An interesting fish that can be found all over the world is perch. Some areas have them bigger than others, but the act of fishing for perch stays the same.
Perch fishing provides you with an excellent avenue to explore nature, be connected with wildlife, and simply enjoy the outdoors.
Pan fishing, unlike many other styles of angling, often times harbors constant action and tons of results. Although the fish are smaller, there is far less waiting around for the big fish to bite.
As long as you have the proper knowledge about this style of fishing, you are well on your way to having a successful fishing trip. Here is a complete guide to perch fishing!
Find the right spot
First things first, you need to have access to a good spot that you know perch may be living. After all, you can have all the gear necessary, but without a spot to use it, it is all useless.
This first step really comes down to what you have access to. Everywhere from the harbors of Downtown Chicago to lakes in Kazakhstan to rivers in Sweden, perch can be found. So, no matter where you live, there is a decent chance you have access to perch.
There are a number of environments perch can live. Some include ponds, lakes, rivers, and creeks, just about everything there is. Here are a few things to look for when finding a good spot to target:
- Clear water
- Lots of vegetation
- Structure like brush, down trees, and man-made hotspots
- Depending on the time of year, they may be deep or up at the shore
If you have a local pond or creek that you have access to, great! Go try it out and see if you can get any bites.
Go at the right time
Once you have a great spot in mind, you want to strategize when you actually go out and target these fish. Although this really depends on your geographical location, there are some general points to keep in mind.
Perch tend to feed during the day. So, night fishing might work, but it is less than ideal in most cases. Like with many other fields of fishing, perch love to feed early in the morning and just before the sun drops below the horizon.
Depending on where you live, 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. could be great times to target, for example.
You also have to keep the seasons in mind. Going out in the dog days of summer is not the best time to be targeting perch. Because the water temperature rises so much, perch will move deeper and become more lethargic.
The spring and autumn months are the best. Temperatures are either just starting to rise or just starting to fall. In the spring, the perch will be spawning. T
his is when they are their most aggressive and will be feeding around the clock. So, if night fishing is your thing, during the spawn is one of the only times to do it.
Keep it light and simple (a gear breakdown)
As you start to gather some of your gear, there are a few points that you should keep as light and simple as possible. As you dive deep into the fishing rabbit hole, things can get really technical and complex. When perch fishing, it is usually best to keep it simple.
On the “light and simple” note, there are three pieces of equipment that follow that mantra. The rod, the reel, and the line.
We will start with the rod and reel. The most common style of setup for perch fishing is spinning. Sure, you can use the class push-button setup, but many angler grow out of that early on. Spinning setups keep it light and are great for fish of the size of perch.
Bait casters should be avoided when fishing for perch. Because bait casters ideally require heavier weighted baits, bass tend to be the target species, not perch.
Our favorite brands of rods to target perch are the Ugly Stik, St. Croix Triumph, and Shimano Sensilite, to name a few.
On the budget end, the Ugly Stik and the Sensilite are really affordable and great for beginners. Both have really light options, which is preferred for perch. On the higher end, the St. Croix Triumph is over $100 and is a great option when you are looking to upgrade.
Having a light, sensitive rod is key. Without it, you won’t feel the perch biting because the bite can be so subtle.
For reels, there are a lot of options, just like with rods. For the sake of the article, all of these options will be spinning rods to be paired with the rods above. Just know that there are push-button reels on the market.
Three fantastic options that hit different budgets include the 13 Fishing Prototype X, Shimano Syncopate, and Shimano Nexave.
If you are just starting our or are on a budget, the Shimano Syncopate is an excellent option registering around $30. A slight jump up is the Shimano Syncopate at about $50. Finally, if you really want to go big, you can invest in the 13 Fishing Prototype X that is normally $160.
The next part of light and simple in terms of perch fishing gear is the line. When you have a light rod and light reel, you can’t have heavy line. It just won’t work.
We recommend that you use monofilament or fluorocarbon that is less than 6-pound test. Ranging from 4 to 6 pounds is general a good rule.
It is important to keep the line light because you don’t want to offset the sensitivity that comes from the rod. If you have heavy line, you’re defeating the purpose of keeping it light to register the bites.
Lures and hooks
Now that you have the rod, the reel, and the line, it is time to breakdown some of the best lures to use for perch. There are many things that can entice a perch to strike, but we will lay out a few right here!
Perch are very similar to bluegill in the fact that they will eat live bait. This includes worms, crickets, and minnows.
Berkley jar baits
These simulate live bait as the smell and texture are extremely similar. These are also really cheap and can be found in just about any fishing store.
These can take the shape of minnows, worms, and a little bit of everything that can be classified as a traditional live bait.
Swimbaits are excellent for bass and other types of fish, but when you scale them down, they can be great for perch.
Perch love heavy cover, so throwing in a weedless swimbait into cover can be excellent as they usually imitate minnows.
Using swimbaits is a great way to actively fish rather than your baits just sitting there with a bobber.
In a similar sense as the swimbait, throwing a small craw on a hook can be a really good presentation.
You must keep your hook size in mind when gearing up. Because perk are small fish, you can’t use the same hooks as you would with bigger fish. So, keep them small, and if you use jigs or swimbait hooks, make sure they are appropriate for perch.
Assemble the rest of your gear
Since we have already laid out a lot of the essential fishing gear needed to target perch, this section is dedicated to the add-ons and accessories that may not be required, but they will definitely help.
Depending on what type of bait you are using, having a bobber on deck can be a difference-maker.
These will let you know when there are bites, so you don’t miss them.
You need something to store all of your tackle in.
This will help you stay organized and keep your gear in good shape before using.
Stringer or cooler
If you are fishing for food, you will need some way to store the fish once they are caught.
The two best ways to keep them is in either a cooler or a stringer. If you want to keep them alive while you finish up your fishing excursion, you should use a stringer. This keeps them alive and fresh until it is time to leave.
Especially in cold weather, you might just want to throw them in a cooler and call it a day.
If you are lucky enough to have a boat, or access to one, you can invest in a fish finder. These are sonar electronics that help you take a look under the water and see if there is any movement. This can be especially helpful when scouting out new waters.