February 2, 2003
In an inadvertent attempt to get back on topic I have stumbled upon a story with ties to the Lake Vermilion fishery. A tale of two fishes, as it were.
The weekend was busy with several excursions on the lake to view property but, at the invite of a friend, I got the chance to do a little February ice fishing. Now I am not a passionate ice fisherman but if the temperature is tolerable and the wind speed is bouncing on zero, it can be nice way to while away a February afternoon, especially with good company. Fishing in mid to late winter should usually be accompanied with lowered expectations, as in, “If nothing else, maybe we’ll pick up a few perch”.
Ah yes, the Yellow Perch, a fish with such an image problem even the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources can only offer the following comments to describe one of the state’s most populous creatures.
“especially popular with out-of-state anglers such as those from North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Illinois” and “often so small that anglers throw them back into the water”
Yes, this locally scorned fish is sometimes barely regarded as a game fish. The Yellow Perch should take a public relations lesson from the Tilapia. The commercially grown Tilapia has been tagged with a notable nickname. With it’s potential to become a increasingly valuable world-wide food source, the Tilapia has been named the “Aquatic Chicken”. The Yellow Perch, if held to a similar name contest, might only muster the title of “Aquatic Liver and Onions”. The Yellow Perch needs a new moniker. The Yellow Perch needs a well funded, high energy marketing campaign. The Yellow Perch needs nationwide chapters of “Yellow Perch Unlimited”. The people need to know the Yellow Perch is really the miniature Walleye you can catch year-round. The same firm meat. The same sweet taste. Spread the word. The Walleyes will thank you.