Some super perch fishing on Flathead Lake
By Hookemharry

Posted: May 2, 2002

Here is your “Pop Quiz” for the week:


A: How many 11-13 inch perch will fill one 48-quart cooler and a half of another 48 quart cooler?

B: How many five-gallon buckets full of perch does it take to fill a 48-quart cooler?

C: Finally, how much do the combined fillets weigh after cleaning all those perch?


The answers are at the bottom of this column.

These questions become important because that is how many perch my crew and I caught last Friday afternoon while fishing the east bay of Flathead Lake. just north of Polson.

My crew consisted of Duane Kechter, from Missoula, and Jim Hill and Jim Farrington, from Stevensville. After consulting with Flathead area expert Dick Zimmer of Zimmer Tackle in Pablo, we headed on to Blue Bay to launch my 20-foot Crestliner boat.

By the time we made the 12-mile trip by water back to the east bay of the lake, it was about 1p.m. Zimmer had given us some new creations of his to try out for our first perch fishing trip of the year.

Zimmer had told us that these were the set-up that he and Doug White had been having quite a bit of success with earlier in the week. The new combination from Zimmer worked very well from the time we set anchor and started fishing.

Zimmer describes it as a Flash n Glo-crystal flash, yellow utility jig. We tipped the Flash n Glo with part of a nightcrawler and fished in four feet of water.

The perch bite was so good that it took two and half hours into the fishing before any of us stopped for a sandwich and something to drink. At one point, our self-appointed perch expert, Farrington, challenged all of us to se how fast we could fill a five gallon bucket with perch. It took us about 45 minutes. Farrington, who is at least a 30 year perch veteran, was quite impressed.

By the time 4:45 rolled around, we decided to call it a day and head for home. Farrington and Hill must have been delirious after catching all those perch because they both volunteered to clean them the next morning.

This came as a pleasant surprise to both Hechter and me even though we both had plans for Saturday morning — Hechter had the Kawanis Pancake Breakfast and I had to do my statewide radio show.

The fishing was so good that I made it back up to Flathead last Sunday with Doug Stewart and Ken Ault from Missoula for some more perch fishing. The action wasn’t quite as good, but we still managed to fill a five-gallon bucket with perch.

On Sunday, the wind picked up and the bay was a little more muddy than on Friday. We found that by taking off the bobber and fishing on the bottom, we had better luck in the windier conditions.

Zimmer thinks the perch bite on the lake will last a while so have some fun and go fishing. To find out where Zimmer’s new perch set-up is available, call him at 406-675-0068.

BROWNS LAKE — I headed up to check out the fishing at Browns Lake last Saturday. I talked to Bob Culp, who was fishing, and he said the action was pretty good. Culp was trolling for trout and they caught their limit even though he had to interrupt his fishing twice to tow in two boats who experienced motor problems.

There were quite a few anglers fishing both by boat, float tube and on shore. All seemed to catch some of the good tasting trout that Browns Lake has to offer.

TOUGH GUY — It was tough catching over at Fort Peck during the annual Tough Guy walleye tourney held last Saturday. The tournament, which is held out of Hell Creek Marina, saw 72 two-person teams of anglers catch only five walleyes for the day.

Pop Quiz Answers:

A: 200; B: 2; C: 25 pounds.