HOW TO CATCH PERCH?
Perch fishing can be a blast, if you bring kids with you - even the small ones are great to reel in! If you're out for some food or just good times and you find out how to catch jumbo perch, you can sometimes think you've hooked into a decent sized bass - especially if you live in an area like me, which is on the doorstep of Ontario's Lake Simcoe. This article should hopefully show you how to catch Perch from a beginners point of view.
WHAT IS A JUMBO PERCH?
So what IS a jumbo perch? Well here in Ontario, a Jumbo Perch is any Perch over 10 inches long. In Lake Simcoe you can see Perch in the upwards area of 15 inches and get up to roughly a pound-and-a-half!
WHAT KIND OF LURES DO JUMBO PERCH LIKE?
How do you catch these Perch? After the last few years I've put together a few lures and presentation suggestions that seem to work for me. The first thing would always be live bait. Minnows are good, so are maggots, meal worms and sometimes even red worms - any type of 'meat' really. If fish are in the area, real bait will always out-fish lures or plastics. That's the easiest way to catch Perch.
Now if you like more of a challenge, there's a few lures you can try. With perch, you of course want to bring down the size of the lure you're using. We've covered the usual line up in our other article Top 5 Perch Ice Fishing Baits but I wanted to show you a new one that I've recently found: Lunkerhunt's Tungsten Full Effect Jig. As you can see from the video below, I did well with this micro bait.
WHERE CAN I FIND JUMBO PERCH?
To catch Perch, you have to find Perch. From what I've found, Perch are accessible pretty much all year but the big ones tend to move away from the areas the smaller fish stick to in the other seasons. In winter I feel the best times are first ice, which is usually late December and then again when it gets closer to ice out - usually March. Personally I switch to Perch when the Whitefish season ends in early March.
Finding Jumbo Perch can sometimes just be a matter of finding a good looking spot and waiting for them. You'll want to position yourself in an area where they're going to come to and it can sometimes take a bit of time, I usually give it about an hour before I pack up and move.
The best places to find Jumbo Perch, from what I've found, is finding a big flat that's close to deeper water. That tends to work well for me. When I say close to deep water, that can be a sudden drop or a slow gentle taper into that deeper water.
WHAT DEPTH DO JUMBO PERCH LIKE IN THE WINTER?
Finding Jumbo perch can sometimes be difficult and I've had to move around sometimes to find them. I've been in the 10ft - 20ft of water recently and I usually hunker down in the middle of it and wait for them to cruise by, looking for food. Now this may change in the future if I find they congregate better near the drop off or in some transition lines but for right now, this has been working for me.
HOW DO YOU GET FINICKY PERCH TO BITE?
To catch them, it's as simple as lure them over, offer something that's delicious and catch them. Luring them over can be done with a spoon or something that's going to displace water or make noise. As our Top 5 Perch Ice Fishing Baits article and David Chong video below has mentioned a few of these I won't go too far in depth with this.
How do you tease jumbo Perch into biting? Once you have the fish in, you offer them something delicious. Now the lure might look delicious already and you just have a one lure presentation like David Chong uses - or you can offer them live bait or a second lure.
In previous years adding a minnow to a buckshot spoon has completed both tasks. So far this year, I've been calling them in and catching them with the Lunkerhunt Full Effect jig. I don't think it does a great job of calling them in but I wanted to test out this lure and was too lazy to rig up a second one. Moving it really isn't needed too much. I actually find quite the opposite - letting it sit does the job. You may need a very slight wiggle if they're reluctant but you'll be still again, right after the wiggle.
Another thing that's suggested is having a dead-stick bait. That's usually your live bait rig. You can have that in the hut with you or, if I could suggest, out from your hut a little bit. I'd put it closer to the next point of interest, a drop off, weeds, point - whatever may be close by. Most lakes offer the option to have a second line in the water and you should take advantage of it. Try using a JawJacker or a Tip Up of some sort.
Perch are aggressive fish usually and as long as you can find the size they're willing to put in their mouth, you should be able to get them to bite. I've had to move down to a single small tungsten before but from what I've experienced, I've not had to go that small for the bigger fish.
I know the ice is getting old at this point but we're going to have to deal with it for a bit longer, why not enjoy it with some Perch fishing. Get out, get some fun fish and let me know how you made out!