What a great day we had fishing for the beasties of Umbagog Lake. We could not have asked for a nicer fall day than what we got. We hit the water at 7 am and almost immediately began catching Yellow Perch. While the Yellow Perch is not a much sought after fish here in the Great North Woods of NH, it is a great fish to go after if you are just out looking for a fun time fishing, and let me tell you we had a lot of fun catching this little fish. They were aggressive when hitting our baits and put up a heck of a fight which was only enhanced with the use of the ultralight rods that we were using.
Yellow perch are a schooling fish and can be located in relatively shallow, weedy water. They spawn in April or early May in sheltered coves and backwaters. These fish feed mainly on small aquatic insects, crustaceans and small fishes. The NH State record for Yellow Perch is 15.5″ and weighed 2 lb 6 oz. It was caught at Head’s Pond in Hooksett way back in 1969.
While the Perch we were catching didn’t come close to that weight they made up for their lack of weight with their sheer numbers. We could sit in one section of water for an hour and catch Perch after Perch which was a pretty special thing since all three of us could stay within talking distance allowing us to joke around. Yeah, we don’t take fishing too seriously as it’s our belief that fishing should be fun.
When the Perch bites slowed we knew that there was something bigger around as Perch are a food source for Large Bass, Pickerel, Pike and other larger predatory fish. Sure enough whenever the Perch stopped biting, one of us hauled in a large Pickerel.
If you are fishing for Pickerel one item that will become very important to you as it has with me is the 3″ fine wire leader. Why will this little piece of equipment become valuable? Because Pickerel have teeth that will easily cut through your fishing line. When a Pickerel attacks your bait they will usually hit it head on and that means that they will usually get a bit of your line in their mouths. I can’t tell you how many nice pickerel I used to lose because I didn’t have this one piece of equipment.
The NH state record for Chain Pickerel is 26″ long and weighs 8 lbs caught out of Plummer Lake in Sanborton back in 1966. The reason they are called CHAIN Pickerel is because of the chain link pattern prominently seen on this beautiful fish.
The Chain Pickerel is a carnivore whose diet includes Shiners, Minnows, Yellow Perch and Sunfish. They will frequent shallow water with a mud bottom and an abundance of aquatic vegetation. Pickerel like to hide in weeds waiting for a meal to swim by. This is the hint that gave away when a Pickerel was in the area. The Perch would stop biting because they were worried about the guy higher in the food chain.
Anyone who has been reading my blog knows that the bait we like best is old faithful. The 1.5 to 3″ white twirl tail grub, but on this day we discovered that red was the color of the day.
I was using two types of baits to try and catch these feisty Pickerel. On my general fishing rod I tied on a Strike King Shim-e-stik in Sweet Tater Pie flavor and on my Ultralight rod I was using a 1″ red and white micro tube.
If you have read my blog before today you will know that I usually take two rods with me when I fish. Let me suggest that you do the same. Take one general 6′ 5″ medium action rod with a reel loaded with 6 lb test line and one 5′ light action ultralight rod with a reel loaded with 2 lb to 4 lb test line. Now, you don’t need to go crazy like you see on all the fishing shows. We are amateurs and as such we do not need to own twelve rods just so that we can save a little time on changing baits and as an amateur you certainly do not have to listen to my suggestion to go buy another rod and reel because your general everyday rod/reel combo with 6 lb test line will work fine, but if you want a little extra excitement in the fish you catch then I would suggest you invest in an Ultralight rod and reel.
Want your day of fishing to be as special as the ones I always have? Take a fishing partner that you enjoy being around and want to make memories with. A fishing partner who loves to fish without requirements of size and weight and will make the day better simply by sharing the day with you. As always bring a camera to make those memories permanent. Good Company + Good Fishing = Great Memories.
Tight lines, the Amateur Angler