Call it a “sleeper” destination, what’s perhaps the finest BIG perch fishing west of Devils Lake, ND. The definition of “big”? Fish well into the 2-pound class!
Idaho angler Rick Thurston has been fishing Cascade for nearly four decades and has watched the reservoir become the giant perch fishery it is today. His program for catching the sag-bellied freaks?
Simple live-bait rigs fished over sand.
“I’m typically using an Aberdeen-style hook, a couple No. 7 split shots and half to whole nightcrawlers. Cast out the live-bait rig, let it sink to the bottom and slowly reel in over the sand. There’s not a lot of rock. There’s one little spot they call Crown Point and that’s the rockiest place on the whole lake and it only runs for 3/4 mile and holds the deepest 35 feet of water. You’ll find a lot of guys there mid-summer, but it doesn’t typically hold the 2-pound perch I’m after.”
Instead, he cruises Cascade with his electronics until he finds a school of perch, which he says will often stay close to an area for the entire summer into fall. “If you catch little fish, move on and that can mean as little as 50 yards to find bigger fish. And once you find them, they’ll be there all day long. We can catch up to a 100 out of the same spot, the average size between 12-14 inches.”
Thurston says the perch fishing today is twice as good in 2014 as it’s ever been in his entire career on the 18-mile long reservoir. “Years ago the lake got real warm and the perch and trout died off and the DNR went to Oregon and got perch out of a lake over there—what I believe to be a larger strain. Before that, if you got a perch that was 11 inches, that was pretty special. Now they’re giants. Hook one in the summer time and can’t really tell if it’s a perch or a smallmouth bass until you get a good look at it.”
Plus, the action continues well into the winter as safe ice forms!
Interested in fishing Idaho’s Cascade Reservoir? Contact the folks at Tom’s Tackle for more information.
Here is some more exciting underwater Western perch fishing from Devil’s Lake.