This early in the year there are many shoreline opportunities in southern Ontario to intercept perch as they migrate towards their spawning grounds. Perch move into shallow-water after ice-out in preparation for spawning when water temperatures average 44-54F. They can migrate up canals and even tributaries of lakes. The smaller males move to the spawning grounds first followed by the females and males remain longer on the spawning grounds then the females.
Spawning takes place during the night & early morning normally near rooted vegetation, submerged brush or fallen trees, but at times over sand or gravel. Total number of eggs increases with the size of the female that can carry from 35,000 – over 100,000 for fish from 7-10″.
No nest is built for egg-laying. The transparent eggs when shed swell-up in a unique, transparent, gelatinous, accordian-folded string or tube. This mass of eggs that can be up to 7′ in length and 2-4″ wide and weigh up to 2 lb. can contain 2,000-90,000 eggs.
Good spots to find shoreline perch are:
-shallow bays with living or dead weeds
-marina basins with living or dead weeds under and around boat docks
-canal & tributaries that are connected to a main lake
Spring pre-spawn perch are actively feeding and can be caught on small live minnows, worms and a variety of small plastic grubs and minnow imitations. These can be fished on the bottom or with a float. The key is to locate schools of Perch.
Popular spring time locations to catch them are the Detroit & St. Lawrence river, the inlets, bays and boat harbours on all the Great Lakes and especially in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, Lake Simcoe’s & the Kawartha Lakes shallower shorelines and tributaries.