One of the most enjoyable fish to target during the ice fishing season has to be the Yellow Perch. Once the schools are located these fish are plentiful and they make some of the best table fare to be had. Perch are found throughout the interior of the Pacific Northwest in many freshwater lakes that are accessible during the winter months. Perch fishing is a great species of fish to take newcomers or young anglers ice fishing as it can offer non-stop action!
The key to a good day of ice fishing for Perch is to locate the schools. These fish tend to school up tight during the winter months, so once you locate one, you will locate others. Early ice season offers some of the best fishing for Perch and they will tend to bite anything you throw at them. In the first month of fish-able ice you’ll find Perch hanging around in shallow bay areas feeding on insects nestled among the weeded bottom. As the season progresses the fish will move out to a bit deeper water, holding on points and drop off ledges. Unlike its distant relative the Walleye, Perch don’t just hug the lake floor. They can vary from one foot off the bottom to suspending within a few inches from the ice surface. Start by targeting near the bottom and then work your way up the water column until you locate the school.
A good tactic in locating the school of Perch is to drill multiple holes in a crisscross pattern that covers an area of approx. 40 yards. Start fishing the hole closest to the shallow water first. I like to begin the day by jigging a small spoon such as a Sonic Bait Fish Jigging Spoon from Mack’s Lures, tipped with pink maggots, meal worms or even regular cocktail shrimp. Using a small spoon will help locate the active aggressive fish. If you don’t get any action within ten minutes move to your next hole and try again. Once you locate fish you’ll want to keep the school from leaving, this is when you should slow down your presentation. Once I get on top of an active feeding group of Perch I switch from a spoon to Mack’s Glo Hook or a plain hook tipped with bait. If the fish are near the bottom slap your presentation on the bottom to stir up silt as this will attract the fish even more as they’ll think it’s a feeding frenzy!
In no way are Perch trophy size fish but they do provide a lot of enjoyment to catch, especially during ice over. Once you get a grasp on the basic understanding on how to locate the active fish you will be in for an enjoyable day of non-stop ice fishing action! Not to mention, the white flaky meat of a Perch is a perfect ingredient to some great tasting fish tacos!
If you have any questions about Ice Fishing for Perch please find us on our BC Fishn’ Facebook Page.
Tight lines & please take a youth fishing!