Big Stone’s perch offers a premier winter fishing opportunity


In addition to walleye, however, big sunfish and lake poop are gaining notoriety, and the lake is also home to some of the biggest largemouth bass in the entire upper Midwest.

In the winter, however, the lake’s booming perch fishing takes over as Big Stone has lots of large 9-11 inch “eating” fish that make excellent table dishes! While not known for the giant perch, the number of quality fish the lake is home to attracts winter fishermen from across the country.

Artie Arndt, a native of Ortonville, Minnesota and owner of a local bait shop, operates a winter fishing house rental business on Big Stone, a business that caters to pole vault fishermen. In addition to bait and fishing house rentals, Arndt and his son, Tanner, are two of the lake’s top multi-season, multi-species anglers.

Asked about the lake and its winter opportunities, Artie was quick to point out Big Stone’s exceptional number of poles.

“Perch reigns supreme in winter on Big Stone,” Arndt said. “And, population surveys conducted by the DNR show that the lake has a record number of poles.”

When it comes to peak hours for fishing, Arndt highlighted the first few weeks of the season.

“Good fishing often happens in the first half of the season, we still have good fishing later, but it can get more difficult with more snow and fishing pressure,” said Arndt.

Arndt and his guides favor the southern end of the lake to find the Big Stone perch.

He and his guides use a mobile approach to search for fish roaming the vast 12- to 16-foot-deep basin of the lake.

“We are constantly on the move looking for schools because the poles are moving all over this basin,” he said.

Once found, the Big Stone Perch will eat traditional panfish lures like small jigging spoons as well as small minnows suspended under floats. However, Arndt says tungsten jigs and tips are key baits most of the time.

“Day in and day out it’s hard to beat tungsten with spikes,” he said. “Our waters are clear and this combination of small profile and live bait is hard to beat.”

While the perch receives the vast majority of winter attention, Big Stone’s big sunfish and walleye also appear in the winter.

“Perch fishermen often catch some of these sunfish in the pond with the perch,” Arndt said. “And, walleyes have also manifested themselves over the past two winters.”

For anglers wishing to get to the lake, information on renting fishing houses and big rock fishing in general can be obtained by calling Arndt at (320) 839-2480. In addition, information on the entire Big Stone area can be obtained by visiting the website.

Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest television series. Visit for more “fishy” stuff.


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