Perch Festival gaining steam
Written By: Monday, April 30th 2018

The 38th Annual Orillia Perch Festival is off to a bit of a slow start, but organizers expect this to change dramatically this week.

Ice, cold and rainy weather = shy fish

Weather conditions were a huge factor on April 21st for opening day. Ice covered just about all of Lakes Couchiching and Simcoe. Perch tend to stay under the cover of ice until it all melts, making it challenging for organizers to find 70 perch to tag – and when they released them back into the water, they quickly disappeared under the ice.

As a result for the first time ever, not one perch was turned in to Perch Headquarters at Tudhope Park. This baffled even the most experienced anglers and participants. Many Americans and those from afar who came for the first week were disappointed that they couldn’t even catch one perch to hand in for the draws. All seemed frustrated but understanding about the unusual weather conditions. Gradually through the first week the number of perch ,and their size, grew that were turned in to the Live Release Tank.

Change is coming this week

Sunday April 29th, is the 9th day of the 22 day event, and ice is still visible on some parts of the lakes. But with near freezing temperatures about to change dramatically, so should the conditions and fishing for this upcoming week. The “perch run” is influenced by the ice leaving, temperatures rising and their main food minnows being available. These factors are finally about to start. The free boat ramp in Smith’s bay is has been repaired by city staff. Main dock will be in by Tuesday May 1st.

Lots of great prizes await anglers who make use of the remaining days of Canada’s Largest Fishing Derby.

Prizes to be won


1. A Lund Sport Fishing Boat with a 50hp Mercury from Gordon Bay Marine
2. Flying tour adventures from Lake Country Airways
3. Kiwi Angler Edition Kayak from Trombley’s Tackle Box
4. A Traeger Bronson Grill and smoker from Trombley’s Tackle Box
5. A Raymarine Dragonfly Fishfinder from Marine Electric Technologies

PLUS…Did we mention tagged perch?

65 perch worth $500

Two Tourism Simcoe County perch worth $1,000

Three Casino Rama Resort perch worth $1,000

All just swimming around waiting to be caught!

There are also daily, weekly and grand prize draws for adults and kids