Friday, January 11, 2019

Another Winter Option: White Perch

Here's a white perch landed today on a
small homemade bucktail jig spiced with
a plastic curly tail. They are active in the
cold winter months.
I can't seem to find any holdover stripers, but in my travels I have been finding white perch. These fish, close relatives of the striper, inhabit many of our brackish waters where freshwater rivers dump into bays, tidal ponds and even the oceanfront. White perch roam around these brackish waters to feed in the winter.  They can be found anywhere from the freshwater sections of rivers and streams to the brackish areas, and I have even caught them in salt water. They remain one of our most active winter fish.
I've caught many white perch in some of the freshwater lakes around inland New England.  These are land locked fish which were either stocked or got trapped years ago when streams and rivers were dammed up. The freshwater white perch are considerably smaller than their relatives that inhabit brackish waters.  I've landed many over 2 lbs. in brackish waters while targeting holdover stripers.  Years ago, I landed one which would have been a state record had I officially weighed it.  Rather than kill it for the record, I released it.
These fish are aggressive even in the cold water.  They have small mouths so your need to go small with the artificials.  I was out this week and I landed a good number of them on small 1/8 oz. white bucktail jigs spiced with a small plastic curly tail on light tackle. Sometimes they will hit other fluke-like plastics or just curly tails mounted on jigheads.  Some will even hit small metal.  When I used to fish the rivers of the Cape for sea run brown trout, I often caught these perch on shrimp flies.
So, if you are looking to bend a rod in ice free water in the next few weeks, white perch are waiting in the brackish rivers of southern New England.  They are one more option for those cabin fevered anglers looking for winter action.