By Louie Stout

Hot Weather Turns on Lake Michigan Perch

Some may find the hot weather unbearable, but it’s been a Godsend for Lake Michigan perch anglers.

Perch fishing was outstanding last week with a lot of nice ones being caught.

Lake Michigan biologist Ben Dickinson said he’s seen quite a few 10 to 12 inchers caught with a few in the 14- to 15-inch size range.

Of course, quite a few smaller ones are being caught as well, but this has been one of the best perch fishing seasons the southern end of the lake has experienced in quite a few years.

It all occurred because Lake Michigan water temperatures were soaring, the fish were close to shore and there were light winds. That can all change with a big wind and weather change.

At mid-week, water temperature was 79 on top and 75 degrees 16 feet down. The thermocline – a band within the water column where temperature and oxygen levels drop – was around 35 to 40 feet deep.

“That squeezes the perch in that 15- to 30-depth band,” said Dickinson. “The best fishing has been in 15 to 20 feet of water, which isn’t far offshore.”

Good perch fishing was being reported from Burns Harbor, Ind. to South Haven, Mich.

Minnows have been the bait of choice, either drifting them near the bottom or by long-lining them on Lindy rigs.

Stream fishing for steelhead hasn’t fared as well. The hot weather put the brakes on any summer-run steelhead movement into the tributaries, Dickinson added.