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How to Catch Yellow Perch Throughout the Year

Yellow perch are generally shallow in the spring and move to coves/bays or inlets that have suitable spawning habitat. Focus on shallow shoreline flats with a mix of rocks and weeds that provide them with cover. They form schools of similar sized fish, so you might have to move frequently to find groups of larger fish. They have keen distance vision and will spook easily in shallow water, so a stealthy approach and long casts are recommended. Drifting or trolling using a trolling motor can help you locate schools of fish. After locating a group of fish, casting is more effective. Effective baits/lures include: spinner rigs with small minnows or pieces of nightcrawler, micro-crankbaits, in-line spinners, hairpin spinners, small jigs tipped with minnow or curly tail grub, and float rigs with minnows or jigs tipped with minnows or maggots. They usually feed near the bottom, so start by keeping your bait/lure near the bottom.

In summer, yellow perch move out to deeper water of coves/bays and main-lake areas and forage along the weed line or weedy flats adjacent to drop-offs. Focus on points and pockets in the weed line that concentrate fish. Perch usually are found at the bases of the weeds. If a thermocline has formed on the lake, larger yellow perch will often be found where the thermocline meets the bottom of the lake, but these fish can be harder to find. Using your sonar can be helpful in locating these deep fish. Casting lures/baits into weed pockets or along weed points can be very productive as well as probing deeper water where the thermocline meets any bottom structure. Drifting/trolling across weedy flats is another possible approach. Effective baits/lures include: spinner rigs with small minnows or pieces of night crawler, micro-crank baits, in-line spinners, hairpin spinners, small jigs tipped with minnow or curly tail grub, and float rigs with minnows or jigs tipped with minnows or maggots. They usually feed near the bottom, so start by keeping your bait/lure near the bottom.

During fall, yellow perch can be found on shallow flats where they feed to prepare for winter. Flats with a mixture of rock and green, healthy weeds are good places to focus. Drifting or slowly trolling across the flat is a good way to cover water until a concentration of fish are found. Effective baits/lures include: spinner rigs with small minnows or pieces of nightcrawler, micro-crankbaits, in-line spinners, hairpin spinners, small jigs tipped with minnow or curly tail grub, and float rigs with minnows or jigs tipped with minnows or maggots. They usually feed near the bottom, so start by keeping your bait/lure near the bottom.

During early ice, yellow perch can be found on shallower flats that still have green, healthy vegetation. During the late ice period, perch will return to shallower flats. Perch are schooling fish, so drilling several holes, moving frequently, and using electronics can be helpful. Perch have good distance vision, so aggressively jigging a spoon tipped with a minnow head or small minnow near the bottom can attract fish in the area. Once they are drawn to your lure, a more subtle presentation should be used. Ice jigs or plain hooks tipped with a small minnow, minnow head, perch eye, or some type of maggot worked near the bottom can all be effective.

At mid-winter, perch can be found on bases of drop-offs and the adjacent mid-depth/deep flats. Bases of drop-offs can be very good places as there is often a change in bottom composition that perch relate to. Perch are schooling fish, so drilling several holes, moving frequently, and using electronics can be helpful. Perch have good distance vision, so aggressively jigging a spoon tipped with a minnow head or small minnow near the bottom can attract fish in the area. Once they are drawn to your lure, a more subtle presentation should be used. Ice jigs or plain hooks tipped with a small minnow, minnow head, perch eye, or some type of maggot worked near the bottom are also effective.

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