Ice fishing can be exciting, especially if you want to catch perch. While perch is a difficult fish to predict, once it takes the bite, it will go biting until you decide you want to quit. A school of perch moves fast but if conditions change, its activity slows down.
If you are keen on catching this fish, here are some ice fishing tips for perch that will ensure you find big schools of the fish and always have a successful and satisfying ice fishing trip.
10 Tips for ice fishing for Perch
1. Shallow is Best in Early Winter
When ice forms on the surface of the lake or pond, focus your attention on areas where weeds are present. Usually, this will be in shallow areas in early winters and that is where you will find schools of perch feeding on tiny aquatic creatures that live in and around the vegetation. Even logs and rocks are great places to look for perch.
2. Go Deep in Late Winter
As winter goes on, food around the surface and in shallow water will get scarce. As a result, large perch will move to deeper waters. While you may find smaller perch in shallow waters, the big ones will always be in the deep due to their large appetites.
3. Drill Several Holes
If you are serious about catching perch, this is one tip that you cannot ignore. While it is hard work to cut many holes, it will be rewarding. There is no point in fishing in one hole and hoping to get lucky. So, if the fish hasn’t taken the bait, it is time to move to the next hole. Move from one hole to another until the fish begin biting. Continue ice fishing at the same hole until the action slows down. You could use a power auger to cut holes. It will save you time and effort as you will be able to drill holes within no time. See our choice of augers for ice fishing.
4. Use the Right Lure for Perch
Perch tend to feed on freshwater shrimp, insects, and small baitfish. Use a soft lure that is tipped a waxie. The waxie adds scent to the lure and attracts perch. Using the waxie and the lure, you should be able to catch small and big perch with relative ease. In case you want to catch jumbo perch, you need a flutter spoon and minnow head. This will create an illusion of a larger fish and smaller perch will avoid it while a jumbo perch will want to feast on it.
5. Swimming Lures are Best for Clear Water
While you will find many lures designed for ice fishing, your choice of lure will depend on the water. Perch has good eyesight and in clear water, the fish will be able to see long distances. Hence, if the water is clear, you need to use a swimming lure so that it mimics a fish swimming in distress. Look for lures that appear like minnows as perch love to feed on them.
6. Flash Lures are Perfect for Dark Water
After digging the holes, you may find that the water is murky and dark. Here, you shouldn’t be using a swimming lure as it will be ineffective. To get the attention of a school of perch, you should use a flash lure. The flash will attract the perch as it will get curious about the bright lights. Alternatively, you can use a rattling lure if you do not have a flash lure. However, be careful as the noise may scare away some perch. Experiment with both types of lures to see which one gives you the best results.
7. Learn How Perch Behave in that Area
It is important to remember that perch behavior varies from lake to lake. So, get in touch with a local perch fisherman to find out how the perch behaves. If you cannot find anglers, visit a local fishing store to get the required information. Do this before you plan your ice fishing trip.
You can use the tips provided by the locals to increase your catch ratio. At the same time, you should be aware that perch behavior can be unpredictable. Hence, be prepared for the unexpected as perch behavior can vary based on the time of the year, month, and day.
See our other article on what time of the day is best for ice fishing for perch.
8. Use a Fishing Rod with a Sensitive Tip
When perch takes a bite, it can be a bit difficult to detect. That is why when you go ice fishing for perch, it is advisable to take ice fishing rods that have a sensitive tip. That way, you will notice the tip bend even if the rod does not feel the pull when the fish bites the lure.
If you are looking to catch a lot of perch, be mindful of the rod bending. The rod will be flexible enough to handle a fighting perch and you will not have to worry about breaking the rod. You can easily find ice fishing rods at an affordable price.
Related article: The best ice fishing rod cases
9. Go Ice Fishing with Friends
Even if you like being alone, take a couple of friends with you. Not only will it make the trip more enjoyable but you will also have someone around in case of an emergency. Furthermore, if a friend catches a perch, you can immediately move to a nearby hole as perch travel in groups and that means you too will be able to catch one.
10. Use a Jig-and-Sit Pattern
It can be very satisfying to catch perch and your chances of striking lucky will depend on how you jig. So, start by jigging as it will get the attention of the fish and they will come closer to explore it. Once the fish nears, cease the jigging and sit quietly. The slight movements will attract the perch to bite the lure. This is a great strategy to employ if you find that the perch is coming near your lure but not taking the bite. It is a simple yet effective way to attract the fish and get it to take a bite.
Related read: Our favorite inline ice fishing reel
The Bottom Line
These are some of the ice fishing tips for perch that you can use. You will find that these tips will help you catch a lot of perch and end your ice fishing trip on a high note.
Updated: June 16, 2022