One of the best ways to enjoy the magnificent fall colors in the Flathead Valley is to look up from a red and white bobber while casting for yellow perch.
The two best times to catch perch are pre-spawn in early spring and during Indian summer in the fall.
Spring perch fishing can be chancy due to seasonal rains and winds generated by cold fronts.
Fall perch fishing is generally more dependable. It begins with the major league baseball playoffs and ends with the World Series.
So far this fall, even though the perch have been biting, winds and below seasonal temperatures have cooled my enthusiasm for perch fishing.
But this week’s forecast looks pretty good for spending an enjoyable afternoon catching tasty yellow perch.
Fall perch are shallow, often in water less than 5 feet deep. Look for them along edges of beds of lily pads and patches of reeds.
Clip a one-inch diameter plastic bobber onto your line so a tiny jig or hook rests about a foot above the bottom of the lake.
Sweeten the hook with a piece of worm less than one inch long.
Cast close to the weeds and let the bait sink. After a minute or so, drag the bobber towards you about 4 feet, then let the bait sink again.
Repeat until a fish grabs the bait, stopping the bobber.
Don’t forget to look up at the snow-capped mountains, yellow aspens and those geese V’s heading south.
Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.