How to Catch Perch

Two Parts:Getting the Right GearFishing for Perch

Perch are a common freshwater fish, and popular among fishermen. There are different species around the world, and the yellow and white varieties are found in the United States. Perch is one of the most popular panfish to eat, and is very sweet and flavorful. Perch are normally about 7 to 9 inches long, with any that reach 10 or more inches called "jumbos."

Part 1
Getting the Right Gear

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    Get the proper equipment. This usually means getting a rod, reel, and some fishing line to spool on. The rod should only need a 6 to 8 pound test. Perch are smaller fish, and do not require complicated or expensive equipment.[1]
    • You may also want a cooler or stringer to hold you fish, especially if you catch several, or want to keep fishing after a catch.
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    Get the right bait. Live bait is best, and perch prefer minnows and insect larva. Many anglers have also found crayfish meat to be popular with perch as well.[2]
    • Get the right lures. If you can't get live bait, artificial lures such as plugs, jigs, and spinners are good ways to draw in perch. [3] Yellow, white, and yellow-white designs seem to be the most popular, but perch have been known to favor other colors and designs.[4]
    • Perch are smaller fish and move quickly, so you'll need a lure that reacts to less movement and is easy for you to keep an eye on.[5]
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    Get a fishing license. Some states require a fishing license depending on where you fish and what kinds of fish you are searching for. Make sure you know your state's laws, and that your license is up to date.[6]
    • Be sure to check if the license comes with any catch limits. You don't want to get in trouble for taking too many fish. Plus, that isn't fair to other anglers.

Part 2
Fishing for Perch

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    Go out at the right time of day. Like other fish, perch are most active when feeding, so if you want to catch one, this is when you should be out there. The time of day they feed depends on the season you are fishing. These are some general guidelines, as the best feeding times can change day by day.[7]
    • During late spring and early summer, early morning and early evening hours are best.
    • During late summer, late afternoon and evening is best.
    • In autumn, the best times are morning, and late afternoon evening.
    • During the winter, the low light of late afternoon-evening is good.
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    Find a spot with deep water. Perch like areas with deep water and structures that block sunlight and provide them places to hide.
    • Boat fishing is a good way to get into deep water, and allows you to move quickly if fish aren't biting or the school moves.
    • Shore or dock fishing are good places to catch perch. They like the shelter of man-made objects, and can usually be found near overhanging trees or other cover.[8] If you are near the shore, look for areas that will have a steep drop-off into deep water. Your state's Department of Natural Resources may have topographic maps to locate these spots.[9]
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    Cast your bait. There are a variety of methods you can use to attract perch.[10] Perch, and other fish, like to feed off the ground, so you will need to make sure your line can go deep into the water.
    • Bait casting. Cast your line out into an area where the fish might be. Let it sit for a while, reeling in if you feel the need to recast. Aim beyond the point you want to hit, as it's always easier to pull your line back.
    • Still fishing. This involves dropping your line into the water and letting it sit, seeing if the fish come to you. You can do this from the shore, a dock or pier, or an anchored boat. This method involves the most patience, as you will not do much more than sit and wait for the fish to bite.
    • Trolling. Drop your line into the water, and move, letting your line drag through the water. You can do this by having your boat move slowly through the water, or by walking slowly along a shoreline or pier. If you are in a boat, you will need to keep the engine running lightly to avoid scaring the fish. Some states do not allow motorized trolling, so make sure you are familiar with regulations before trying it.
    • Ice fishing. Perch are active in the winter, so you can still catch them even in water that is frozen over. Fish in the winter are move more slowly, so if you find them they probably won't go to far. With the thick ice, having an electronic fish finder can help you figure out the best place to cut into the ice.
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    Get a bite. Perch are light fish, so you will have to be quick about noticing when you get a bite. Once you see your line move, set your hook by pulling up quickly on the rod. As you reel in the line, pull your rod upward as well. You don't want to pull too hard, as you might pull your hook out of the fish.
    • It may help to have a bucket or small net to hold the fish once you get it out of the water.
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    Keep fishing if you catch one. Perch are schooling fish, so if you find one, you'll find many more. Once you find a school, keep re-baiting your hook to get as many as possible. Schools move around, so if your catches dry up, you'll need to move.[11]
    • By the same token, if you aren't catching any fish, move. Perch stay in their schools, and if they aren't in one place, look for another one.


  • Perch are notorious bait stealers, so keep an eye on your lures.
  • If you are in a boat, make sure to wear protective gear such as a life preserver.
  • If you go fishing in the winter, make sure you are able to stay warm and dry, especially if you plan on going into the water at any point.

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Categories: Fishing