by honest-to-God jumbos in short order.
Three main areas seem to be where the perch congregate. On Munuscongs north shore, Allards and Fowlers Bay are local favorites. On its western shore the waters adjacent to the state wildlife areas dike draws the in fish. And, to the south, the waters west of Dan's Resort are another good choice.
The water in front of Dan's Cabins and Resort provides the easiest access and some good choices in water. A finger of rock and gravel juts out in front of the resort and continues into the water for a few hundred yards. Perch seem to like it here just fine.
Upper Peninsula from the story
Others in the Upper Peninsula
Written by Dan Donarski, a professional outdoor and travel journalist, January 2010.