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How to Catch Perch: Fishing Tips and Techniques

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Perch fishing is a very common activity for many people, regardless of their age or background. Perch can live near fresh or seawater and are found commonly in Canada and the United States.

Perches are known as a good fight when it comes to catching one, which is why this fish has been popular throughout history. Before going in-depth we’ve provided a couple of simple perch fishing tips for you and they are the following:

  • Use live bait such as grasshoppers and worms. Earthworms are a great choice because they work well and will stay alive longer.
  • Don’t use artificial lures if you can help it.
  • If you are using live bait, make sure the hook is small enough that it doesn’t hurt the bait.
  • Use deep hole to your advantage.

Before reading further, feel free to check out this video if you’re more of a visual learner on catching perch.

When to Fish for Perch

The best time to fish for Perch is mostly on a day that is relatively warm and during the sun’s high hours. This means that the best time of year to find perch is usually from early springtime all throughout summer, but there are some exceptions as not every place has the same seasonal weather as others.

If you are fishing for perch in the morning or afternoon, chances are you will have the best luck. This is typical because that is when they are by far the most active. They will likely swim around at the top of freshwater, looking out for food such as other fish, insects, worms, larvae, and so on.

Where to Catch Perch

The best place to catch perch are the following:


Pools are typically small “creek-like” spots that end up draining into larger ponds or lakes. These areas are often deep and have little to no current, which is perfect for getting the best possible chance of catching Perch.

This spot is also great because you can access it easily by either walking through shallow water or driving right to it. Pools are ideal spots because the fish do not have to go very far out of their way at all in order to get food, so they come back quite frequently.


Perch love hiding under rocks or plants found near shorelines, especially if there is a drop-off nearby. If you happen upon this type of area, try dropping your line along the rocks and you might be able to catch a couple of perch easily.

This spot works well because the fish will not see your line since it is hidden under the rocks.


Cutting off the tip of piers are great places to find perch, especially on windy days where they can’t really go anywhere. When fishing at pier tips, try dropping your line so that it hits right next to where they are swimming underneath or around on top of.

It’s important to note that even if there aren’t any perch visible, don’t trust this and set up someplace else as more than likely they are living somewhere nearby.

Narrows (Water Crossings)

Narrow areas in between two bodies of water are a great place to find perch. These spots are often referred to as water crossings and have a thin area of land that separates them both where the fish will congregate.

This is ideal because they can easily move from one body of water to another, making it an easy spot for catching perch.


This might sound strange but if you happen across a tree and there isn’t any current nearby (if there was, the fish would swim away), try dropping your line right next to the trunk and lift it up ever so slightly off and on.

You can even try doing this along with logs or rocks without much current since those fish will likely be living under those as well.

Rocks (Slope)

Along steeper rocks where there is a good deal of vegetation are likely to have perch, especially if the area has flattened out at the bottom.

If you can’t get straight into the water (it might be too shallow or rocky), tie your line off onto some branches and take steps back. This way, you will still be able to easily access it when you need to change your bait.

Boat Ramps

Ramps are great because they act like smaller versions of piers in the sense that fish tend to congregate around them very frequently. They provide shelter for fish which is why they like using these areas.

Techniques for Perch

Fishing for Perch can be done in a few different ways, but the key to success is that you need to be very observant. This way, you can determine where they are at and what technique you need to use in order for success.


A typical way of fishing for perch is with a drop shot rig. To do this, attach your line to your rod using either a uni-knot or other main knot (such as the improved clinch knot ). Once you have it attached, tie on one swivel about 18 inches up from the bottom so that there’s enough line left to cast. Then tie on another swivel onto the top one. On this second swivel attach about 6-12 inches of fluorocarbon line which will act as your leader.

After this is done, tie on your main line to the bottom one and about 5 inches above it attach a hook baited with whatever you want. Once this rigging is complete, cast out and let the weights pull your rig straight down in order for you to get right next to where they are hiding at. If you see any sort of bite or feel something tugging on your line, set the hook by lifting up sharply but smoothly.

Spincast Fishing

If using spin cast gear, simply attach a swivel to either end of the line. Tie the top one onto a uni-knot or other knot onto your rod and then attach the main line onto it. At this point, you can either tie on a hook with bait or use one that is already attached to your line if you have one prepared.

Lure Fishing

Using lures such as crankbaits, jigs and spoons is another way to catch perch. Since they like vegetation and structures such as rocks, using natural-looking ones for the cover should do well. If you want something more enticing, try using bright-colored lures along with ones that make noise since these will be more visible to them and help call them in closer.

Live Bait Fishing

There’s no reason why live bait fishing shouldn’t work just as well as any other technique. If you have perch in your area, try to find some small minnows or even grass shrimp since both are a great bait to use when fishing for them.

The important thing is that you watch your line at all times so you can detect bites faster rather than later. Bites might not be visible depending on how the fish takes the bait but if there’s a change of movement or direction of your rod, set the hook by raising up and reeling down immediately.

Gear for Perch

The following gear for Perch fishing is listed as follows:  

Rod & Reel:   A medium/light rod with a good amount of flex should be your best option. The reason for this is that lighter rods give you more sensitivity which in turn helps to detect bites faster and effectively.

If you’re using spin-cast gear, it’s recommended to use a spin-cast combo for perch since these don’t have spinning reels and will last much longer than other types.

We’ve also selected 5 of our best fishing rods for perch in our most recent buyer’s guide page. It’s a great place to start with incase you’re having a hard time nailing down what’s the right choice for you when it comes to catching perch.

Line: Using a 4 or 6lb test should work just fine when fishing for perch since they aren’t the largest fish out there. Depending on the type of location you are at, consider using braid if there is quite a bit of vegetation present. This way, it is less likely for your line to get tangled up and break.

Leader:  When using a drop shot rig for perch, leaders aren’t needed unless you are fishing in locations with grass or other vegetation present. It isn’t recommended to use fluorocarbon since the sun can cause it to weaken over time which might cause your line to snap. Instead of this, just use a monofilament leader from about 4-6 inches long depending on how much cover is around.

Lures/Live Bait:  By far one of the best lures out there when fishing for perch is live bait. Minnows can be used if you’re able to find them or small grass shrimp which work great as well! Crankbaits, spoons, and jigs can also be very effective when the water is clear.

Polespear Fishing

If you’re trying to catch perch using a polespear, all you need is an ordinary one along with bait to use as well. Grass shrimp or minnows are what you’ll want to set your sights on depending on where you are fishing at. For best results, try attaching them directly onto your speargun since simply impaling them isn’t enough for long-term survival. Catching Perch Using Polespears

To catch perch using a polespear, follow these steps:  

Find some grass shrimp (or minnows) and stab it through its body near the head using your spear.

Attach the shrimp/minnow to your spear by using a stringer, some thread, and a needle. To do this, first, impale the bait onto your speargun.

Then tie one end of the string about 5 inches away from the body around the shaft of your spear. Now use your needle to pierce through both sides of the string near where it overlaps.

Next, go through one side of the shrimp (or minnow) and then out through its other side before pulling it tight so that it is attached securely to the pole.

Attach a couple more pieces of bait this way until you have at least 4 or 5 on there before heading out into open water that contains perch.

Rigs for Perch

There are many different types of rigs that can be used when fishing for perch. Each one is intended for a particular type of location (i.e. clear water or vegetation) and for catching different sized perch (small, medium, or large). Let’s go over the most common ones below:

Fall F Rig  – This setup is best used when fishing in vegetation along weed lines. It allows you to fish the bait at various depths (more specifically, 6-12 inches above the bottom depending on current speed). To make this rig, attach 2 sinkers onto your line with beads in between them about 12 inches apart.

Then tie your hook on about 18-inches above this by doubling up your line and tying it at both ends before trimming it with your scissors. The reason for doubling up the line is because this causes the hook to hang vertically which in turn allows it to catch more perch that are cruising through vegetation looking for food.

Double Dropper Rig  – This rig is great if you’re fishing in deep water (about 20 feet or deeper) and isn’t intended for use where there is much vegetation present. It works by using 2 hooks instead of one which increases your chances of catching bigger fish.

To make this rig, simply attach 2 small/medium hooks onto your line above each other using swivels so that both are about 12 inches apart. Next, tie your main line around these by doubling it up right before attaching the hooks.

T rig with a Bobber  – This setup is best if you’re fishing in deep water (15 feet or deeper) and the structure you’re trying to fish at consists of many dead trees or logs sticking up from the bottom. To make this rig, attach a bobber stop about 12 inches above your mainline on your fishing pole before attaching one end of your leader (from 2-6 feet long depending on depth) into it and then tying another bobber stop onto this.

Next, connect 3 more sections of the leader using bobber stops and tie all 4 ends together without any slack left in between them so that there is tension on the line when pulling up vertically.

After this, attach a hook to each section of the leader (one for small fish, 2 for medium, and 3 for large/extra-large) by attaching them about 12 inches above the main line.

Basic Information on Perch

Perch are freshwater fish that are common around the world. They are known for their ability to live in both highly saline and heavily polluted waters, so they can be found in places like Florida swamps and the Great Lakes of North America. Many species of perch are eaten by people all over the world, fresh or cooked in a variety of ways.

Perch swim using their pelvic fins (located below the gills) in tandem with pectoral fins (located on either side of the abdomen). Their skin is scaleless and soft which makes them easy prey in some bodies of water; they have tough scales in other bodies of water.

This duality is reflected when considering if they can live outside freshwater, as mentioned earlier. There is also a unique feature among perch in that their eyes can move independently of each other. This allows them to see prey from multiple angles.

Perch Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)

Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes or perches)

Family: Percidae (Perca and relatives) – contains about 20 genera with at least 280 species.

There are several different known types of perch, each related to a region such as the Great Lakes or Florida swamps. However, not all of them can be kept together in the same tank because they will fight over territory and may kill one another. The ones that can live together peacefully are listed below with their scientific names and breed size (when available), along with their location and some other basic information.

Breeding Size: 6-12cm (2.4-5in) for most; some of the smaller species may only get to be 1in long

Water Conditions: pH 6.5-8; 5-25 dGH; Temperature 17-24C (63.6-75F)

Common Locations: North America, Central America, Asia, Europe

Additional Information: A few of the species are burrow-nesters while most make nests on or near the water on land. Some are mouthbrooders while others give birth to live young. They are carnivorous and feed mostly at night when they hunt their prey. Many types of perch are popular choices for aquariums because of their natural beauty and ability to adapt well to different environments. These include blue/yellow perch, yellow perch, common perch, red-throat dace, sheepshead minnow.

Average Lifespan: 10-15 years

Perch as Food: Perch are eaten around the world. They are considered a delicacy in places like Japan, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and many other regions.