Portly yellow perch fuel our hardwater dreams. But fish pushing two pounds are as real as you and me. Catching these beauties can be a matter of location and luck, but not for savvy anglers practiced in the art of finding and catching the biggest, baddest deep perch.
Sometimes we need to look for jumbos roaming the abyss. While shallow vegetation and structure yield jumbos under the right conditions, deep water with ample baitfish more often houses schools of giants. Just ask a High Plains iceman, Guide Jason Mitchell. He routinely plays the deep game on his home waters of Devils Lake, North Dakota, and in other fisheries across the Ice Belt.
“From first ice to late winter, you can always find perch deep on Devils,” he says. “There are so many bug hatches, plus various species of minnows that we catch them in depths of 50 feet or more, including incredible schools that can be 10 to 15 feet thick. Big fish are in that mix, too. In recent winters, we’ve caught perch over 2 pounds.”