Good People To Know or Not
Invasion of the White Perch

Harbor Angler Report, October 5th Photo

As a general rule, it is a good idea to get to know the workers and service people in the area, even so far as developing a personal relationship. I enjoy talking and laughing with the wait staff at the Cornerstone Pub, particularly over the winter when they have time to spend a moment catching up. The counter people at Baileys 57 are usually more than willing to talk about what's going on in town or maybe just the weather. Our local harbormaster, Mark, is always helpful and will provide a few fishing tips on occasion. And, of course, there are advantages to having a positive relationship with the local bartenders.

That said, there are people in certain professions that I just as soon would not get to know all that well. Proctologist comes to mind. And funeral director.  I don't mind seeing my dentist once or twice a year, but I sure don’t wish to spend so much time in the chair that we get to know each other’s family histories. I have met many of the Door County Sherriff’s Deputies over the years, but thankfully not often on official business.  Now, I am sure that each of these people are friendly and fun at a party, but I would tend to eschew interaction professionally.

That brings me to why I have not been fishing so much for the past several weeks. I have been spending way too much time with the service manager at the marine repair shop in Sister Bay and that's one guy you really do not want to get to know too well, jobwise. The Pamela Ann has been sitting forlornly in the repair yard and not in the water where she belongs. 

It all started back in July. My motor was running a bit rough. I had a week where I would not be able to get out on the water much, so I decided to have some maintenance done; a tune up and a new water pump impeller. Routine right? Well, as anyone who has ever done any work on an old house knows, things can get out of hand quickly. My 90HP Mercury is sixteen years old. Sixteen pretty active years, at that. When I got the boat back in the water and powered up, a startlingly loud warning came blaring out of the motor controls. This usually means overheating or oil supply problems. I immediately shut the motor down. After giving it time to cool down, I gingerly powered up and limped slowly back to the boat landing.  I hauled the rig back to the repair shop. A week later I picked it up, assured that everything was "fine". Next time out, and I again got the same irritating warning reverberation upon getting up to speed. Another visit to the repair shop, several phone calls, and about a grand worth of bills later and things are still not "fine". To say I am frustrated would be the epitome of understatement. I will be making yet another trek to see the marine service guy. Perhaps we can talk about the weather.

In between trips to the repair shop, I did get out on the bayside to apply some of the walleye catching knowledge I garnered from my outing with local guide Paul Delaney. I set up my trolling rods with inline weights and crawler harnesses as close as I could to how my guide had done it. I set up two bottom bouncers on the inboard rods. Good friend Eddie and I set out of Chaudiors Dock west of Namur for an afternoon of hunting marble eyes. We boated one walleye about nine inches long. We did have plenty of other action, however. We were plagued by diminutive white perch grabbing our crawlers. Most of them were so small that we had no indication they were on until we periodically checked the lines. We spent a lot of unproductive time dragging white perch with no chance of hooking into anything else, much less a walleye.

If you are not familiar with the white perch, you probably have not spent much time fishing lower Green Bay. This invasive is regularly caught by anglers targeting the native yellow perch. The white perch (Morone americana) was introduced into the Great Lakes through the Welland Canal in the Fifties. They are related to and are often confused with the native white bass (Morone chrysops) or yellow bass (Morone mississippiensis). White perch are most easily distinguished from their cousins by the lack of broken horizontal bars above and below the lateral line. They also tend to be smaller. There has been some discussion about allowing a commercial harvest of white perch in Green Bay, but there is also some concern about the PCB levels in the flesh. Although some anglers target white perch as a pan fish (the state record is over two pounds), most consider it a nuisance. We saw way too much of the white perch on this outing.

I have seen several anglers in the marina basin casting for "zombies" (aka 4-Year old Fall run Chinook salmon). I have seen a few swimming around and surfacing. I will go down there and do some zombie hunting myself. I don't need a boat for that.

The northern pike bite should be picking up in Sturgeon Bay and the lakeside bays. As soon as we get rid of all this wind (twelve-footers forecast on the lake), it would be a good idea to start targeting pike. I have caught some nice ones in previous years casting big Countdown Rapalas or Mepps bucktail spinners anyplace you can find some weeds in 10-20 FOW.  

One last note: I owe an apology to those of you who have sent messages to the Gmail address below, in particular Mike, Kristen and Jake. I got out of the habit of checking this account regularly and I failed to reply to their questions in a timely manner. I really appreciate any feedback you can provide and will do my best to answer any questions you might have. I resolve to check the mailbox regularly. Please test my resolve and send me a message.

Thanks and enjoy the fall fishing.


Tight Lines, Bruce

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