Joe-Pye and the Yellow Perch

Joe-Pye and the Yellow Perch . . .

Tenkara + Streamer = Yellow Perch (photo taken 08 07 2013

Tenkara + Streamer = Yellow Perch (photo taken 08 07 2013

Tenkara fly fishing, as we know, originated along the mountain trout streams of Japan. Here, half a world away in New York City, I continue to learn how wonderful, yes wonderful, this method can be for warmwater ponds like Central Park’s Harlem Meer. I find myself surprised on almost every outing. The most recent discovery for me has been that streamers, retrieved with a slow lift of the longer tenkara rod, can entice yellow perch to strike. The photo above provides the proof . . .

I grew up catching Perca flavescens on spinning gear. Worms, minnows, spinners, and small spoons were all effective at putting several dozen on the dock. This species is a favorite sport and food fish of the Great Lakes region and one, like the pike, which is shared by our European neighbors. To them I say: “Try some coarse fishing the tenkara way!”

The tenkara technique for yellow perch is simple enough: tie a streamer such as a Mickey Finn, Grey Ghost, or Muddler Minnow to the end of your tippet and cast in areas where baitfish, the perch’s preferred forage, may be congregating. Allow the fly to sink and hover for a while before retrieving with a slow, steady lift of the rod. The result can be several strong takes in succession, as the yellow perch tends to school en masse. Once one does strike, hold on! A perch will fight a fast subsurface battle that will put an excellent deep bend in the rod.

The Yellow Perch tends to be most active in the American northeast when chalky pink Joe-Pye Weed, Eupatorium dubium, is in bloom around waterways. The months of August and September are an especially good time to visit a lake or pond and try this entertaining twist in the tenkara way.

Joe-Pye Weed graces the banks of Harlem Meer. (photo taken 08 07 2013)

Joe-Pye Weed graces the banks of Harlem Meer. (photo taken 08 07 2013)

– rPs 08 28 2013


  1. Long said

    Nice Ron, that’s a beautiful yellow perch and a nice size one to boot!

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