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Specimen hunting for Perch

  • Published: Friday, 17 June 2016 08:02
  • Written by Matthew G. Hauge
  • Hits: 906

P6181681Perch grow very slowly, and with there being so many lakes and ponds in the area compared to anglers they do get a chance to grow bigger here than many other places. Specially compared to the US. I have constantly been getting feedback on my photos posted on the net about how large our average size perch are. While this actually isn't the truth if you count all ponds and lakes combined, it is for some of the less fished waters. Our large perch, and the fairly good chance of catching a whopper sized one attracted Ted to come and spend a week end fishing in our waters. 

 

 

P6181690Härjedalen being quite sparsely populated has a small airport. With the valleys only city, Sveg with it's roughly 2500 inhabitants there isn't need for more than small planes that take about a dozen passengers. The plane arrives two times a day, and the airport closes for three weeks during the summer. Most of the passengers are locals commuting to their jobs in the Stockholm area, though some few are tourists. Ted's plane was the evening flight, and landed at 20:15 I had come to meet him as he was not familiar with the place, and was going to stay at our home. We live in the outskirts of town, only a few hundred yards from the airport. I was a little worried that I might not be able to pick him out from the other passengers as we had never met before, and photo's are not always the most reliable. 
P6191704Surprisingly I recognized him immediately. Not due to previously seen photo's, but because he was the only person there that seemed to not be familiar with the airport. I guess his face had the same expression as when Joel stepped out of the plane in Cicely Alaska in the comedy  series "Northern Exposure". Well back at our place we we spent the evening discussing the next days fishing, and getting to know one another. He had had a long trip, so we made sure to set up a small meal before crashing in for the night. 


P6191703Next morning we got up late, made a breakfast, and started to get ready for the days fishing trip. We had a few chores to get done before we could get the car to go fishing. Ted was invited to go with us as it was a good opportunity to show him the area, and what it has to offer. 
Finally around 13:30 we where dropped off at the parking closest to the lake we where going to fish. The walk down to the lake went through a marsh . Most of the area here is either pine forest, or marshes, and everything east of the mountain chain on the west coast of Norway is part of the arctic Tundra.
P6191706We where using a friend of mines boat, a small row boat with a two horsepower Yamaha motor from the late 70's, early 80's. As expected, the motor didn't want to start, and I didn't want to spend time getting it to start, so I pulled out the oars and rowed us over to  a corner of the lake where I knew of a hole full of roach. The idea was to catch some roach for bait, set out a couple of Pike traps, and go on to trolling for perch using my hand made crank baits. Things didn't work out quite as we expected. We got a little to hung up on fishing roach. they where biting like crazy, and was giving us a lot of fun, so I baited a couple rods with worms, and placed our baits outside of the roach hole to keep the roach from the bait, and continued to fish for roach with small ice fishing rods. After a while Ted noticed the one jug (Pike trap) passing by him right next to the boat. The jug speed up and continued about twenty yards before it was pulled under, and shortly after popped up again. By the time we got to the jug, the fish was gone. A little later we got a bite on the one rod baited with worms. Ted got to take care of the rod, and shortly after a jumbo perch was in the boat. Not a big fish, but average for these waters. This was the trigger for us to pull up our roach lines, and start trolling, but before this we went ashore to make a good cup of coffee. Of course we could have taken a thermos of coffee with us, but part of the experience is how we do things in this corner of the world. I had winged it a little, and used my Biolite in stead of the "Trangia" storm kitchen, or open fire that the Swedish use. I boiled a small pot of coffee on the biolite, added some cook ground coffee, and we had each our cup of hot, fresh coffee. After that we set out on the water again. It didn't take long before three more Perch where in the boat. Nothing big, but no small ones either. By now it was six in the afternoon, and my girlfriend was waiting for us up by the road. 

P6191699The next morning we got out earlier. There where no chores to do before we could go out, and I had planned for spending the morning until lunch at a pond I know the chances are high for Perch up to about 3 pounds (1,36 kg), and I know there are larger fish there as well. Probably as big as 4 or 5 pounds. We had no boat to use in this pond, so we stuck to fishing from land with worms. It didn't take long before the first fish was hooked. A nice jumbo perch took Ted's worm after only a few minutes.
P6191712After I had gotten my line in the water I let Ted watch the two rods while I went and picked some wood for making a fire. I try and keep this pond a secret from other anglers, and the gravel road up to the pond is quite bad, so the forest isn't picked clean of dead branches for making a fire. I've got bacon, and Swedish meat balls with me. A simple and tasty lunch. Neither Ted or I are big coffee drinkers, so we stuck to soda today. By the time lunch was ready we had got another perch. A little smaller than the first one, but also this one a nice fish. 
After our meal we caught one more perch before heading back to the lake we where the day before. On I'm not sure what got me to drive a different way back to the main road, but it was certainly a good move. A young moose was standing by the gravel road, letting Ted see some of the local wild life. We've got Bears, Wolves, moose, deer, lynx, fox, wolverine, and the odd reindeer. 
 
P6191715Today our plan was to not bother with roach or pike traps, but just troll for perch using crank baits. A good choice as it wasn't long before the first perch was in the boat. a couple of perch later, and we sought to take one more pass around the pond before heading home. That's when a pike hit one of the lures. It gave Ted a good fight on the short 2,5 foot ice fishing rod. Shortly after another 13 lb pike hit the same lure. Another good fight, and it was time to get back to the car. The two pike actually took an hour and a half of our fishing time, leaving us in a hurry to keep our time frame. No crisis though, Ted's flight was the next morning, and getting back to make dinner at 7 pm or 6 pm didn't cause any problems with that. The next morning we where up early to see Ted off. I drove him to our tiny airport, and saw him off. He certainly had gotten a taste for visiting Härjedalen again. Maybe next visit will be Ice fishing for arctic char.