One of the most popular fish to go ice fishing for is the perch. There are a couple of reasons for this, perch are readily available in many lakes and ponds and they are fairly easy to target and catch through the ice. Ice fishing for perch is also a popular winter time activity because perch are extremely tasty, in fact these fish are well known as being among the tastiest fish that swim in freshwater. Below you will find some helpful tips to help you catch as many perch as you would like the next time that you head out onto your favorite lake to go ice fishing for perch.
As with other fish species, perch are more susceptible to be caught through the ice when light conditions change, so the mornings and/or evenings are usually very productive times of the day to be fishing for perch. Perch also tend to “school up” and suspend over deep water during the winter, whereas during other seasons, perch are spread out over an entire lake. This is an advantage to catching lots of perch, as long as you can locate a school.
A simple “rule of thumb” when it comes to ice fishing for perch is that during the early winter they can be found in area’s that perch are found in other seasons (shallow weed beds or just of of a shallow weed line) and during mid-winter perch migrate, school up, and suspend over the deepest basin to their prior haunt. As late winter approaches, perch tend to head back to shallow weed beds to get ready to spawn as the ice melts and spring begins. Depth finders and electronics make finding areas such as the ones outlined above easy, although so does an intimate knowledge of the lake that you are fishing from fishing it at other times of the year. In any case, when fishing for perch through the ice begin your search by following the simple “rule of thumb” outlined above and finding the perch will be easier.
The next thing to consider when ice fishing for perch is the the type of bait or lure to use. No matter what lure you choose to use when ice fishing for perch the best method for catching perch through the ice is jigging. The most popular jigs to use while ice fishing for perch are: small lead head or buck tail jigs, small flash spoons such as kastmasters or Swedish pimples, and swimming jigs such as a Rapala jigging rap or Nils master jigger.
All of the above lures/baits are productive when jigged through the ice, but whichever type of jig or lure you are using will be much more productive when the jig is “tipped” with maggots, a grub, a small minnow, or even perch eyes. An extra piece of “live” attractant is usually more than a perch can handle and will trigger a bite. The next time that you head out onto the ice in search of perch, keep these simple tips in mind and you will have a bunch of perch laying next to your your hole or holes in the ice, I promise you.