The perch bite is starting to heat up in the western basin of Lake Erie. Perch is one of my favorite table fares and perch fishing can be a fun way to spend a day on the water. Lake Erie is full of perch but these tasty guys can be found in many inland lakes as well.

One of the best things about perch season is it tends to start up in the early summer when the walleye bite begins to slow, lasting well into the fall. Easily one of the best tools to help you be successful on large bodies of water is to have a good sonar graph and learn how to use it. Finding a school of active perch is critical to having a good day of perch fishing. Once you locate a school of perch far and away the best method is to hold directly over them vertically. This is the only type of fishing where I will use an anchor to keep the boat in place.

When it comes to lure choices for perch, most anglers use some variation of a minnow harness with two to three single hooks and a half ounce weight or larger if the wind is stronger to fish on the bottom. Another popular option is the traditional spreader wire with two short snelled hooks. The minnow harness or drop shot style rig allows anglers to fish several hooks at different depths above the bottom to cover the water column more easily. Both styles and both rigs can come with orange or green beads to help add color to attract the fish. Each perch fishing day is different and you just have to try different variations and colors of the lures to see what they want for that particular day.

Small sized emerald shiners are the most desired bait to add to your lure choice. Sometimes the perch want whole shiners and sometimes they want them cut into sections. I usually cut my shiners into thirds. Some days the perch can even be finicky about what section they want on the hook. Just last week three of us caught our ninety perch limit in a few hours once we found out they wanted the heads and bodies of the cut up shiners but they wouldn’t touch the tails section.

It is also important to note that lure action can be critical to success as well. Sometimes they want the bait right on the bottom buried in the mud and other days they want it on the drop, requiring you to make large sweeping motions with your rod as you slowly lower the bait down through the water column. Trying different methods until you figure out what they want on that particular day is important.

One of the nice things about perch fishing is that you don’t need a high dollar setup for perch fishing, but you do need the right action. Perch are experts at stealing the bait off of your hook and you need a rod that has enough power to get them up off the bottom and work a weight heavy enough to keep you down on the bottom. But the rod also needs to be light enough to feel the slightest nibble. For most fishermen this means a light power with a fast action spinning rod spooled with braided line. I also prefer a rod that is around seven feet in length and made out of graphite to increase sensitivity. Both the use of graphite and braided line will help you feel the lightest of bites.

• Summer is heating up and so is tick season. Ticks are found throughout Ohio and sometimes carry potentially dangerous diseases. Many of Ohioans’ favorite outdoor activities can lead to increased exposure to ticks. Anglers, birders, hikers, and hunters should take precautions to prevent ticks from becoming attached to their skin. Treat clothing worn outdoors with permethrin-based repellents according to the label directions. To keep ticks on the outside of clothing, it may help to wear a long-sleeved shirt tucked into pants with pant legs that are tucked into socks or boots. It may also be helpful to wear light-colored clothing, which will make it easier to spot ticks.

Thoroughly check clothes and skin for any attached ticks after any outdoor excursion, and don’t forget to check pets and gear, too. Ticks found attached to you or pets should be removed as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of contracting tick-borne diseases. To remove a tick, use tweezers or gloved hands. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull straight back with steady, even pressure.

There are three medically significant species of tick in Ohio: the American dog tick, the blacklegged tick, and the lone star tick. All three species have the potential to transmit diseases to humans and pets. Remain vigilant now and into the fall when the risk of contracting tick-borne disease is highest, but Lyme disease is possible year-round in Ohio.

The American dog tick is the most common tick in Ohio and is found in grassy areas. It is most active during the summer months and is the primary transmitter of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The blacklegged tick is also known as the deer tick because it is frequently found on white-tailed deer. Blacklegged ticks have increased in Ohio since 2010, especially in forested areas. This species is active throughout the year, including winter, and can carry Lyme disease. Lone star ticks are mostly found in southern Ohio in shaded, grassy areas and are active during the warmer months. This species can also transmit several diseases.

Ticks can transmit disease within 36 to 48 hours after the initial bite. It is important to regularly check for ticks and remove them as quickly as possible. Outdoor recreation increases the chance of encountering ticks. Urban and suburban development also increases the risk as people are close to mice, deer, and other hosts for ticks. Pets in an outdoor setting should have tick control.

It is important to note that, unlike humans and pets, wild animals such as deer are not affected by the blacklegged tick and suffer no ill effects from Lyme disease. Hunters should remember that hunting and dressing deer may bring them into close contact with infected ticks. Lyme disease cannot be transmitted by the consumption of venison.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.