Ice fishing for perch is one of the best winter activities there is. It offers lots of action, and can be fun for the whole family. Perch fishing is not just for die hard ice fishers. Ice fishing for perch is great for beginners, and children to try. Remember to always know the ice conditions, and only go out on ice that is safe.
When you are perch fishing, the most important thing is finding the fish. Once you have they will take a variety of baits, jigs and lures. Drill lots of different holes at different depths, and find areas with plants and structure. A fish finder can be extremely helpful in searching for fish, and telling you how deep the water is. Perch will travel around in schools through different parts of a body of water, moving from season to season.
Once you’ve found the perch, they are usually not too picky in what they will eat. It is important to have the right set-up, but the bait can be a number of things. Minnows (both live and dead), grubs, eggs, synthetic baits, worms, jigs, and lures are all very effective on perch. I like to use live minnows with lures and jig heads but many things are good perch bait.
One way to set up your line is with a two or three way spreader attached to a leader. The leader should be 16 inches or longer. Tie the leader to a swivel and tie the swivel to the main line. Then you just bait the hooks and drop it in the hole. It can be fished right on the bottom with minnows hooked through the lips. This method can be too bulky sometimes when the fish are spooking easily.
Another way to rig up is to tie hooks in tandem. This gives you the chance to fish at two different depth levels, and can be a blast when you get a double header. One way is to attach a 24 inch or longer leader to the main line with a swivel. Tie a hook on 12 inches down from the swivel, leaving the tag end 12 or more inches. Tie on a second hook leaving a long tag end again. Then tie a large bell sinker to the very end about 6 inches from the second hook. Put a smaller split shot between the two hooks. This can be fished at different depths using whichever bait you have. Instead of a sinker bellow two hooks, you can use two weighted jig heads and fish it just off the bottom, or at any level in the water.
Lures and jigs can just as good as live bait and sometimes even better for catching perch through the ice. You should use a swivel and leader for most jigs and lures and you can use them in conjunction with bait. Jigging the lures up and down can get the fishes attention if they’re not hitting other baits.
For perch I like to use a very light ice fishing rod in order to see very slight hits. A light rod also makes fighting the little perch much more fun. The best way to see bites, is to keep you’re rod in a good rod holder, or propped horizontally over the hole with the line going strait into the water. A good day of ice fishing for perch will give you steady action catching hundreds of fish. Even a slow day catching perch is good. It is not too often that you don’t catch any.