Ice Fishing Tips -Check your local regulations! > Perch

Perch experts only 😁

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So, I've got enough gills in the freezer to last me quite awhile ( good problem to have I guess) and want to work on getting me some perch. Do you...

...prefer Emerald or Fathead minnows?

...hook them through mouth (both jaws or upper only), under the dorsal or the tail area?

My setup is a #16 treble under a slip bobber. Found a lake where they on fire right now...could change with all the sunshine here for the next 3 days or so  :-\. Still in the deeper water right now, but they're probably putting on the feed bag as spawning will be in full swing once the ice goes out.

Guess it depends on what lake , I fish one of the bays off lake Ontario ( chaumonnt) the perch feast on gobies so fat heads highly resemble them and they don't want emeralds.  But it's just the opposite for walleye there

Its fishing and quite often who knows how a fish thinks!

But in general I like big emeralds but have found that when you get into tannic or darker stained water fatheads can produce better so bait preference is water specific. 

I truly hate a treble hook for ice fishing esp panfish.  Harder to get out of the fish, more chance of hurting and eventually killing the dinks you are letting go, just a pain in the A as far as i am concerned.  Give me a single short shanked hook just in front of the dorsal fin.

I use the smallest blues out of the bunch

Perch expert? Well, it's a species I love to target, and have loved to target since I was a kid. On my best day earlier this year, I had 245 yellow perch through the hole (I kept 6 for the skillet), and over course of the season I counted twelve 15-inchers, the largest was 15.5". I grew up ice fishing in Sweden, so a lot of the stuff I do and use sounds like ludicrous unorthodoxies to ice fishermen in North America :) I'll let you judge for yourself.

In my experience - and I almost never use any kind of bait, though I find maggots effective - the key to catching really finicky perch is to make sure there is sufficient distance between the jig and the hook. You can achieve this by a 3-5" long mono/flouro leader under the jig (which in my case often is a vertical, handmade spoon-like jig). Without a baited hook, I also jig it a little differently compared to how most people jig a baited hook. The latter tends to fish well with only smaller vibrations and the occasional jerk to bring fish in. An alternative to the mono leader is a super thin hook chain (pictured) or a "pang-link" (also pictured). The advantage with these compared to having the hook attached right at the bottom of the jig is that they allow the hook to move easily into the mouth of the perch when they "suck' it in.

I will always start with a horizontal jig (for aggressive, big perch). If they're not actively hunting, I'll choose a vertical jig with a chain or pang-link. If I know there's perch around my vertical jig, but they're really careful around it, I'll use the vertical jig with a leader underneath.

A single epoxy hook, or a Russian style mormyska (pictured on the left) work great on a leader. The chenille / epoxy treble hooks are dynamite (pictured). I have found that darker colors are better in clear lakes and the more colorful ones in murkier ones. Hardly rocket science.

Some additional context for my hook distance argument: As underwater footage of perch jigging shows, the perch rarely go for the entire jig, unless it's a horizontal jig and they're aggressively hunting. Rather, they target the hook directly (baited or artificial). Contrary to popular belief, the vertical jig is merely perceived as a competitor for food - not as the actual prey/target. This becomes even more evident when the hook is attached to a leader or chain.


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