State finds good perch stock in
Lake St. Clair
HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - The outlook is bright for perch
fishing on Lake St. Clair, a state Department of Natural
Resources trawling expedition has found.
Each September, a DNR crew throws nets into the lake
to measure the fish stock and forecast fishing prospects.
The studies began in 1993.
Tuesday's effort off Macomb County's Harrison Township,
near Mount Clemens, produced healthy numbers of perch
minnows. That is a good sign for anglers in the future,
said DNR biologist Mike Thomas.
"It means we had a good reproduction of perch in
Lake St. Clair this year," Thomas told The Detroit
News for a Thursday story.
Thomas and his colleagues caught hundreds of young perch
in the 1- to 1 1/2-inch range in the 150-wide net that
was dragged behind the 46-foot long trawler called the
On a day when trawling was difficult because weeds got
tangled in the net, the catch of perch fry was a smashing
success, Thomas said.
The first two trawls netted 20 to 30 young perch each.
But it was obvious by Thomas' excited reaction that with
the third trawl something special had happened.
"That last haul we had 150 young of the year perch,"
When field assistants got done separating the perch from
shiners and other small fish, the actual perch count was
90. But that was still a sizable load for one haul, Thomas
"There have been some years when we would only get
one young of the year perch per trawl. Today we were getting
20 and 30 (per trawl) and then 90."
Perch fishing is important to Lake St. Clair as a source
of revenue to businesses and recreation for families,
"Perch fishing is not glamorous but it has the highest
fishing pressure," he said. "You don't have
to have special equipment or a boat, and kids can catch
them, too. And you catch them in the summer and winter."
Thomas said studies show about 1 million perch are caught
in Lake St. Clair each year, making it one of the Great
Lakes region's best for perch fishing.
Perch fishing is important to the Lakeside Fishing Shop
in St. Clair Shores, one of the area's busiest bait and
tackle stores, said salesman Ken Manchini.
"When everything else goes down in September, perch
fishing takes off," Manchini said. "And of course
during the winter, when the ices comes in, it's big. Ice
fishermen pretty much target perch along with walleye
The reason for the perch's popularity is taste, Manchini
"They are one of the best table fares along with
walleye," Manchini said. "They are top drawer
in the lake."