We did fairly decent on Perch Sunday. Didn't anchor, just drifted......dragging sabki rigs.
I am all for blaming commercial fishing, but I really don't think that is the driving factor. It certainly does not help. The forage base in the lake is changing, mostly because of fo the walleye boom (my opinion). I think the walleye have put a hurting on the last couple year classes of perch. Most of what we got on Sunday were well over 12-14 inches.
Back when you used to have the "perch pack", I think it worked like a dinner bell for the perch. It made the school up becasue of the abundance of bait people had down. The days of 100+ boats in a circle are long gone. It is more like an interstate these days. Everyone is trolling (or casting).
My advise if you want to try the perch fishing.....keep a bait in the water at all times. Once the bait is gone from the bottom, the fish move and move quick.
My thoughts are they will school up in late September or October. That is the trend of the last couple of years. Once the walleye migration is reversing and heading west, they will school up and hunt the bait.
Couple things I notice.
1) Most of the perch I cut open had no minnows in their bellies. Most of them did have fragments of zebra mussels or were completely empty.
2) The big schools are not there. However, they seem spread out and still in pretty predictable areas.
3) They don't seem to be chasing bait. As it is, the huge balls of bait are non-existent. We used to see bait balls 10 foot thick, now you are lucky to see the bait balls at all.
4) They don't seem to be around other game fish like sheepshead, walleye, white bass or even white perch. If you were catching other game fish, you weren't catching perch.
5) Lack of emerald shiners. Even the bait shops rarely have them in stock. It is all rosy reds and some other type.
6) The traditional perch grounds are filled with Walleye now. People still try to sit in 55 FOW and perch fish. This isn't productive. You have 500 boats trolling every direction pulling lures and making noise. Move into 30 FOW, or out to 70 FOW and you will find a steady pick. You have to get away from the traffic.