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Idaho girl’s perch declared ice-fishing world record

FISHING — An Idaho girl has landed a national fishing distinction.

Tia Wiese, 12, of Eagle, caught a yellow perch weighing 2 pounds 11.68 ounces on March 1 at Lake Cascade. Shortly afterward, the fish was confirmed as the Idaho state record for the species.

But during a hunting trip in Wisconsin, her father, Gary Wiese, visited the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. He learned of a special world-record category for ice fishing with a tip-up — and the yellow perch record was 2 pounds 6 ounces caught in Massachusetts.

“I knew there were different line class records, but I didn’t know there were records like ice fishing,” Gary said.

The Wieses sent the paperwork on Tia's fish to the Hall of Fame and recently received confirmation that it had been declared the new world record for the largest yellow perch confirmed as being caught while ice fishing using a tip-up rod.

In the late 1990s, Idaho Fish and Game Department fishery managers recognized that Lake Cascade’s perch population had depleted dramatically. Addressing angler appeals, they began a program to rejuvenate the fishery. Thousands of yellow perch were released into Lake Cascade, and those fish successfully spawned, beginning a rapid recovery of the lake’s perch population.

Fifteen years later, Lake Cascade has a strong population of yellow perch. In 2014, anglers were regularly catching them in the 2-pound range. Tia's father caught one almost as big as hers.

While Tia’s state record and world record remain on the books for now, plenty of anglers will be trying to catch a larger perch this year. Yellow perch spawn in early spring, and right now the females preparing for the spring spawn are adding weight as their eggs grow.

The next couple of months will tell whether Tia will retain her place in Idaho’s record books, and at the top of the world’s list of perch caught through the ice using a tip-up.

Idaho record perch caught in Lake Cascade

FISHING — An Idaho record yellow perch was caught Saturday in Cascade Lake north of Boise.

Luke Spaete of Boise was participating in a fishing derby when he caught the fish, which weighed 2 pounds, 10.88 ounces and was 15 and three-quarters of an inch long.

Cascade Lake has a clear connection with lunker perch. The old record of 2 pounds, 9.6 ounces was set in 1976 and tied two years ago at Lake Cascade. Another angler in last weekend's fishing derby caught a fish on Sunday that would have broken the old record, but was short of Spaete's new record fish, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Spaete said he’d already caught two pretty big perch before spotting “one giant blob” on his fish finder. The perch’s belly and dorsal fin scraped the edges of the 8-inch hole in the ice, he said.

Idaho sets bluegill fishing clinics for kids

KID FISHING — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is signing up kids, ages 5 to 16, for two special bluegill fishing clinics on June 16 at Hauser Lake south of Rathdrum.

The limited number of participants will have the opportunity to spend a morning or afternoon on a tournament fishing boat learning how to catch bluegills.  The event is free.

Mentors will be experienced anglers affiliated with the Panhandle Bass Anglers Club who are volunteering their boats, time and expertise to the event. One parent/guardian must accompany young anglers on the lake.

Fishing equipment and bait will be available for use during the clinic, but those who own fishing tackle are encouraged to bring it. Mentors will be able to give participants tips on how to properly use the tackle they bring.

IDFG will be issuing First Fish Certificates to recognize young anglers catching their first fish. The objective is to teach young folks a lifelong hobby, instill an appreciation of aquatic resources, and provide an inexpensive and fun family outing.

Participants will be treated to a fish fry and a hamburger, hot dog and soda barbeque.

Advance reservations are required and space is limited. Call the IDFG Panhandle Region Office, (208) 769-1414. 

No fishing license is needed.

Lunker perch matches 36-year Idaho record

FISHING — An Idaho record yellow perch measuring 16 inches long and weighing 2.6 pounds was caught Feb. 11 in Lake Cascade by Bob Shindelar of Meridian, Idaho, to tie an Idaho record unmatched since 1976.

One angler described the lunker perch as "a smallmouth bass in drag."

Dale Allen, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager, said Cascade has produced several perch longer than 15 inches.

The largest perch tend to be females, which are currently producing eggs that add weight. There's still about a month to six weeks before those fish spawn, Allen said.

Read on for the full story from Roger Phillips, outdoor writer for the Idaho Statesman.