July 7, 2013

Allen Afield: Who fishes for perch? Well, most anybody should

By Ken Allen

(Continued from page 1)

White perch have catholic tastes and eat most anything that fits into their small mouths, but they key on insects, crustaceans and small baitfish.

Vic Dunaway, in his North American freshwater fish guidebook, calls them excellent as table fare, certainly close to or equal to walleye, and he suggests ultralight-spinning or fly-rod gear. In the latter category I prefer a 4-weight, 81/2-foot model for dead-drifting nymphs.

Now -- back to Duren. Here's a guy who grew up in the cradle of American fly fishing for trout, and he spent a May evening casting caddis emergers to white perch, which at the time he likened to trout because of the way they porpoised to his nymphs.

In addition to fun, the fish provided a delicious meal for Duren, his wife and two daughters.

That puts this fish in the category of having everything to recommend them to all groups of anglers -- from classic fly fishers to bait dunkers to hardware casters to trollers with bait and spinners.

Here's another point about white perch. The species ranges from North Carolina to Nova Scotia, but in Maine white perch lived close to the coast before settlers arrived from Europe and moved this species inland. Also, a persistent rumor claims that Native Americans moved them around in waters close to the coast before settlers arrived to spread the species inland.

In short, for centuries, lots of cultures appreciated the eating qualities of M. americanus, an American original.

Ken Allen, of Belgrade Lakes, a writer, editor and photographer, may be reached at:



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