Perch bite is on at Flathead

Perch bite is on for anglers at Flathead Lake!

The names “Jum” and “Mag” were thrown around the boats I was fishing in last weekend. When a fellow fisherperson yells out one of those two names after hooking a fish it means one thing. That he or she has caught an extra large perch.

The two names are short for Jumbo and Magnum. As you might imagine, there was quite a bit of name calling on Flathead Lake this past weekend because the perch bite in East Polson Bay is well underway.

Flathead has great numbers of perch and that may be one of the reasons why the Lake Superior Whitefish and Lake Trout populations have been able to explode in the past few years in the lake.

Perch are a popular food source for lake trout and whitefish so when there are a lot of perch it simply means the lake can support more fish.

The perch head to east Polson Bay on Flathead to spawn in the weeds and the fisherman head by the boat-full to take advantage of an aggressive bite that produces a lot of activity and fun for all anglers involved.

The fishing technique is rather simple with many anglers using a Zimmer Tackle perch set-up that includes two green, chartreuse, or pink flies that are tipped with a piece of nightcrawler.

Of course, some other anglers have their own methods that work just as well.

Some use a bobber to help indicate a bite and others go bobberless and catch fish too!

The key is to be in the right depth. This past weekend, we fished in 4 feet of water with the temperature at around 50 degrees.

For some veteran perch fishermen, the action was slower than it had been the weekend before, but I thought it was just fine as on Saturday. Three of us ended up keeping around 50 perch in the 10-plus-inch class on Saturday and then on Sunday, five of us fished for about five hour and we ended up with 80 perch for our efforts.

How long will the perch bite continue? Some anglers think it is on the down side now that it appears that they are all spawned out. Some other anglers think it still has a couple of weeks left. In fact, some of the fish we cleaned still had their eggs, which may mean that spawn is not quite through.

I called Rusty Well, from Snappys in Kalispell, to find out about the kokanee salmon bite on Bitterroot Lake, which is located west of Kalispell.

“I have not heard much yet but that bite should start fairly soon,” said Well. He did say that MacGregor Lake is producing some nice rainbows and that the grayling are doing well on Rogers Lake. Anglers are using small black spinners or small black flies and fishing in less than two feet of water. For updates on Bitterroot Lake or any other lake in the Thompson Chain call 257-7525.

Montana Trout is holding a benefit Buffet and Auction on Thursday May 10th from 6-9pm. The event will be held at the University Center 3rd Floor South Meeting Rooms at the U of M. Contact John Zelazny at 542-7445 or log onto www.montanatrout.org Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.