How To Catch First Ice Perch on Lake Couchiching December 21 2018

See the video version of this article here:


I'm always a bit nervous on first ice. I work at a local tackle shop and get to hear about people fishing all the time. People have been telling me there's 4-6" of ice out there - but still... 4" makes me nervous. 

Either way, I decided to drop by the lake and saw a ton of folks out in the bay off Tudhope Park - so I decided to hit the lake and see what was up. I think my buddy John knew I was nervous... or he saw me post I was going and wanted to come with... either way - I was happy to have the company!

As much as I wanted to hit the ice early and set into some shallow feeders, Daddy duty came first and I had to wait so I could drop my son off to school. It worked out well because John's about two hours from me and needed some time to get into town. We met up at Tromblys, bought some minnows and drove down.

As usual, I thought I had come fully prepared but forgot the most important piece of equipment at home - my float suit. Thankfully I'm about 5 minutes from the park so it didn't take me long to get it while John and his girlfriend Kelsey packed up their gear.

If you guys have been following my videos on YouTube (Shameless plug: ) you would have seen me make this Smitty Sled ( ). Let me tell you, it's worth the time to make! I pulled what must have been 75-100lbs with ease! For all the followers who told me to put my rope on the front skis... thank you! 

Anyway, we pulled out onto the bay and John picked our spot. It was on the edge of a shoal. We drilled a few holes, setup the hut and hunkered down.

It didn't take 5 minutes and John started pulling up fish. Although they were smaller fish, we decided to stick around and see if they had grouped up with some bigger females. John was using live minnows with a smaller jig head, Kelsey was using a Slab Grabber with a chartreuse bead and I had on my usual Northland Buck Shot Spoon in Super-Glo Chub

Kelsey was the first to bring in something of size, she had back to back fish that were bigger than ours. The bite lasted an hour or so and then tapered off. John and I decided to drill around the bay to see if we could find some bigger ones while Kelsey manned the hut. We really didn't see much else out there. We made our way back to the hut and the fish seemed to turn back on after we made some adjustments.

We decided to change up our lures a bit. I noticed I was having some really aggressive bites on a very small gold tungsten jig, John continued to use his live bait but changed up to a perch talker and Kelsey cycled through few baits as well.

We managed to get a few more decent fish, I pulled up the biggest of the day (bragging rights). John and Kelsey decided to stay the night as I packed up to pick up the kid from school. I wish I could have stayed as John hammered a beautiful Pike around 6PM off that same spot.

All in all, it was a great day. I got to pack some fish on the ice and spend the day with a fun couple. If I could do this every day, I would be a less stressed happy individual. Maybe one day this little business venture of mine will pan out and you guys will see more of me, until then - Thank You John and Kelsey for a great time out, let's do it again real soon!


Jason DeValadares  |  Orillia Fishing Owner

Buck shot spoonLake couchichingLindyNorthland luresOrilliaPerchPerch talkerSlab grabberYellow perch

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