Perch, a common freshwater fish, is popular among both experienced and beginning fishermen. Around the globe, there are different perch species. In the United States, however, white and yellow perch are more common.
Perch is a very tasty fish. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find a freshwater fish that tastes better than the perch. On average, the perch grows to approximately 7 to 9 inches, with 10-inch perch being rare.
If you are planning your first perch fishing trip, you need to know how to catch perch to increase your chances of reeling in a catch. In this guide, we will make perch fishing extremely easy for you.
The Perch Habitat
The perch is a fairly hardy fish species. It is capable of dealing with a wide variety of water temperatures. For this reason, they are widely distributed in the United States.
The fish species extends from South Carolina to Maine. Across the northwest, the fish is distributed from Pennsylvania to Colorado, even reaching some areas of the Washington state and Idaho.
The fish can be found in lakes, ponds, reservoirs, rivers, and streams. The perch is often caught in the winter when ice fishing. In the warmer months, you can find the fish in the shallow streams. While the fish prefers clearer water, it can also inhabit silty or muddy waters.
The Perch Fish Feeding Habits
The perch is a carnivorous fish species which often feeds on shellfish, insects, and other fish species. Being active feeders, they are easy to hook and also a pleasure to fight. The perch can take a wide range of lures and baits as long as they are moving.
Perch Fishing Gear
Even if you do not know how to catch perch, you probably know that fishing gear plays a key role when it comes to hooking up any fish species. In this section, we will be discussing the gear you need to pack when preparing for your perch fishing trip.
Perch Fishing Equipment
To any fisherman, perch fishing equipment would simply mean a fishing line and a fishing rod and reel. If you consult someone who already knows how to catch perch, he/she would tell you that you do not have to invest in expensive or complicated equipment, considering that the fish is smaller. A 6- to 8-pound test fishing line should be ideal for landing the perch fish.
After you put on your fishing hat and decide to go after the perch fish, chances are, you won’t be returning home before you catch several fishes. If this is the case, you may need a fishing cooler to hold your perch after reeling them in.
Perch Fishing Lures and Bait
Knowing how to catch perch may not provide the results you would want when perch fishing if you do not have the right lures and baits. If you use the lures and baits below, you should be able to hook a perch every time you cast your spinning rod.
Perch Fishing Baits
As mentioned earlier on, the perch is a carnivorous fish species. For the best results, you will need to give the fish a meat supply. The go-to bait for the perch is the minnow. Minnows are not just highly effective, they are also available in a wide range of sizes and affordable.
Nightcrawlers, when fished off a bobber, is an ideal perch fishing bait, especially for people who are learning how to catch perch. In most instances, even when the perch won’t feed on anything else, the nightcrawlers can increase your odds of pulling the perch out of the water after casting your baitcaster.
The favorite summer baits for perch fishing include blood worms, leaches, and hellgrammites. These are usually fished when the perch fish is running deeper.
Crickets and mealworms are fairly effective when perch fishing. These are generally readily available in the pet and fishing stores.
The perch fish can grow big. Hence, you shouldn’t be afraid to use your spinning rods with bigger baits. While smaller baits are capable of helping you catch more fish, the bigger baits are ideal for reeling in the bigger fish.
Perch Fishing Lures
The perch fish can be caught on almost any lure, provided that the lure features the right size. However, you will have more luck with some lures when compared to others.
When fished in the right sizes, inline spinners can help you land perch. As an attractor pattern, the colors are not very vital. However, you should pick a color that is suitable for water conditions, including yellows, blues, and whites. When fishing in clear waters, black could be a reasonable color.
Spoons are also a perfect perch lure. The silver and black colors are ideal for all water conditions.
If you intend to use mimic lures, jigs should be an excellent choice, especially when you are ice fishing. Jigs can also work perfectly when the day starts to warm and the perch starts moving deeper. You can improve the effectiveness of the jig by tipping them with cut minnows, nightcrawler, or leaches pieces.
You can use small crankbaits when going after the perch. Although the perch is capable of getting rather large, the majority of bass crankbaits are generally too large. Sticking with the smaller crankbaits offer the best results. You can go down in size to the crankbaits commonly used when fishing for the panfish.
How to Catch Perch
By now, we assume that you already have the necessary perch fishing equipment. If you follow the steps below, you should know how to catch perch.
1. The Ideal Time for Perch Fishing
Perch fish is usually active when feeding. If you would like to catch the perch, you have to go perch fishing when the fish is feeding. The feeding time for the perch varies depending on the season. Below, we have some helpful guidelines:
- Early summer and late spring – Early evening and early morning hours.
- Late summer – Late afternoon and evening.
- Autumn – Morning and late afternoon-evening.
- Winter – Late afternoon-evening, when the light is low.
2. Locate a Deep-Water Spot
The perch is fond of deep waters and structures capable of offering hiding places and blocking the sunlight. Boat fishing, when getting into deep waters, is always a good idea as it allows you to move quickly if the school moves or if the fish aren’t biting.
If you are fishing near the shore, look for areas featuring steep drop-offs into the deep waters. If locating the perch fish proves to be hard, you can take advantage of electronic equipment, including portable fish finders.
3. Casting Your Bait
The perch fish can be attracted via a wide variety of methods. The fish likes feeding off the ground. Therefore, you will need to make sure that your braided fishing line is capable of going deeper into the water. Below, we have some of the main methods used to attract perch fish.
- You will need to cast the line into the area where you think the perch fish might be. Allow the line to sit for a while. Reel the line in if you need to recast. When casting, aim beyond the point you intend to hit, keeping in mind that pulling the line back is much easier.
- Still fishing. This will involve dropping the line and then letting it stay still, seeing if the perch will come to you. This can be done from a pier, dock, an anchored boat, or from the shore. This method demands a lot of patience.
- You will need to drop the line into the water and then keep moving, letting the line move through the water slowly. If you are using a boat, keep your engine running lightly to avoid scaring the perch.
- Ice fishing. The perch are usually active even when the water is frozen. In the winter, they move slowly. Having a working fish finder can make it easier for you to locate the perch fish.
4. Getting the Bite
As mentioned earlier on, the perch fish are small. This means that they are generally light. You have to be quick in order to notice when the fish bites. Once you notice a line movement, you will need to set your hook by quickly pulling up on the rod.
As you reel in the line, pull the rod upward too. Avoid pulling too hard. If you pull too hard, you may pull the hook out of the fish.
Globo Surf Overview
If not knowing how to catch perch has been keeping you from planning a perch fishing trip, this article should make your fishing trip possible. Since the perch fish is widely distributed in the United States, finding an ideal spot for perch fishing should be easy. If you have the right fishing equipment and lures, landing the perch fish shouldn’t be too complicated.
When perch fishing, be sure to follow all the fishing rules and regulations, which often vary in different states. Being stuck with lawsuits and heavy fines is never a good idea.