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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.
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:
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.
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:
Minnows and fish
Shrimp and Crawfish
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.
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?
They are easy to come by, easy to keep alive, and also happen to be a Perch’s favorite snack.
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:
Regarding lure size, it depends on how big a perch you are going for.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.