Cross River Perch Fry-up

I have spent the last couple of years getting to know Kensico reservoir for my local fishing, and now that the weather’s turned and the ice is out, I was eager to get back out and fish for Lake and Brown trout. Now my buddy and I have gone out several times together and we’ve always been skunked–Kensico is a tough lake–but only when we fish together. Other times by myself, I always do alright. Determined to break the trend, we hit the lake again yesterday. Gorgeous weather, new gear, renewed hope, plenty of guys on the forums saying they were catching ’em and catching them big time, 8 lb lakers! But wouldn’t you know it, we get there and the lake is like glass–absolutely ZERO current. Any fisherman will tell you, no current, and the fish shut down. The guys trolling had better luck because they were able to get out into current in the middle of the lake or under the bridge.

After a morning hopping around to different spots looking for current, we decided to break from the norm and just fish another reservoir altogether. We drove 20 min. north to Cross River and the lovely little town of Bedford. After a brief stop at the local bait shop for some intel and shiners, we headed back out. Cross River is actually TWO lakes, a large body and small. The baitshop owner told us not to “overlook” the small lake, and I could see the small lake was getting plenty of current from an easterly wind. We hit it and immediately hooked-up with Perch. Stupidly, I threw it back saying “my dad would have killed me for throwing back a perfectly good perch.” After a few minutes we decided to go for the big lake and as I was pulling it in–hookedup with another perch. We stayed and hooked up with two more, and at that point, I kept ’em. We had a mess of eating-size yellow perch. Fired-up a school of them.

Now, I grew-up eating perch in Ohio and I am a fiend when it comes to these babies. They are work to filet (if you have a dull knife), but they are in my opinion the best panfish on earth. I fried-up the perch later that night with a touch of Old Bay and a homemade tartar sauce using Brooklyn Brine’s Whisky Sour Pickles, served with lemon wedges for the wifey.

Alas, my buddy didn’t catch a single fish though he did have several nibbles. To add insult to injury, I hooked up in just about the same spot with a 4.5 lb largemouth bass! It caught it casting parallel to a reed bed that just looked “bassy.” The LMB put up a good fight and I don’t think it had spawned yet and it was possible I had pulled it off a bed.

Well now that the season is really open, the plan is to get out early, often and to try more reservoirs this year. There are no less than ten within an hour and a half drive from Brooklyn. For the fishermen out there–Happy April, happy spring and tight lines!

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