Perch Ice Fishing Tips: The Best Techniques For Catching Them

Perch is an awesome fish to seize. They're not too hard to find and they taste awesome! They often feed off of small invertebrates like insect larvae, freshwater shrimp, and crustaceans.

You might have the idea that ice fishing is difficult or that it’s just for people who live in cold climates. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! You don’t need to live in a place with ice and snow to enjoy this activity.

Ice fishing is a fun and popular pastime for anyone who loves to fish and enjoys spending time outdoors, and it can be enjoyed year-round in many areas of the country. Here, are some tips to get started with ice fishing this winter.

Here, are some great ice fishing tips for perch that will help you catch them more easily.

But before that…

What is Yellow Perch?

Yellow perch is the most prized of the freshwater panfish. Also known as “perch” or “wall-eyed pike”, this fish is closely related to walleye and sauger and can be found in great numbers in deep lakes and large rivers throughout North America.

Yellow perch range from two to six pounds and can be found in both deep and shallow waters. They typically inhabit areas that offer plenty of vegetation for cover, rocky bottoms, and sandy or gravel surfaces that are located near deeper water.

Yellow perch feed mainly on small baitfish like gizzard shad, alewife, smelt, whitefish, emerald shiner, fallfish, golden shiner, and young lake trout. You can also find them eating crayfish, insects, leeches, small mussels, snails, and other invertebrates.

Is it an Active Fish?

Yes, this fish is very active in the ice-fishing season. It’s an aggressive species that does not need to be pursued aggressively. As long as you can find their habitat, they are usually very willing participants in the ice fishing experience.   

How do I Catch Them?

Catching them isn’t difficult at all, so long as you have the right tools and tips for ice fishing. Some great techniques work especially well when targeting this species in lakes or ponds near vegetation where they like to school up in large numbers.

When fishing for perch through holes drilled in the ice, simple jigging will get the job done! Just attach your favorite natural bait on your line and drop it down into any hard-to-reach areas of the water column. It’s best to use medium action spinning gear with a light line while ice fishing for panfish-like perch. You’ll get more perch this way.

Another great technique for catching these fish is to take advantage of their natural feeding habits and set up your line with a small, live minnow on the end. A quick drop down into schools of perch often results in numerous hookups! This is one of the best ice fishing techniques that get lots of bites during panfish season.

Here are some tips and techniques that you can use to attract perch:

Drill Multiple Holes

Drill more than one hole in the ice to increase your chances of catching perch. 

Use Entry Holes Near Weed beds

One of the best ways to catch panfish this time of year is by using entry holes! Make sure you’re fishing near weed beds, docks, or any other areas where you can find perch feeding. When ice fishing for yellow perch, targeting these types of locations is a great idea if you want to catch lots of fish.

Fish Lures with Natural Bait Attached

Big, flashy lures are unnecessary when ice fishing for yellow perch. Instead, opt for small jigs and bait rigs with live minnows attached. You don’t need anything fancy because perch are somewhat easy to get. They stop at nothing when they see a small, live baitfish swim by!

Target Shallow Water

Try ice fishing for perch in shallow water. The best time to do this is during the day because large schools of fish will form along any weed lines or other submerged vegetation patches.

If you can find these types of habitats, you should be able to get plenty of bites since these panfish are especially aggressive during this season. When searching for perch, look for areas that have lots of weeds sticking out from the bottom. These are areas where numerous minnows typically hide which makes them perfect spots to target when ice fishing for perch.

Use a Plain Hook

Remember that you don’t need to use anything too fancy when ice fishing for perch. A few fish can easily get hooked rigged with a minnow is all you need!

Crimp Your Hook

Secure the minnow to the hook by crimping it. This will prevent the minnow from slipping off or getting a bit off by another fish.

Don’t Make Any Noise

Yellow perch are easily spooked when ice fishing, so try to be as silent as possible when you’re bringing your line back in after each cast. If you make even a moderate amount of noise while ice fishing for perch, they’ll move away towards more peaceful waters where they feel safer! Always remember that these panfish are timid and can be scared away very quickly if you’re not careful.  

Be Patient When Catching Perch

One thing to remember when catching these guys is that it may take some time before you’re able to land one. They’re not as aggressive as bluegills and crappies, so it may take a longer time before you get a bite.

So long as you use the tips we’ve provided here along with patience and determination, catching plenty of perch during the ice fishing winter season is definitely possible!

Best Ice fishing Lures

Minnow Head Jig

A minnow head jig is an excellent ice fishing lures because it has the profile of a minnow. When ice fishing for perch, you can cast this jig near any weeds or other structures in the water to have success. This is one of the best ways to seize these fish!

Bait Rigs

Bait rigs are another effective way to seize panfish this time of year. To use them, simply attach your favorite bait right on the end of your line. You can even add more than one bait rig if you want by using snap swivels between each one to create different dropper loops.

Live Bait

Live Baits are always popular when ice fishing because they offer an excellent bait option that is easy to use. All you have to do is attach the minnow right to your hook and cast away any time of day.


Grubs are great lures for perch since these small, versatile baits can be fished under many different conditions. They’re one of the most commonly used lure types while ice fishing, so you should definitely try throwing them if nothing else!


Spinners are another good fishing lures to use when targeting yellow perch. You can fish with them by either casting or trolling, which means there’s not much difference between this type of lure and live bait when

Flash Lures

Flash lures are great fishing lures because they have a shiny, almost glitter-like quality to them. This type of lure is an excellent choice when the panfish you’re targeting seems a bit more sluggish during the winter months since flash lures typically to get fish in colder weather conditions.


Crickets are another good all-around bait to use while ice fishing for perch because these small creatures can be used under nearly any circumstances. They should work especially well when trying to get the fish early in the morning or late at night when other types of live bait will not. To fish with crickets, simply insert a single cricket on your hook and cast away! Be sure to use a bob

Jig Head

Jig heads are another effective ice fishing lure to use when catching perch. To rig one up, tie the jig head onto your line before adding a grub or piece of minnow for weight.

Wax Worms

Waxworms are perch’s favorite meal, so they’ll definitely take many of these if you’re using them as bait. To fish with waxworms, simply use a needle to thread the worm onto your hook like you would anything else.

Small Minnow

Small minnow baits are ideal for catching these small fish because the profile of a minnow is very similar to that of a real perch! By using one, you’ll be able to get many bites while ice fishing.

Related: Review our Top Guide for Ice Fishing Rods

Where to Locate Perch?

While ice fishing for perch, you should always try to fish near any structure. These fish prefer to hide around anything that has sunken logs or fallen trees, so it’s best if you use your sonar to find these types of things and cast them there first.

Small Pods of Weeds

These are also great places to fish when ice fishing, so be sure to try them out if you come across any.

Northern Vermont

While perch don’t get very big in this particular area, they’re still fun to catch and can be found during the winter months if you know where to look for them!

Deep Water

One of the best places to fish for perch this time of year is deep water areas since these fish tend to spend a lot of their time near the bottom during winter. You can find them anywhere over 12 feet deep, but try fishing closer to 20 if you can.

Warm Water Seeps

Another great place to look for perch is warm water seeps, which are basically small patches of warmer water where they love to swim around in. Try using sonar or your depth finder to locate these spots if you want a good chance at targeting some large perch.

Once the sun starts going down, these small panfish like to swim towards the surface in order to feed, so you can even try fishing for perch by simply casting a bobber and worm right onto the ice. These fish will quickly engulf it when they’re hungry.

How To Catch Perch Using A Tip Ups?

To seize perch using a tip-up, simply add your favorite bait to one of the holes on the ice. These small fish will then come out from underneath, bite the hook, and you’ll know when they’re caught because your tip-up flag will pop up!

Who Likes To Catch Perch?

These small panfish are the anglers prefer to fish because they’re so abundant and easy to get. Everyone who likes to ice fish should be able to seize a few perch, and they’re even a pretty popular choice for kids since they’re not that hard to reel in!

What Time is Best for Catching Perch?

By far, the best time to go fish for perch during ice fishing season is in the early morning or late evening hours. These are prime feeding times for this type of fish so you’ll be able to get more bites by targeting them at this time!

Why Go Ice Fishing Perch?

If you’re looking to seize some easy-to-get panfish when ice fishing, perch are the best choice because they’re abundant and popular for a lot of different reasons. You can find them in almost every state, they taste great, and the bites from these fish are even pretty fun!

How to Be a Perch Anglers?

To be a perch anglers is not easy, because to be a successful angler you should know much more, like good fishing techniques. To be able to seize a perch every day you need to follow some rules like when ice fishing perch is best during the morning and late evening hours.

Also, remember that the best places to find perch are around any type of structure or vegetation on the bottom of your lake or river as well as deep water areas closer to 20 ft. Usually, these fish will hang out around 12 feet under but can sometimes also go as low as 10 depending on the time of year and how cold it is outside.

Pro Tips from Perch Anglers

  1. Be careful to choose the right bait. In this case, you can use any type of shiner minnow or small suckerfish because perch are not picky eaters at all!
  2. Remember to always check your lines and tip-ups every half hour when it’s cold outside in order to avoid rot and rust.
  3. Check out your fishing hole before fishing a perch in the morning, and it’s also good practice to mark down where they school together so you can come back later if you need to! This is especially helpful if there isn’t anyone else who wants your spot because chances are they’ll move somewhere else.

Final Thoughts on Ice Fishing Tips for Perch

Since these types of fish spend most of their time near the bottom during winter, it’s best to fish over 12 ft. if you can and even closer to 20 ft. if possible! Use your depth finder or sonar to find these spots and mark them down for later this winter!

When fishing perch, always try using a tip-up because that way you’ll know exactly when one is caught as your flag will pop up off of the line. You can also simply cast a bobber and worm onto the ice as well since they like to come to the surface at night time in order to feed on bugs!

I hope you enjoyed reading about how to fish for perch under the cold this year during the fishing winter season!