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Springtime Perch Fishing

By George Fiorille

Many fishermen and women strongly feel that the yellow perch is the best tasting fish in fresh water. Areas of North America and Europe, sports world class fishing for these fish in spring, possibly the best and easiest time to catch them.

Where to Find Perch

spring perch fishing

North America northern waters, including Canadian waters, are lucky that they hold not only great yellow perch waters such as the Great Lakes, but also loads of smaller lakes teaming with perch. You can even find yellow perch in southern North American lakes in Tennessee and farther south. These lakes sport not only numbers of fish, but quality ones as well.

When anglers first flock to early spring area Lakes, streams and rivers, the fish are often found in deep water 20-40 feet deep. Sometimes in late fall, they may go to depths of 60 feet or more. As area waters warm, perch finish their spawning and will migrate into shallower waters. Good early areas to fish are often where there’s old weed beds, rocks, and sunken timber. Unlike other panfish that will spawn by making a nest, perch will just squirt their eggs on the top of weeds. After the females let out strings of eggs, the males will follow behind them and fertilize the eggs.

Techniques to Catch Springtime Perch

perch fishing

Perch are very easy to catch in spring and can be caught on a variety of techniques. Many anglers score well with small minnows such as fat heads. Some believe that by using larger bait such as shiners, you will catch a bigger perch. Other live bait that can work if you can find them are crawfish and oak leaf grubs (larvae stage of the crane fly).

Several different artificial creatures can catch perch in the spring. When they are in deep water, vertically jigging for perch with small spoons used while ice fishing excels. The bass fishing technique of “drop shotting” excels for them in deep water. Rig a sinker on the bottom and 12”-18” up the line tie in a small size #2 or #4 hook. Make sure the hook ends with the point straight up. Attach a small crappie grub nose hooked. Try to slightly shake your offering without moving the weight.

By changing the tail on your drop shot baits, you can more effectively match the mood of perch. More active perch may want a curly tail or paddle tail grub. An inactive school of perch may be triggered better with a straight plastic tail with no action.

One of the best type of jigs to use for perch just may be hair jigs. Try using ones in sizes 1/16, 1/8 or even smaller in buck tail or marabou. In clear water, hair jigs with reflective mylar seems to trigger fish.

When the water warms up later in the spring and perch move shallow, you can catch them with other lures. Try casting lures such as small stickbaits, crankbaits, and in line spinners for more active fish. While fishing for bass once grass grows up in late spring, lures such as larger spinnerbaits and chatter baits catch larger yellow perch hiding in weeds.

Day in and day out the best grubs may still be the ones mentioned above. Try casting them as a jig head and grub combo or as a drop shot. If you’re in a school of active fish, try rigging 2 or more jigs or drop shot hooks rigged equal distance apart to catch more than one perch at a time. Avid anglers may rig a short jig and grub on the bottom, then tie in a couple of dropshot hooks above.

Tackle Recommendations for Perch Fishing

You don’t need heavy tackle to catch a perch. Many anglers like to use light lines with ultra-light tackle. These fishermen are using lines in the 2-4-lb range. Others prefer to use medium light tackle with longer rods. Lines in the 6-pound range excel on this size tackle. Try using braided line tied to a light fluorocarbon leader for better sensitivity and quicker hook sets. This perch angler prefers to use a Lew’s 7’6” medium/light action, one-piece rod with a size 30 spin reel. To 10-pound braided line I will add a 6-pound test, 6’ long fluorocarbon leader.

What yellow perch lacks in fighting ability; they make it up with great taste. Try fishing the waters mentioned in your area with the techniques described above for some fantastic action this spring. Fish On!

mossy oak fishing

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