Paul Lord from Canadian Sportfishing reports on the Orillia Perch Festival:
April 24th, 2009
I had the opportunity to fish with my son Jeremy out of Orillia this past weekend. In the morning when we launched our boat we were facing some fairly stiff, cool breezes coming in off of Lake Simcoe. In the afternoon the weather did improve however the winds remained strong. We saw many other anglers who were prepared to face the elements for a chance to win $500.00 to $5,000.00 by catching some of the tagged perch. Our first fishing location was approximately ¼ mile out from The Blue Beacon, Marina on Lake Simcoe. Several boats were in the general vicinity. No fish were seen caught and after a short while we headed into Atherly Narrows between Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. We positioned our boat just outside one of the many boat slip locations in the area. Using modified â€œpickerel rigsâ€ (I substituted small Gamakatsu hooks, and fluorocarbon line on the rigs), we caught good quantities of perch, mostly in the smaller size throughout the day. Small minnows, alive or dead seemed to be the preference for most anglers. My son and I entered the daily live-release draw, by submitting two fish to the festival headquarters daily. Note: Fish being entered into the live release draw must not be on a stringer as stated in the Perch Festival rules and regulations!
p.s. We also briefly checked out a canal on Lake Couchiching that I expected would hold some Crappie. One crappie was caught at this location. Due to the fishing being slow in this area we didnâ€™t stay long. Water temperature was 42 degrees.
April 25th, 2009
On day two we headed back to our same location. The fishing action was not quite as good as day one. We continued to use small minnows on â€œpickerel rigsâ€. We added a Booster Tail, with all game scent directly onto a small hook and tipped it with a minnow as well. This produced results with and without a minnow at various times throughout the day. In addition we used a small balsa slip-float combination with a live minnow. The majority of bites came when the float was cast towards the shore in 4-5 feet of water, over fresh green weed growth. In the late afternoon the weather conditions changed quickly with the on set of a severe storm. We had a very challenging, long run back to the boat launch as the storm blew in with heavy winds and rain. I cleaned several perch and we enjoyed them at dinner time (the perch were cooked quickly and easily in the microwave that was included in our room at The Comfort Inn, Orillia, ON)
April 26th, 2009
This was our last fishing day. We awoke to cold wet weather. We were not prepared for rain as the original long range forecast we looked at for the weekend was calling for warm weather and sunshine. As a result we decided not to put our boat in on the last day. We arranged permission to fish from one of the local marinaâ€™s located in the narrows. Several perch were caught, again using â€œpickerel rigsâ€ and minnows. We also had very good success with white micro plastics, rigged underneath a small balsa slip-bobber. All our reels were spooled with 4 lb test.
Other anglers we spoke with were reporting some significant catches of jumbo perch within Atherly Narrows as well as out in 15ft of water in Lake Couchiching.