Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Quest for Master Class Perch

So I have been working on the Vermont Master Angler Program now since its inception in 2010. It is a great program designed to showcase the variety of fishes available to anglers in Vermont. I have been working on getting as many species as I can from the list- all on the fly too. Up until yesterday I had 20 species out of the 33 in the program (I will give a complete listing at the end of this post). It is now 21 as of yesterday with the species I have put the most time into getting- the yellow perch.

I have been on a quest for a Master Class yellow perch for 3 years now. A 13" perch on the fly is not something that comes easily. Yes, it does happen, but not with regularity. I have been all over the state looking for these fish. I have caught thousands (yes, I mean thousands) of yellow perch in that time period. I have been on small ponds, I have been on Lake Champlain, I have been all over the place. I have talked to so many people about where to do this. I have put an extraordinary amount of time into fishing for these fish. I do enjoy it- they are not the best fighters but they are a pretty sweet looking fish with that lemon yellow broken up by olive, angular bars with hot red/orange fins.

I wish I had a good story about the fish. Honestly, I don't. It was the second trip to this pond. The first time was on Tuesday. I had a couple nice fish on and I blew it with both of them. Yesterday was different. I was tossing a size 4 olive and white Clouser Deep Minnow. The first fish was 13". I only got one picture because as I was getting ready to set up the self timer the fish spined me and it went over the side inadvertently. No crazy story. 

The cool part of the story is that I didn't get a perch under 11 inches yesterday. In the past if a fish was close to 11 inches I got super excited. the 11 inchers almost got annoying because I wanted a bigger one. All the fish I got were males. How do I know? Well, let's just say that it is in the middle of their spawn and each one of them was a milt squirt gun when I held it... (yea, I was covered- it was gross).

21 species in the Master Angler Program. I want to get to 25 by the end of the year. I have plans... stay tuned...

Here is the list so far-

Chain Pickerel
White Sucker
Lake Trout
Brown Trout
Brook Trout
Landlocked Salmon
Longnose Gar
Rock Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Largemouth Bass
White Perch
Freshwater Drum
Yellow Perch


  1. Nice. I've only got a maybe eleven incher. Always a surprise when I get them on the fly.

  2. Awesome! Perch may not fight that great but the initial hit is pretty hard. Cool fish.

  3. Very Nice!

    We have a lake once reknown for honest 14-16" perch, Cascade Res. in Valley County Id., you can look it up. I've seen them, not caught them. That fishery declined. Blame was put on the native pikeminnow and they were poisened on spawning runs, along, my son found, with lake run 20" rainbows. This was concurrent with a surprising rise of smallmouths in size and abundance. So who is to blame? Anyway, good on you for your quest! Nice species review! Which fish was the hardest to simply catch?