By Louie Stout

Lake Michigan Perch Anglers Need to Adjust Approach

Last year’s southern Lake Michigan perch fishery had a lot of guys scratching their heads. The fish would show up one day, then gone the next.

Well, Hoosier biologists Brian Breidert and Ben Dickinson may have an explanation and a possible solution.

“The fishery has changed,” said Breidert, “and fishermen have to change with it.”

He believes anglers who are accustomed to catching yellow perch in the same areas year after year might want to fish deeper, and more importantly, pay very closer attention to the water temperature.

Before we get into that, anglers should be reminded that the perch population is a fragile thing.

We had good year classes in 2003 and 2005. Those fish provided some good fishing a few years ago, but things slowed down. The bigger fish got hammered pretty good and subsequent year classes weren’t so hot. The quality perch population dwindled.

However, 2015 produced a bonanza perch hatch and those fish survived the winter of 2015-16 quite well. If you perch fished much last year, you caught a lot of four inchers. Those were the 2015 class.

Dickinson, who spent a lot of his free time perch fishing, saw it, too.

by Louie Stout

You could say that Danny and Terry Moran of Osceola go nuts over fishing.

Or perhaps it’s the “nuts” that drive them to fishing success.

The two retirees have found a cool way to save money on livebait. They collect nuts. Not just any nuts, but acorns and small hickories.

And they use them to catch bluegills. Not the nuts, but the tiny worms inside them.

They discovered years ago from an ol’ uncle that tiny grubs thrive inside those nuts and they make great fishing baits, especially when panfish are looking for bitty morsels, such as during the ice fishing season.

“They also work well in the early spring when the bluegills are up around the lily pads,” said Danny.

By Louie Stout

Ledet’s Shoes Will Be Tough to Fill

Another Indiana DNR veteran is calling it quits and this one is going to be missed dearly in Michiana.

Neil Ledet (pronounced La-DAY), a name you’ve seen frequently in this column, is trading his green state issued uniform for camo hunting garb and a fishing hat.

The 64-year-old district 2 fish biologist retires at the end of 2016.

Although his jurisdiction covers most of northeastern Indiana where he managed several natural lakes, he has played a critical role in the nurturing of several fish-related projects on the St. Joseph River.

The next time you catch a walleye or trout and salmon from the St. Joseph River, know that Ledet was one of the key DNR people who helped make it possible.

By Louie Stout

Ice anglers are getting their wish - frozen water before the holidays.

After last year’s abbreviated season, the hard-water dunkers have been champing at the bit, which was quite evident during Clear H2o Tackle’s recent Open House for ice anglers.

Remember when ice tackle was simple and you could carry it all in a five-gallon bucket?

That’s not the case now, as winter fishing has gotten about as high tech as it is for open-water anglers.

Of course, you can still sit on a bucket, hold clunky $5 ice rods and stare into holes without any knowledge of fish being nearby. That method still produces a fair share of fish, but modern-day equipment will get you around more fish and make you a more efficient ice angler.

For example, today’s ice anglers are arming themselves with software-driven electronics, underwater cameras, specialized rods, reels and lures and utilizing them within the comfort of heat-retaining portable shanties.