March 07, 2021 4 min read

Yellow Perch Fishing

Yellow perch are one of the most popular, best tasting, and downright fun to catch gamefish in North America. Yellow perch can be identified by their yellow color with green bars down their side. Often called lake perch, ring perch, river perch and common perch.  

Yellow perch can be found in rivers, lakes, and ponds. They prefer to school together and are attracted to aquatic vegetation. One of the best traits about a yellow perch is that they love cold water, which lends perch a top favorite for ice-fishing. A year round game fish!

yellow perch fishing

Best Bait For Yellow Perch

Live bait is the most popular option when going after perch but it's not the only option that you have. The best thing about yellow perch is that they will strike anything shiny flashy or wiggly when put in front of them. It's good to keep in mind that yellow perch eat small minnows, crayfish, water bugs, and just about anything else a yellow perch can get into their mouth. Any artificial bait that tends to mimic these types of natural creatures is going to be productive when you fish for yellow perch.

One of the most popular artificial baits to use for yellow perch is the common grub. The best size grub to use for yellow perch is between two and three inches long. The best color that we have found is chartreuse and chartreuse with some sort of glitter inside. Big bite baits makes a 2 inch fat grub which is extremely effective and comes in about 30 different colors you can check them out here.

Another really popular artificial bait for yellow perch is a small crankbait. A crankbait will allow you to cover lots of water and most of the time will attract the largest perch in the lake. A crankbait that you should look at is the bandit crappie crankbait which just happens to come in some pretty wild colors that are yellow perch favorites.

When ice fishing for yellow perch there is no better bait than the spoon. Spoons can be fished naked (without any live bait), or you can tip the spoon with a small minnow or nightcrawler which has a enhanced sent that really drives yellow perch crazy.

Here's a list of the best artificial baits to use for yellow perch:

Best Way To Catch Yellow Perch

The reason why yellow perch are so popular is that there are many ways to fish for them. One of the most popular ways is simply a bobber and nightcrawler. Simply cast a bait out and if yellow perch are around they will come running. Catching fish this way makes them very appealing to younger anglers with a shorter attention span.

Trolling can also be an effective method to catch yellow perch. You can cover large amounts of water with crankbaits, especially during the summer months when yellow perch can be scattered.

Our favorite way to catch them is by vertical jigging during the colder water months or through the ice. The hardest part is locating the yellow perch because they are tightly schooled, but once you locate the school it can be nonstop fishing action for many hours.

winter yellow perch fishing

Where To Catch Yellow Perch

Finding yellow perch in a body of water can seem a bit daunting at first, but if you understand that yellow perch love to be found around aquatic vegetation then searching for them can get a little bit easier. If I'm looking for yellow perch in a new lake that I've never fished before I often look for bays with the most aquatic vegetation in relatively shallow.

In water temperatures warmer than 50 degrees yellow perch can typically be found in 10 to 20 feet of water or even shallower. The best part about yellow perch is that they tend to school up so you can find them by idling around with a fish finder or by simply fan casting your favorite bay.

When the water temperature dips below 50 degrees there's no need to worry because yellow perch are extremely active during colder water temperatures. The benefit to colder water temperatures is that the yellow perch school up much tighter than before. Sometimes the yellow perch can even be is found as deep as 50 feet of water. Techniques that are very effective for catching yellow perch at these depths are vertical jigging with a blade bait or spoon.

Yellow perch spawn in the spring of the year when water temperatures get to about 42 degrees. When water temperatures start to stabilize at 42 degrees the male yellow perch move to the head waters of a river before the females. Once the water temperature reaches 45 degrees the females, which are the larger cows head in to the same areas to spawn . The spawning activity takes about two weeks to complete in often times anglers can see hundreds of yellow perch milling around the same area at a time .

Make sure that you consult with local regulations to ensure that fishing for yellow perch in these areas during the spawn is legal. As quickly as the fishing frenzy during the spawn begins, it ends with the large females leaving first and heading out to deeper water. This type of fishing can be fast and furious and these larger females which show up can can literally show up overnight to spawn.

Eating Yellow Perch

Anglers all over the country agree that yellow perch are some of the tastiest freshwater fish available. Perch have a firm flaky white meat which is used for fish sandwiches and fish salads in many restaurants all over the country. One thing to keep in mind is that a yellow perch do have a few bones and you're going to want to make sure that when you filet a yellow perch that you use a very sharp knife and debone the fillet.

My personal favorite yellow perch recipe is a simple yellow perch sandwich.

  • Fillet five or six medium sized yellow perch
  • Dry the fish with a paper towel
  • Add some salt and pepper
  • Microwave the filets for about 2 1/2 minutes
  • Add lettuce tomato salt and pepper and enjoy an amazing yellow perch sandwich.

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