The next state record perch is swimming in Lake Cascade

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IDFG/Photo by Roger Phillips

It's officially now winter by looking at the calendar and the snow outside my window here in McCall. Lake Cascade near Cascade is now frozen hard and finally ready for ice fishing adventures. I’m always nervous about first ice, but the ice is looking good at about 8 inches (on Dec. 21) and gaining with this recent cold blast we’ve had, but always be cautious about ice travel.

Buckets of large jumbo yellow perch are what ice fishermen want for Christmas and the coming New Year! I won’t predict a bucket stuffed with jumbos, but I can explain what we found when we went out and sampled the fish in the reservoir during fall. 

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IDFG/Photo by Dale Allen

The Department conducts an annual lake-wide gill net survey of Lake Cascade in early October. We use gill nets manufactured with monofilament line woven into panels with different sizes of square mesh that select for and catch different sizes of fish.

We place two nets at a site, one that floats just under the surface and one that stands as a wall off the bottom of the lake. We set 15 of these net pairs at locations scattered around the lake. The fish are collected and measured, and this data allows comparison of the sizes of fish from year to year. The process takes two boat crews a week to accomplish, and we handle many hundreds of fish. Thus we end up with a good record of the species and sizes of fish available in the lake at a point in time.

IDFG biologists pull in gill net to sample fish in Lake Cascade
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IDFG/Photo by Dale Allen

Lake Cascade has come back as a ice fishing destination to go and find some nice jumbo yellow perch.The reservoir produced several state-record perch in 2014 and the current state record for weight was caught in February 2016. That record was joined by our new catch-and-release record perch at 16 inches in Feb. 2016. The catch and release records started in Jan. 2016. 

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IDFG/Photo by Dale Allen

Below are three years of gill net catch data for Lake Cascade yellow perch shown by length categories in percent. The pie charts are from 2014-'16 and show that there was a large segment of the fish population comprised of relatively large fish (12 inch and larger). These charts are from large 400-plus fish samples collected and measured each year. The charts also show that there are smaller fish to supplant the larger older fish that will go away (hopefully by angler harvest).

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IDFG

Is there a new state record yellow perch in Lake Cascade? You bet, I know because I held several yellow perch in my hand this fall that were longer than the current record, which means there are more out there.

So its possible that this winter some one may catch a new state fish record, Fish Manager’s honor.

P.S. Remember to buy your 2017 fishing license.

 

 

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F&G