Sweet, tasty, and full of flavor, it’s no surprise that perch is one of the most popular panfish among fishers. This guide will teach you some various perch fishing tips for catching all types of perch in different seasons and locations. We’ll also break down the equipment you’ll need so you’ll be hooking panfish after panfish with ease.
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Common Perch Types (& How To Identify Them)
Equipment Needed For Catching Perch (& Best Setup From A Pro Angler)
Rods and Reels
Perch are smaller panfish, so you do not need heavy rods or reels. The best combo you can choose for these panfish is a light or ultralight gear with a 6 to 8-pound test. We recommend rods that are 6.4 to 8 feet in length, and that’s suitable for soft lures. Check out our guides on the best jig rods and reels, or drop-shot rods if you’re purchasing gear that’s specific for perch fishing.
Getting the right baits and lures are essential when perch fishing. These species move quickly when they have cover, so you won’t get many bites with heavy baits at the end of your line. We recommend live minnows, maggots, and even small pieces of crayfish meat as baits. As for lures, stick with plugs, jigs, and spinners in yellow or white designs. That should get a perch’s attention in a hurry.
Hooks and terminal tackle
The best way to get more catches is to match your hooks to the type of bait or lure you’re using. Generally, hooks in sizes 4 to 6 are ideal for live baits, and 8 to 10 are better suited for plastic lures. As for a line and leader, fluorocarbon is your best option for both. It’s almost invisible underwater, making it extremely discreet. It's also more resistant to cutting (predator’s teeth) than braid and nylon.
Once you’ve got your gear, it’s time to focus on where to store it all. A good portable tackle storage unit will help you from cutting trips short by losing tackle at the water. Check out our recommendations for the best tackle boxes on our site.
Where To Fish For Perch (Their 5 Main Habitats)
1. Catching perch in lakes
Lakes are a great place to find yellow and white perch, especially in the springtime. The best perch lake fishing tip we can give you is to find small pockets of deep water (less than 20 feet) and focus on using floating lures
2. Catching perch in weedy areas
Casting your line into rocks and weed beds is a great idea as they prefer these habitats rather than large and open bodies of water. They also have the perfect natural camouflage to blend into weedy environments. This gives them a lot of protection from predators such as walleye, bass, and pike.
3. Catching perch in shoals
Perch are shoal fish, but, as in many other species, they become more solitary when they begin to grow and get older. Even though their shoals can be hard to locate all year round, your best bet to finding them is right after their spawning season. Use some vertical jigging techniques when fishing for perch in shoals
4. Catching perch at deep water
Once the weather begins to get hotter and the water temperature rises, perch will move to deeper waterways. Usually, this will be 20 to 25 feet deep. We recommend targeting deep-water perch from ledges, drop-offs, and deep holes with muddy or rocky bottoms.
5. Catching perch in ponds
In ponds, you won’t find too many silver or white perch. However, yellow perch can live very well in this environment. Yellow perch are a lot more piscivorous than other panfish, so they have their influence on a pond fish community. This means using small pieces of live bait will better your chances of catching perch fish in ponds.
How to Catch Perch (8 Game-Changing Perch Fishing Tips)
1. Use another perch as a bait
Perch aren’t fussy eaters in terms of live baits, and many anglers use their first small perch catch as bait to get the attention of even more perch. Simply fillet each piece about 1-inch and leave the skin attached to gain success.
2. Master the drift
If you're fishing from a boat, don’t just stay in one small area of the water. Allow your boat to drift (so long at it’s less than 0.5 mph). This will allow you to cover more water.
Attract more perch to the area where you're fishing by occasionally sprinkling some rice, corn, or broken eggshells onto the surface. This is called chumming, and it really helps lure more perch to you.
4. Perch callers
There are commercials ‘perch callers’ on the market that generate noise underwater. The noise gets the attention of perch fish and brings them to your fishing location. You can make one yourself; here’s a video that explains the DIY process.
5. Running the boat motor
If you’re not interested in buying or making a perch caller, then your boat motor can do the same job. Turn on the engine and let it idle for a short period of time. This method will only work in waterways that are 15 feet or shallower.
6. Drop shot rig like a pro
We’ve previously mentioned, drop shot rigs are a great setup for catching perch fish. You can add multiple hooks and an attractor (like a bead or spinner). Then add a jig as a weight so it can double as one of your hooks. It’s a sure way of gaining a perch’s attention.
7. Using glow-in-the-dark lures in deep waters
When fishing for perch at dusk, you can use glow-in-the-dark lures. It's best to add this lure onto the top hook of a drop shot rig as it will trick the perch fish and attract them to your hook.
8. Keep track of the perch spots
Perch fish tend to habitat the same area of water. If you find schools of perch in a particular area of water, be sure to save it on your map and return to the same spot on your next trip. It’s an easy way to find perch fish in the future.
Bonus: Seasonal Perch Fishing Tips (Catching Perch All Year Round)
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How do you catch perch when ice fishing?
Finding the right area under the ice is key when ice fishing for perch. Look for an area just outside of the deep-water basin so you can intercept schools of aggressive perch fish when they’re coming out of the deep water.
How do you rig a live minnow for perch fishing?
First, get your thin wired hook at the ready. Then place the minnow on the hook and be sure to pierce the minnow near the end of the tail so it stays alive for longer.
How deep do you fish for perch?
This will depend on the temperature of the water and which time of the year it is. Perch will stay in 8 to 10 feet of water when the temperature is 50-70 degrees F. Once the water temperature rises, the perch will move into waterways that are up to 20 to 25 feet in depth.
You can learn a lot from perch fishing, and it helps that they’re great fun to catch. Whether you reel in a yellow, white, or silver perch, you’re in for a tasty treat. We hope these tips and techniques help you on your next fishing adventure and it leaves you with some fried perch on your dinner plate