Iowa’s Spirit Lake setting perch record
SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa – September is only half over and anglers are already catching a record number of yellow perch from Big Spirit Lake. The Dickinson County lake has seen more than 41,000 yellow perch harvested from its waters in September alone.
This is the best yellow perch fishing since record keeping began in 1956.
“Something special is happening at Spirit Lake,” said Mike Hawkins, district fisheries management biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “This is the most perch ever in Spirit Lake, and we are on track to break the annual harvest record. Spirit Lake is in its heyday.”
The technique is fairly basic. Use a vertical jigging lure and tip it with a wiggler or wax worm. Anglers have been harvesting 8 to 9-inch perch, but lately, the average size has been increasing. Because of the sheer number of perch, growth is slower than in some other years.
“Most anglers are fishing in the traditional spots. You don’t have to guess where they are, just look for the flotilla of boats. Fish around the edges then search for similar habitat in other areas of the lake. The fish are schooling up, but they are literally everywhere,” Hawkins said. “If you don’t have a boat, fishing is going to be good through the ice, too.”
Factor in the near perfect fall weather and spending a weekend on the water is an inviting proposition.
“This is the fishing trip you take the kids on because it’s fun and there is lots of action,” Hawkins said.
With the excellent perch fishing currently underway, Hawkins said other species are just becoming more active. As the water temperature drops, walleye, white bass and smallmouth bass become aggressive feeders heading in to the winter.