Where are the perch of Mendota Lake?

“There are good numbers of crappies and bluegills and good
walleye populations in Lake Mendota,” Welke said. “The walleye
fishing here is at, or above, the quality of fishing just about
anywhere in Wisconsin, but the harvest is more restrictive.

“Guys with electronics will find some perch on Mendota this
year, but they have to really work for them and they’ll get some

There may be a glimmer of hope in the future, but not until a
couple years down the road.

“Our sampling gear gives us a pretty good index. The mini fyke
nets are supposed to catch juvenile fish, but we caught nothing
this year and UW caught nothing, either,” Welke said. “This fall,
however, we saw scads and scads of perch 2 to 3 inches long. These
are perch we should have caught during the summer, but didn’t.”

Welke suggests the lack of finding small perch one time and not
another time may be just a habitat-specific thing.

“If we put out eight nets on a body of water the size of Lake
Mendota (9,842 acres) and you’re not in the right place, you aren’t
going to catch the fish. They might be in the weeds one night and
you’re not, and you won’t catch anything.

The perch that turned up during electoshocking suggest there may
be a year-class that anglers will find large enough to take home by
2006 and beyond. Then again, maybe not.

Lake Mendota, in addition to its size, has a mean depth of 42
feet and a maximum depth of 82 feet. Special ATV safety
requirements exist when driving onto Lake Mendota ice, so check
local regulations for this Dane County lake if you go in search of
perch, or some other species.

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