These species are usually open year round, allowing us to get outside, put the boat in for the firsttime,and get our hooks set on these fun-catching pan fish. Crappie and Perch fishing is a great way to introduce young anglers to the sport. They are easy to find this time of year, fun to catch and good to eat. Both species are readily available in most central Ontario waters. The Kawartha Lakes offer great crappie fishing, and you can find some of the best jumbo
perch fishing right here in Lake Simcoe. When the water starts to warm you can find the crappie up in shallow bays holding near cover such as trees, brush, and weeds. Perch will also start coming up shallow when the water starts to warm between 42-48 Fahrenheit. Perch travel in schools, so move around to look for the bigger fish schools if you're only catching small ones. You don't need a lot of experience to angle these fish, so get the family out and have fun fishing.
Gear Down for Some Fun
The tackle used for this type of fishing is generally the same for both Crappie and Perch. For rods I would suggest getting a nice small rod, between 4.6"ft to 6ft in length in a light to medium action spinning rod. I like to use 4lb fluorocarbon line for it's no stretch capability which gives you the ultimate in sensitivity, and it's virtually invisible under water. Match this up with a smaller sized spinning reel and you're ready to go. You also don't need a lot for lures. I have a small tray for all of my lures, and everything is down sized for these smaller fish. Small tubs, curly tail grubs, road runners, mini creature baits and some special drop shot baits are equally suitable. You don't need to go crazy on different colors, keep it simple. I usually only have 3 to 4 colours in different variations. White's, Chartreuse (Bright Yellow) and Orange. Below is a picture of the lures I used during a day of fishing for Perch on Lake Simcoe.
Techniques for Success
Using soft plastic lures like tubes, grubs, and creature baits, I simply slide them on a standard jig head 1/16oz - 1/8oz in the 3 colors I described before. Cast them out, let them hit bottom and slowly retrieve it back with subtle twitches along the way. Some other favourite techniques I use is called drop shot.I use this also while bass fishing. This practice means the weight is rigged on the bottom with a hook attached directly on the line between 6"-24" above the weight. This gives a different look to the fish and resembles suspended bait.Search online for "Drop Shot Techniques" to see more details on how this is done. For the kids fishing for these fish, it's simple.Use the reliable Bobber and hook tipped with a small shiner 2" or less, a worm, or you can also use the baits I just described above if you don't want to use live bait. These fish tend to stay on the bottom, or just off the bottom, so make sure you're in that zone and you will have lots of fun catching them.
Every year Orillia hosts the famous Perch Festival and is open to anybody. This is a great family outing and a great chance to win some great prizes while you're at it. For all the info on the perch festival please click this link. http://www.orillia.com/index.php?id=22 Get outdoors, enjoy this time of year and get some "Hook Sets" on some panfish.
Cheers. Andre Carriere