By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist
It's no longer rumor or speculation whether Lake Cascade will break another state record; it happened Feb. 26 when Skye Coulter of Donnelly landed a 2-pound, 15.36-ounce yellow perch that topped Tia Weise's previous state record of 2 pounds, 11.68 ounces. Coulter's record fish was 15 5/8-inches long with a girth of 13-1/4 inches. He caught it on a worm.
Weise still holds the catch-and-release yellow perch record of 16-inches, which she set on Feb. 7. Because that fish was released, there was no official weight.
Cascade has consistently produced trophy perch in the last two years. Before 2014, the state record had stood for 38 years, but it has been topped at least four times in the last two years by perch caught in the reservoir.
Lake Cascade has been a success story for perch fishing and anglers since it was overhauled in the early 2000s. Fish and Game crews removed tons of unwanted fish, mostly northern pikeminnows, and transplanted 850,000 adult perch. Those transplants sparked a perch revival that produced billions of young perch, which not only recovered the perch population, but also provided a flourishing food base for other game fish in the reservoir.
Fish and Game surveyed Lake Cascade in the fall of 2015 and found about 27 percent of the perch were over 12 inches long, and 8 percent were over 14 inches long. With that many large perch, biologists suspected a new state record was living there.
It will be interesting to see how long Coulter's record stands considering the four fish caught in the last two years that topped the 38-year record fish were landed in the months of February and March.