« The Great Outdoors

Finally, my big perch comes home (or at least to my home)

by Mike McFeely

Finally, after six months and several false-starts, my perch has found its home. It's on the wall of my office at KFGO-AM in Fargo.

I caught the jumbo back in December on a trip to Devils Lake, after my guide buddy Jeff Katzer of Mitchell's Guide Service and Woodland Resort called me and said, "Get up here."

"Well, I'm sort of busy right now and my wife says ...," I began to reply.

Jeff interrupted me. "You didn't hear me. Get up here. Now. I don't care what you're doing or what your wife says. Get up here."

"Well, I ...," said I.

"Idiot," said Jeff, "I found a school of perch that's about 100 yards long, 50 yards wide and 3 feet deep. There has to be thousands of them. Nobody else is on them. It takes us a couple of hours to catch 50, 60 of them and they all weigh between a pound and 2 pounds. GET  UP HERE!"

The next sound Jeff heard was my pickup tires screeching to get to Devils Lake as fast as I could.

What resulted was the best day of perch fishing I've ever had. And I've had some decent days on the smaller lakes and flooded sloughs of northeast South Dakota and eastern North Dakota. But this was a special day. We caught our two-man limit of 40 perch not far from Woodland Resort the first day, and I went out the next morning and caught 20 more before I had to hustle back to the resort and do my radio show.

The amazing thing wasn't the number of perch, but the sheer size. Every perch was, indeed, over 1 pound and the largest was the one I hand mounted ... just shy of 2 pounds. (I'll call it a 2-pound perch, just because it sounds better. Hey, at least I admit it.)

I decided to have it mounted because it is likely I'll never catch a bigger perch (if I do, I will probably get that one stuffed, too) and it serves as a memory for a great day on the ice. Funny thing is, the perch hung on the wall at Woodland's bait shop (where there are BIGGER perch mounted) for six months before I was able to get it back to Fargo yesterday.

Here is a photo of the perch hanging on my office wall. And, after that, is a video that I shot and my producer Daniel (Pinto) Gunderson put together as an experiment for Woodland Resort (a sponsor of my show). Not exactly "In-Fisherman" quality, but not bad. It gives you the idea of the great perch fishing Jeff and I had that day.

Me and my perch. (That's me on the left.)

And here's the video that shows us catching the perch, including the one that is now hanging on my office wall: