Ask many anglers their favorite fish to eat and yellow perch are typically at the top of the list. The taste is like the perfect cross of bluegill and walleye, with just a hint of sweetness that lends itself beautifully to a light breading.
But it takes a very specific set of favorable conditions to grow perch of the preferred “jumbo” variety for table fare—like suitable spawning habitat and ample forage. Yet, find waters with the right conditions and the fishing can be stellar. Consider banner waters like North Dakota’s Devils Lake, which has been producing consistent year classes of fish in the 12- to 14-inch range, some even bigger. The reason? Great spawning habitat and loads of food in the form of copious brine shrimp.
In this video, Bemidji, Minnesota-based guide and biologist Paul Nelson talks more about what it takes to grow jumbo perch, shedding some light on where you should be fishing this fall and winter.