Perch fishing seems to be a big deal around here, that may be because we have one of the BEST perch fisheries in the province - right in our back yard.
I'm talking about Lake Simcoe. If you haven't had the opportunity to fish the crystal clear Canadian waters of Simcoe - book a trip. Winter time seems to bring people out in droves. There's days on the weekend where large flats have hundreds of ice huts on them, jigging for our Jumbo sized perch. 16" perch are often seen here - that's the size of a good small sized Bass!
Just a few years ago, I decided to take up Ice fishing as a past time to kill the winter while I waited to get the boat back in the water. I never realized what I was missing until I did it! I started out, like most fishermen, with panfish - in this case, Perch.
Over the last few years, I've put together 5 of the lures/baits that have always performed for me, I'm sure they'll perform for you too!
This lure was my very first lure I picked up and tied on. In fact, it was the ONLY lure I had for a while. I'm pretty sure I got it through a Mystery Tackle Box at some point. I may only keep using it for nostalgia but it seems to catch me fish so I keep using it.
It's pretty easy to fish too - you drop it down, jig it a bit and wait for a fish. Once you see that fish, you can let it sit or move it - play until you find what makes 'em bite. I'm usually sight fishing perch because it's so clear around here.
2. Jensen Eggs/Pautzki Eggs - Orange Shrimp
Honestly, I'm not sure color matters here. There's something about a little ball on a hook that these fish like. I'll sometimes put these on the hook of my Forage Minnow, or just a hook by themselves. Little balls on a hook work so well, it's the staple to the ever growing popular Slab Grabber.
There's no trick to fishing this one either. Although this one doesn't have much flash, you'll want to be in an area of fish to use it by itself but the scent and soft texture makes those finicky fish hold on just a bit longer. Simply lower it down and dead-stick it.
3. Live Minnows
Why WOULDN'T you use live bait if that's what the fish want. I'll be honest, I use 'em a lot both in the winter and spring.
They're pretty easy to use, just put 'em on your hook... either your spoon or whatever else ya got. You can either rig them in front of the dorsal fin, under their spine, on their tail, through the head - whatever works best for you. What I will say is that if you find they're getting stolen, use the head. That bone keeps it on there a little bit longer.
4. Super Small Tungsten Jig Heads.
I used to not fish these super small jig heads. I saw them all over the place and should have clued in sooner... but I have a tendency to be suspicious of companies just wanting to sell me something. It wasn't until I heard a talk from "Big Jim McLaughlin" at the annual Ice Fishing Expo here in Ontario. His talked was about their wintertime forage being small invertebrates that are even smaller than these jig heads. I picked up a couple and the amazing thing is - Perch ATTACK them! I couldn't believe my eyes when I first started using them - they just would rush over and inhale them, before I even got to do anything! If for whatever reason, they don't pick it up right away, gentle wiggles will get 'em to check it out.
5. Small grubs or Mizmo Tubes
Same as the small jig head just jig 'em or wiggle 'em. What you can do with these is a 1 - 2 punch. Put those small creatures on the end of those jigs! I honestly really like grubs that are a small maggot style with a single strand for a tail. Something along the lines of this.
And that's it! Those are my current 5 best baits. I'm sure those will change over the years as they always do but for now - give those a try and see if they work for you too! Let me know in the comments what you use! I'd like to give them a try.