TOP 7 Best Ice Fishing Lures for Perch + Live Bait Options


We all love a good fight when it comes to fishing, and perch are some of the best pound-for-pound fighters around!

They are absolutely ferocious predators, and you are going to want to take advantage of that fact.

Using the best ice fishing lures for perch is going to be the only way to achieve this.

I’ve had a rummage through my tackle and found a perfect combo of lures that I’d like to share with you today. I’ll give you some amazing suggestions and tell you why they are so effective.

Let’s see what awaits beneath the surface…

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What Types of Lures Do Perch Like?

To catch a perch, I’d suggest your best options are going to be those that represent what the fish normally eat.

In a couple of words.

Little fish…

Lots of little fish. There are a few ways you can artificially mirror a perch’s natural diet. The kind of perch ice fishing lures and equipment you are looking for will be something like these:

a man is fishing on the ice in the winter

Jigs and Spoons

Spoons have been around since fishing was invented and to this day remain some of the most effective lures on the planet.

There probably isn’t a single fish species alive that hasn’t been caught on a spoon. You’ll find that they feature on my list of great ice fishing lures for both walleye and panfish.

Spoons are great because they are simple. The mirrored finish and shape look extremely similar to the smaller fish that perch like to eat.

And it gets better.

When fish are injured, they tend to swim up and down erratically.

Do you know what else goes up and down in the water?

Jigs and spoons.

They are so easy to fish. Just drop them through and give them a twitch. As an added benefit, the vibration and wobble send signals through the water, acting as a homing beacon for a hungry perch.

Swim Lures

You might think that you’d be a bit limited with how much a lure can ‘swim’ when fishing through an ice hole.

But, you’d be wrong.

Swim lures for perch are often engineered so that they move in a circle as they are retrieved. This circular motion attracts interest, and you’ll often find a shoal of perch homing in for the kill.

This is really a form of jigging with a little extra twist. The main difference is the lifelike swimming motion imparted in the lure.

And here’s the thing.

The lure will do some of the work, but you’ll have to work hard with the rod if you want to get the best results.

Want to see what these lures look like while swimming?

Check out this short video:

Keep an eye out for anything that adds mobility to your lure. This could be things like:

  • Jointed body sections
  • Marabou tails and feathers
  • Diving vanes and lips

Soft Plastics and Jellies

Soft plastics and jellies are a really great ice fishing lure for perch. You can find them in all sorts of shapes and colors. They are generally designed to replicate the following, all of which are great baits for perch:

  • Small worms
  • Minnows and fish
  • Shrimp and Crawfish
  • Other stuff

Wait, what? Other stuff? What gives?

Sometimes they don’t look like any real creature and are just designed to simulate a sort of swimming creature. It’s all about the movement.

Jellies and soft plastics are exceptional when fishing around weed beds and structures. You can bury the hook point in the lure and therefore avoid it snagging up on underwater features. When the fish bites, the hook point pushes through, ensuring that you still hook the fish.

Live Bait Rigs

I’ll be honest.

This is both my favorite and least favorite option.

It’s my favorite because it is super effective. In the depths of winter, perch go mad for some live fresh food.

The downside?

Taking live bait out onto the ice can be a real nuisance. If you’ve read my article on live bait vs lures, you’ll know that live bait comes with a few ‘cons’…

Namely, you have to really work to keep the darned stuff alive in the first place. When it is 20 degrees below, this isn’t the easiest thing to achieve.

If the above hasn’t put you off, you could try using live bait.

Live shad and fluke seem to be a really popular option. Rigged under a few glow-in-the-dark beads or a metal spinner, they can be super deadly.

Do you know what my favorite live bait of all time is?

Nightcrawlers.

They are easy to come by, easy to keep alive, and also happen to be a Perch’s favorite snack.

ice-hole and fishing rod for winter fishing

What Color and Size Lures Work Best for Perch?

My advice would be to choose colors that either mimic the natural colors of baitfish or artificial colors that will stand out when the conditions are a little bit dark. If you choose the right Perch lure, you’ll might actually be able to combine both.

Here are the best colors to use for perch ice fishing lures:

  • Silver
  • Bronze
  • Gold
  • Chartreuse
  • Pink
  • Orange
  • White

Regarding lure size, it depends on how big a perch you are going for.

I’ll tell you this straight up, you aren’t going to need the bigger ice fishing lures that you would normally use for pike.

Unlike pike, perch don’t have a ridiculously large mouth, so if in doubt, I’d say go towards the small to medium end of the size scale with your lures. Small lures can still catch plenty of big perch!

Alright, all considering all of the above, let’s take a look at some of the great options you could treat yourself to for some amazing winter ice fishing for perch…

TOP 7 Best Ice Fishing Lures for Perch

Rapala Jigging Rap 07 Fishing Lure

Remember when I talked about swimbaits?

This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about.

Rapala is an established name in lure fishing, so they know a thing or two about making patterns that catch fish.

You’ll notice that the eye of the hook is mounted in the middle of the lure. That’s because it is custom-designed to be fished from above. I.e., through an ice hole. There is a hook located both in the tail and the head to ensure that whatever direction a fish takes it from, you’ll set the hook.

Don’t worry that this looks like a perch. They are notoriously cannibalistic. Speaking of looks, the standout feature for me is the day glow belly, making it ideal for low light conditions.

Takeaway

I wanted to start strong with Rapala. This is by no means a budget lure. However, I’m convinced that if you have one or two in your box, it’ll become a firm favorite for catching a few perch through the ice.

Lunkerhunt Straight Up Jig Fishing Lure

If it is small, silver and swims, you’ve got an excellent chance that a perch is going to try and destroy it.

Perch love shads (especially live ones) if you can’t get live, or lack the inclination to spend your day nursing a bucketful of tiny fish, then this is a great option.

As with the Rapala lure, this offering is rigged to be fished in circles from above. With a realistic-looking pair of eyes and a natural scaled finish, the perch will be into this in no time.

This lure is slightly larger than I’d normally use. It is best deployed if you are confident that there are big perch around or you find yourself constantly bothered by a shoal of smaller fish.

Takeaway

A great Rapala alternative lure, this is about as realistic looking as it gets. The beautiful thing about this lure is that you actually have plenty of options in a range of finishes, so you can accurately match the predominant species on your local water.

Dr.Fish 6 Pack Soft Plastic Baits

Right, enough of premium branded lures for the time being. Let me show you something that offers excellent value for money and is just as effective as anything produced by the likes of Rapala.

These soft plastic baby shads are just perfect for tempting perch. They look pretty realistic and are available in a range of colors.

This kit includes just the body, so you will need to invest in a few jigheads, but you’ll be good to go from then on.

They are designed to be jigged up and down. The darting motion works well to attract perch and also other predatory species such as crappie.

Want to know the most effective color for ice fishing for perch? Go for watermelon. Thank me later.

Takeaway

For the money, I think these packs of 6 lures offer excellent value. As I said above, they can be used as weed-free rigs too! They do get a bit chewed up if you are regularly catching… But if you are regularly catching, then they are really worth it!

Lindy Rattl'N Flyer Spoon Ice Fishing Lure

Is it a lure?

Is it a jig?

Is it a spoon?

The answer?… Yes

This hybrid lure is actually the best bit of all three! You can swim this around just like a lure, or if you are a fan of jigging when ice fishing for perch, you can also employ this technique to deadly effect.

This little lure is pretty substantial and slightly heavier.

Why is that good?

Well, it allows you to stay in constant contact with the hook. If you are using this particular lure with a good quality ice fishing braid, you will have the best bite detection going.

The standout feature for me is the color. This is about as bright as it gets and makes this perch ice fishing lure just perfect for murky water.

Takeaway

Buy one of these, and provided you don’t lose it, it will last forever. I love simple fishing solutions, and this is one of the best ice fishing lures for perch on the market. I sometimes even use one in summer. It is that effective!

Dovesun Fishing Underspin Jig Heads

Remember before when I was talking about jigheads?

Do yourself a favor.

Invest in a pack of these.

I love them for a few reasons.

The first is the shape. They are engineered to stay the right way up in the water, and the streamlined shape means they let your jig body swim freely.

And there’s more.

They glow in the dark. This makes them the ideal solution for use when ice fishing at night.

Finally, let’s talk blades. Each jighead comes with its own tiny spinner blade. This will add a hint of thrashing and vibration during the retrieve, which really gets the perch going.

You could even consider using these with a real-life nightcrawler to get the best of both live bait and a lure, all in one lethal package.

Takeaway

Good fishing is all about having options. These little jigheads can be paired with practically any body, meaning you’ve got options galore. Soft plastic bodies tend to be cheap, so spending a little extra on the jigheads is worth it.

Dynamic Lures HD Ice Fishing Lure

Another that is designed to be fished from above, this is a part jig, part spoon.

Do you know what’s great?

The patterning. It looks just like a tiny little trout, a real target for perch, all year round.

This lure is pretty heavy. My favorite way to fish it is to let it go all the way down to the bottom and then bounce it off the mud to create little puffs and fishy flashes.

The dual treble hooks will mean that once you’ve hooked into a fish, it is going nowhere except your bag.

If you are fishing a venue not famed for trout, give the ghost-white version a few casts. I’m certain you won’t be disappointed.

Takeaway

Look, it’s a realistic-looking metal fish. Aside from the finish, there isn’t too much in the way of fancy tech… Yet strangely, this can often out anything else I have in my box! One of the easiest lures to ice fish for perch, and it just so happens to be colored like a species they love to eat!

Oh and mind your hands, while ice fishing isn’t dangerous, the last thing you need is a hook in your finger out on the ice.

Berkley Gulp! Earthworm Fishing Soft Bait

You may recall that I was discussing the advantages of using live bait?

Remember what I said?

It can be a real chore to keep them alive. Well, this is the answer.

Nightcrawlers (or earthworms, if you prefer) happen to be some of the best ice fishing baits for perch.

This fake version is every bit as good as the real thing (it is even scented). The best bit? They last indefinitely and can be reused, provided they aren’t too chewed up by all the fish you’ll be catching.

Want to know my secret trick?

I rig these on a jig head and vary my style between leaving them at a static drift and giving them the odd twitch. Often as soon as I stop twitching, I hook into a perch.

Aside from being great for perch, you’ll often find these an equally great bait for trout too!

Winner winner, trout for dinner?

Takeaway

Lure fishing is all about creating an artificial representation of what perch would naturally eat. SO why not pick something about as close to the real thing as you are going to get?

Nightcrawlers are one of the best all-round baits out there, and with a reusable jar, you’ll be equipped for perch fishing regardless of the season.

Conclusion

When it comes to ice fishing for perch, choose a lure or bait that looks like something they would naturally want to eat or is designed to trigger an aggressive instinctual response.

Perch aren’t so picky, so provided they can find your lure, you’ll be in with a shout. What’s your best ice fishing lure for perch?

Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see about adding it to my list.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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