Odds & Ends
Remember when you were a kid - and loved to go perch fishing? No pressure, no fancy and costly equipment, just simple fun?
Many anglers, and even some of the 'pro' fisher-folk are again REDISCOVERING the yellow perch. This pristine flavored fish found throughout much of North America's freshwater bodies is allowing many fisherpeople to shed some of the stress associated with the fast pace of today's society. And little actual equipment is needed, so the 'lowly' perch is easily within most people's grasp!
Indeed, many of us just want to go FISHIN' - FOR THE FUN OF IT. Perch fishing allows one to go fishing, catch good catchers of some of the finest, and most delicate flavored fish we have, with no pressure, without thousands of dollars of 'Hi-tech' equipment - AND HAVE A BALL!
Perch fishing offers us a chance to roll away the years, and for that brief fishing excursion at least, be a 'kid' again - and have some excellent eating to boot!
Perch can be caught at any time of the year, and usually are willing biters, provided we can get our small bait in front of them.
Some waters hold jumbo perch, and often these are quite deep – and I've found that ardent fishers can learn how to get on these, and I have an audio Cd explaining about these 'more difficult' perch – and how to affectively catch them...ardent perchists can contact me if interested...
Here you'll find the 'perchy' basics, which will give anyone a great 'shot' at catching perch - and for free!.
Perch can be caught in many freshwater bodies, and without a lot of expensive equipment! One can catch good catches of perch from many North American streams, lakes, inpoundment - nearly any waterbody. This offers EVERYONE great opportunity to catch a 'mess' of perch for a meal of the finest eating available ANYWHERE!
OFTEN you don't need a boat, and in most
cases you will be able to find areas near your home where
you'll be able to harvest good catches right from shore. If
you have a small boat or canoe - or even a magnificent hundred
foot yacht, you'll too be able to participate in this fishy
perch are for the most part, aggressive biters. Good
places to catch perch are from boat docks, piers along harbors,
breakwaters and the like, in larger waterbodies. Too,
perch can easily be caught right from shore along stream/rivers,
ponds, inland lakes and inpoundments. Look for clear 'fishable'
spots just off weedbeds, etc..where
you can wet a line without too much interference with weeds.
Usually there are such places, even in the worst weed-choked
shorelines. Breaks/holes in a bed of lily pads, water
millfoil are especially appealing, if you can find them.
If you need information on where to go locally, nearly any bait/tackle shop in your area will be able to set you on your way with enough basic local information enough to catch perch. You'll be able to build on this information as time goes by, by trying new locations that look 'perchy', adding your own new-found 'perch patch's'!
Generally, I like to fish from shore in about six to fifteen feet of water for perch, and if you have the use of a boat/canoe, you'll be able to move around a bit, offering potentially more areas of water to fish. When fishing in deep waterbodies, I've had my best luck by fishing right next to shore near rapid and deep drop-offs. But I've also had good catches of perch in six feet of water, and even shallower depths, upon occasion. The time of year is often a crucial factor. Sometimes close-to-shore perch that are in-close to warm water and weeds may have the yellow grub in it's flesh - or worms - so DO candle the fish you catch, especially during warm weather/water. Perch, however, are a relatively cold water fish, and those found in deeper water are usually fine without worms nor the yellow grub. If you need more discussion about this - do contact me - that's what I'm here for.
When fishing for perch, bear in mind that these fish, like their larger cousin the walleye, are schooling fish (for the most part), and are 'migratory', and move around quite a lot. You could be fishing an area without even a nibble, then have a school of perch move in - and whammo- fish-on! If you catch one perch, you are very likely to catch more, simply because they are a schooling fish. The secret - once fish 'move in' - get that bait/hook back into the water as quickly as you can. Just as perch 'move in' they'll also 'move out', and your fishing success may go dead again for a while.
You will find however, that some perch populations, especially in smaller ponds/lakes, may not school up a lot. These fish are the exceptions to the normal and general perch population. These more solitary fish can be caught easily though, once you've found the depth that these fish are in - stay within that same depth during the whole trip out, and cover territory by trying various places within that waterbody.
I like to use light tackle for perch, and (one of) the nicest, most sensitive set-ups I've found is a one piece five foot ultra light rod, rigged with a light, matching (the rod for weight and size), open faced spinning reel, sporting either two or four lb. test line. If pike or bass lurk in the same waters you are going to fish, it would be best to use the four lb test line, being sure you have the reel drag set lightly enough to accommodate one of these heavy-weights if they hit your bait! For those wishing to fish deep water of the great lakes, then you may be wise to use a light poundage braided line such as Spider Wire. If this is the case, do contact me for more discussion - I'd be pleased to coach you a bit.
Ultra light 'long' rod(s) can also be a sporting rig to use, especially if it is the lightest you can find in an eight foot, and even a nine foot rod would be fine. I've found that the UL's (rods) over nine foot in length are getting too top/front end heavy for my liking - but to each their own. These longer rods sometimes allow an angler advantages over the shorter rod when using 'pre set' bobber (often called 'stop bobbers') or split shot arrangement. This stop bobber arrangement is where one 'fixes' the depth of their rig at a certain depth, and this 'set' depth doesn't change. To fish with this set-up; simply either gently cast a short distance, or just let this outfit dangle in the water below the rod tip, moving the bait/hook location by moving the rod tip to a new location.
For terminal tackle, including bobbers, fish hooks and weight, I prefer to use size 6 hooks, and just enough weight to get the rig down to bottom. Perch can be aggressive biters or perhaps better described as willing biters. At times when they are incredibly finicky, and will bite very lightly. Perch will hit a bait/hook set up much more aggressively and quickly, without hesitation - if the bait/hook offering is not overly large. Indeed, catfisherpeople, often also fishing in 'perch' waters, using a huge piece of bait and hooks, rarely catch perch. If they had perch tackle, they'd never catch catfish, being plagued by perch - do you catch my drift?
I like to use the slip bobbers (one half inch in diameter), Most decent tackle/bait shops can show you/explain how these systems work - I urge you to learn how to use a slip bobber - they open a whole new realm of fishing for fishers. Here at the product page I carry inexpensive AMERICAN MADE slip bobbers. When I sell these floats I INCLUDE - for free - complete directions on how to rig them up and use them, unlike most places that sell slip bobbers. Make no mistake - this IS NOT a sales ploy - it truly would be a good technique for you to learn - they have a lot of fishing applications for other species as well. You can use a slip bobber set up in extremely deep water too - FAR deeper than you could expect to use the typical round spring style bobbers many people have in their tackle boxes.
I like to use small size 6 hooks, unsnelled. I never use the gold or nickel plated hooks because they don't break down as easily in a fish's digestive system if you loose the hook/fish. The bronze hooks break down within a couple of weeks in a fish's gut, and are not usually fatal - and they're much cheaper too!
Often, due to either current or water depth - or an obstinate minnow - we will need weight. I like to use either my slider weights or egg sinkers - easily available at most bait/tackle shops locally - and these are also some of the least expensive weights to use, as well. I will use one of my weight stackers on the rig, and a short foot long fluorocarbon leader next to the hook/lure/bait. You can also use a weighted jig head - as long as it isn't too big nor heavy!
ATTRACTOR HOOKS - YES
- I use these small attractor hooks very often, both weighted
(most often) and occasionally unweighted. These allow for a
colorful offering, and enough hook left to tag on a piece of worm,
minnow maggot or grub - all excellent perch bait. The idea is
that the added flash and zip the color adds will attract fish from
further away, once the fish gets closer, see's the 'real' bait
'tagged' onto the hook, will without hesitation - hit the
bait/hook set up - FISH-ON! (see my product section for
attractor hooks available)
Perch can and are often ICE FISHED as well. I cover ice fishing for perch to a high degree of expertise in my 'Ice Fishing Basics' book, and also elsewhere at this web page - do surf the ice fishing section out for more info/techniques! In 2012 I brought out an audio Cd on ice fishing for pefch along with bluegills and crappie!
ONCE YOU'RE at your desired fishin' location, simply bait up, cast out, and wait. Don't disturb the area too much by rummaging around. After the line/bait has set for several minutes, I'll gently 'trigger' the line with my finger, at the reel. This is done by gently, with a sort of taping motion - tap/trigger the line. Don't overdo this - even though you think that you aren't doing much, because of the line out, underwater currents etc, your bait/hook will be moving quite a bit from this simple process. If nothing happens doing this, wind in the line only about two to three feet( as a max.), then allow the bait to remain motionless again for a couple of minutes, and then do the 'triggering' thing again. Repeat this process until the line is almost right back to the boat/stream bank where you are fishing.
If you do catch a perch, be quick to re-bait up, and get the bait back into the water quickly, you have to keep their attention, or the school of perch may 'drift off', and you'll be 'out of fish'.
It's important to ALWAYS pay attention to the area, and more importantly THE DEPTH at which you've caught perch. Perch will often be found in/at a favored depth, which is likely at a water temperature they prefer. This is especially important in the hot summer months, and again in the dead of winter when ice fishing. Try to get your bait back into the water - AND AT the same DEPTH AT WHICH YOU CAUGHT YOUR FIRST PERCH OF THE DAY. Perch rarely suspend and are primarily a bottom feeder. I often use a small tag of crawler, minnow or other grub as live bait on my hook or jig. This can be small, and if you do not have access to a piece of live bait, the Berkely GULP! baits are superb also, in a pinch!
In the summer, this perch favored depth will likely be (relatively speaking - and to the waterbody you're fishing in) quite deep, and in the spring and very late fall may their favoured depth may be a bit shallower. I've caught perch in water sixty feet deep and deeper. Normally I will fish for perch in water that may be anywhere from six feet deep, to fifteen feet deep, most of the time. The reason I mention/include this major depth variance, is to illustrate that perch do move around, and will go deep during some conditions. Perch can be usually be caught with relative consistency at the 25 down to 40 foot mark in lakes that are very deep - but for the most part -stick to the shallower waters - you'll catch fish - and have a lot more fun. To go deep for perch is an 'animal unto itself' and takes special tackle/technique to accomplish - and I won't cover it here - wishing to remain 'simple' . If you are ardent and wish to learn more about deep dwelling perch in big lakes, then do consider my audio Cd on Perch Fishing Big Water where I go into great detail about perch, where to find them in big water - and techniques on catching them. I have a variety of these audio Cds for may topics.
Don't be afraid to try various jigging actions, and baits, and colors of attractor hooks or jigs; some days perch will 'hit' one color, and not another. Generally though, my favorite colors are: yellow, chartreuse, fuchsia ( a purplish-red), white, black, florescent pink, Flor.. red, and various combos of these colors.
For bait, in the 'dead' of the winter for ice fishing I use maggots, wax worms, minnows and SMALL PIECES of nightcrawler or Berkley GULP! baits.
In the summer, use larger pieces of bait, about a half of a night crawler( or less), large grubs and live minnows about one and a half inches long( as a max.). I use these in conjunction with attractor hooks or jig head set-ups.
1/ Use needle sharp hooks, and carry a hook hone in your tackle box
2/ Use small bait size/pieces - the smallest bait that you can get away with, perch don't hit huge pieces of bait as a rule
3/ Use a short sharp snap- but not a wicked jerk- when setting the hook
4/ Use the lightest line, and the smallest hooks and split shot that you can handle. If fishing deeper water, then you should consider using one of the newer fine braided lines such as Spider Wire. This will transmit a bite back to you better in very deep water or where you have a lot of line out.
5/ Use 'perch eyes' for bait only when you are into a school of perch. Other baits are much better to first attract them into your area. I have a Pro FactSheet on making/placing structure that can add fish to your take - I also describe this in several of my various books. Email me for more details if you wish!
6/ Use attractor hooks where possible, they'll give you that extra bit of color and zip needed to draw perch from a few feet further away, especially in muddy/turbid water
7/ I have developed a relatively new system for
drawing in perch and other panfish. It is called a "Feeding
Minnow Flash Attraction System" . I have also a published
book on the concept and how to use this method - which is FAR
BETTER than chum! This is for the extremely ardent who wish to
catch perch/panfish in big numbers. This is exclusive to me and
this site - do email me if you need further
2012 Update! New for 2012 are my audio Cds on a variety of topics including both open water fishing and ice fishing. Topics such as ( Open water) Walleye Fishing Inland Lakes: Walleye Fishing Rivers;
Walleye Fishing Precambrian Lakes: and a host of others....(Ice Fishing) Ice Fishing For Everyone ( set of 2 Cds):
Ice Fishing for Bluegill, Crappie & Perch: Ice Fishing for Walleye: Ice Fishing For Seniors...and a host of others...
Also new for 2012 – come to my neck-of-the-woods here on the North Shore of Georgian Bay for a variety of workshops – including ice fishing workshops! We have a clean & tidy campground here with access onto the Serpent River which flows into Georgian Bay ( approx a half mike away). So you can bring your own boat if you wish. They have RV hookup as well as tenting and cabins. There is also a small mom/pop Motel ( with Kitchenette Facilities of you wish) here for those not into camping.
Bring along your entire family – or fishin' buds and learn while on your holidays. My prices are reasonable, and I'll tailor a workshop to your schedule on most fishing and ice fishing subjects. Email me for pricing of my various workshops and details as well as any other questions you may have.
We also have superb ATV trails here, and a wonderful night sky-scape – campfire smoke – a true northern experience...John A. Vance