Perch is one of the healthiest fish you should include in your diet. They’re packed with plenty of nutrients such as vitamin D, B12 and selenium components. If you want to enjoy eating this delicious perch fish, it’s best to go fishing for it.
You can also opt for fun ice perch fishing and come out of the water with something to eat. But since these fish are naturally curious with a high appetite, you might struggle to catch them. So you need to understand their habitat, feeding behavior and other tricks to pull them out.
If you’re planning for a perch ice fishing trip, this guide is for you as we’ll discuss the tips and techniques in detail.
Ice Fishing for Perch
Here are the basics to help you when perch ice fishing;
Identify Fishing Location
Before you set out for ice perch fishing, it’s better to know where to target them. Perch like hiding under structures like weed beds or sunken trees in early winter. You can also find them in submerged rocks or a dock.
But when you’re ready to cast, know that perch loves moving in schools. The perch schools also stay in varying locations and depths. You have to use the best tricks to get them out. However, this should not limit your ice perch fishing spot as the fish also loves transitional areas. For example, the spaces at the bottom where there’s both sand and mud.
However, you should target deeper waters or drop-offs as the season progresses. Perch will also roam about the water as they look for food, so you need to employ the best tricks to attract them and not drive them away.
The best thing about ice perch fishing is that you can do this any time of the day as they’re predators. You can also time them in their prime time, which is 90 minutes before the sun is up or sundown. But be ready for challenges as the perch may fail to bite while keeping enjoying the bait you throw its way.
Know The Fishing Gear to Carry
To be successful when ice perch fishing, identify all the equipment you’ll need to attract the fish’s attention. You will require perch lures for this. Live minnows have proven to be the best pick for perch ice fishing as they attract the fish easily. But you can also use artificial lures if you’re not into live baits.
You will also need fishing rods and reels for ice perch fishing. A fly style reel is a good pick as it will reduce the line and lure twist. If the lure twist is smaller, it’ll look more natural in water and make the line manageable on the reel.
Attach a rod with more backbone and a light tip to the reel. Having that space on the tip will allow you to spot bites before they feel the lure. Some of the artificial lures are swimbaits, spoons, jig heads and soft baits.
How To Fish for Perch in Ice Water
After identifying the right spot for ice perch fishing, you should start catching the fish. The best method you can use to catch these fish is to jig them out of the water. Use the tungsten jigs, which are heavy and will allow the jig to sink deeper and faster. The best thing about using these current jigs is that they’ve much bigger and stronger hooks preventing them from breaking or bending. The larger hooks are ideal for big perch ice fishing or if you’re using soft plastic.
You should finally fish the perch out of the ice water. To achieve this, use one of the most effective tricks, target on top of the moving school. If you succeed to catch one perch, you will confuse the rest, preventing them from moving.
Use a dropper jig to catch the perch out of the ice. It will help you create a presentation down the hole faster. Afterwards, the perch will hit the lure without feeling any resistance to the heavy bait.
Tips And Techniques to Use When Ice Fishing Perch
You’ll need the best techniques and tips to get the fish out of the ice to succeed when ice fishing perch. The following tips and strategies will help you;
Use More Than One Line
It’s better to use more than one fishing line to get a bumper harvest when ice fishing perch. You can, for example, have a dead stick and a flashy spoon. So, if the perch comes closer to the jig, they can decide to bite the minnow on the dead stick or the jig. If you opt for this method, let another angler have different jigging options so that the perch believes there is a lot of food in that area. Do this only if it’s legal.
Introduce Fresh Bait
Another trick that will make your ice perch fishing trip successful is keeping your baits fresh. Keep changing the live minnows, grubs or euro larvae. The fresh baits will attract the perch and prevent them from having a second thought when they want to bite.
Target The Bottom
Perch fish love staying deep in the water or around the transitional areas. If you want to catch them, jig to the bottom. You can jig 3 or 2 feet off the bottom. That’s the area you should target your jig to drop at. That depth will also attract the perch underneath after they spot the bait and come for it. Remember that perch is a curious predator and will come to see the new disturbance in the water.
Rely On Cameras to Spot Perch
It can be tricky spotting perch on the ice. However, if you use cameras, you’ll be able to see the schools of perch and how they behave in the water. Use a fish scout camera and see how they move toward your lure. Set the camera on down view mode to see the underwater surface. But if you’re targeting the perch in shallow waters, put it down in a hole above the ice.
Toss Baits Through Ice
As you know, perch love moving around in search of food, making it difficult to catch them. But as you’re ice fishing perch, you can trick them out of the water by cutting the minnows into smaller pieces and then cast them through the hole. The bait’s scent will bring perch closer and keep the school around the hole. This will enable you to catch more perch where this trick is allowed and reduce your time in the water.
Pound The Ground
If you want to attract the perch’s attention when fishing in ice, drop a heavy spoon and then tap the bottom for some time. Doing this will create clouds of sediments that the fish love. You’ll realize the perch is coming towards the sediment cloud in large numbers within no time. You’ll now pull each out of the ice without much struggle.
Use The Best Fishing Line
The best fishing line will enable you to catch more fish, especially when ice perch fishing in clear water. Use fluorocarbon or monofilament leader depending on the water conditions. Ensure the line is invisible to avoid repelling the suspicious fish.
Go For a Bigger Lure
Use bigger lures to avoid catching the smaller perch when ice fishing perch. The bigger the bait, the more fish you’ll attract and take home. This majorly depends on the size of fish you’re targeting. You’ll be happier after pulling a bigger perch from the ice, which is why upsizing the bait is better.
Revisit Certain Holes
As you’re busy perch ice fishing, you’ll realize that certain holes make you catch more fish. Take that to your advantage and revisit the specific holes after some time. The very reason that attracted them before will bring them out of their hiding place, and you’ll have enough catch for the day. It could be there’s a weed opening in the area, or it’s a good feeding location.
Learn To Let Go
There are instances when you can stay at a particular spot the whole day without a bite. This shouldn’t stop you or dampen your spirits. Instead, move on to the next area where you’ll see perch on your cameras or sonar. Don’t spend more than five minutes in a place if it proves to bear no fruit within that time. Keep moving until you are satisfied with the results.
Opt for sonars if you’re ice perch fishing in deeper water where underwater cameras are not effective. The sonar will help you know the size of fish you’re about to pull out. The sonar can also help you dodge bites from smaller perch and preserve your bait until the right size fish comes its way.
Use Lures Resembling Perch Food
Perch will be attracted to lures that look like their daily food. The bigger perch loves small bluegills, so use a shad that resembles it. Using the traps to attract the bigger perch’s attention without a bait can be advantageous on your side.
It’s best to have the right size in mind you want while perch ice fishing before you move to the water/ice. You can rely on the sonar to help you see the size of the approaching perch to decide whether to keep it or not.
You need to be prepared for ice perch fishing to catch up with the ever-running fish. When you’re ready well, you won’t waste much time in the water, especially if there’s no bite in a particular area. Instead, your mind will be on the holes that receive more bites.
Skim out the holes and have the best electronics to make your fishing experience better. Don’t forget to be ready for the real action. Drop the bait and wait for the perch to rush for it. It’s best to catch perch at specific times of the day. So, prepare well for ice fishing perch in the selected time, especially in the afternoon when the fish is fickler. Be ready to drop the line and lift it faster in such a time to attract more perch.
Go For Perch or Let It Come to You
Even though perch loves moving around, it’s best to go for them. Drill holes on large shallow flats when ice perch fishing to reach them easily. After getting out one perch, the rest of the school will come towards the spot, increasing your catch.
However, there is a time when patience will pay you more as you let perch come to you. If there’s no bite in the deep waters, try shallow waters. Jig some feet away from the bottom to capture the perch that are high up looking for food. But let your aim be to trick one out for the rest to follow.
When Is the Best Time for Ice Fishing Perch?
You will get more perch if you go to the water early before the sun rises. If you’re to go at sunrise, ensure everything is set and carry the right fishing gear. Set out half an hour before the sun comes up to enjoy the experience.
This is when perch are actively looking for food on their feeding ground. So, you can cut their trip short and trick them out. But you need to be keen as the morning bite is much faster than the evening one.
Alternatively, you can fish for perch in the evening as the sun sets. During such a time, zooplankton moves from the bottom of the water to the top surface, attracting fish to feed on them. This time, the perch will be looking for food before returning to the bottom of the water. So, time them and use the best technique to pull them out.
Ice perch fishing may seem easy before you reach the water. Once in the water, things will become thicker, and the best tips and techniques are what will save your back. Use any of the above methods or tricks as this guide has elaborated and have more catch.
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