When do Perch Spawn? (Everything to Know About Perch Spawning)

Are you looking to go perch fishing this season? If so, it’s important that you ask when do perch spawn in your state.

In this blog post, we provide a complete list of when perch spawn by state. We also offer some tips on things to keep in mind when fishing for perch.

There are a lot of common factors that determine when and where a perch decides to spawn.

The Main Factors that Affect Perch Spawning

Spawning is a complicated process that is affected by a variety of environmental factors.

Water temperature is the most important variable in determining when perch spawn.

The time of day can also play a role, with spawning peaking in the early morning hours. Currents and oxygen levels can also affect spawning, as well as water level changes.

Perch Need a Particular Water Temperature

Water temperature is the major factor that answers the question of when do perch spawn.

The ideal perch spawning temperature generally begins when water temperatures reach the mid-40s Fahrenheit to the high 50s Fahrenheit.

Each pond, lake, or river has its own unique set of conditions that dictate when spawning will commence. Some shallow ponds may warm up faster than deeper lakes, resulting in an earlier spawning season.

Colder weather can delay or even halt spawning altogether. This means if winter is longer than usual, the spawning season will likely occur a couple of weeks later.

winter perch fishing on softbaits

Perch Spawn Outside of Daylight Hours

Spawning usually occurs early in the morning or in the early evening. Spawning intervals last for a few hours and then the fish rest for a day or two.

Slower Currents are Preferred

Spawning locations for perch vary, but they often prefer slower-moving water where there is some cover from predators.

This could be near a fallen tree in the river, or among the rocks at the stream’s edge.

The water current helps to keep their eggs and larvae moving downstream until they hatch and become free-swimming.

The Ideal Oxygen Levels

Perch spawn in water with oxygen levels of 6-7 parts per million. Spawning may be more dependent upon photoperiod than water temperature.

Spawning usually peaks in the morning when oxygen levels are highest but can continue into the early evening hours.

Shallow Water Levels are Necessary

Perch prefer to spawn in shallower water of between 3 and 10 feet with an optimal water depth of 6 feet.

This is because both UV light and levels of dissolved oxygen seem to play a vital role in the perch hatchling’s survival.

By spawning in shallower water, there is more UV light that can reach the eggs and the levels of dissolved oxygen are higher, which helps to ensure the survival of the hatchlings.

large perch caught on a soft bait on angler hands

Perch Spawning Times and Differences by State

  • Alabama – Spawning takes place in early spring from late March until the end of May.
  • Alaska – Perch spawn in Alaska in the spring and summer depending on the location. In some areas, they may spawn as early as late April, while others may not spawn until late July.
  • Arizona – In Arizona perch tend to spawn similarly to a lot of other states, in the early spring.
  • Arkansas – Like most of the South, spawning season starts slightly earlier with the perch tending to spawn in February or March.
  • California – California has an early spring schedule with perch usually spawning in early May in the second year of their life.
  • Colorado – There are lots of shallow water bodies for perch to spawn in, usually in April or May.
  • Connecticut – Early spring is when perch spawn in Connecticut, one of the first fish in the state to do so.
  • Delaware – A small state that operates similarly to the other states in the area with a March or April spawning season.
  • Florida – Florida is one of the earlier states for perch spawning as it usually starts towards the end of the winter in February and can extend to as late as April.
  • Georgia – Georgia is similar to Florida, most years perch spawn in the end of winter and the season continues into early spring.
  • Hawaii – Spring is the season that perch spawn in Hawaii.
  • Idaho – The middle of spring, April, and May are the main spawning seasons for perch in Idaho.
  • Illinois – In Illinois perch usually spawn in the early spring.
  • Indiana – Spring is when perch spawn in Indiana.
  • Iowa – Early April is usually the height of the spawning season for perch in Iowa.
  • Kansas – Perch can spawn anytime from February to May.
  • Kentucky – Kentucky is similar to other midwestern states where water temperatures tend to reach the high 40s in the mid-Spring making it the most likely time for perch to spawn.
  • Louisiana – The water temperature can rise a little earlier in Louisiana than in most states so perch tend to spawn a little earlier, anywhere from February to April.
  • Maine – A bit of a chillier state, perch in Maine spawn a little later in the season, towards the end of spring.
  • Maryland – Its proximity to the coast and slightly more variable weather means the range of perch spawning can be a bit wider in Maryland. They can spawn anywhere from the beginning of March till the end of May.
  • Massachusetts – Like a lot of New England, perch spawn a little later than most states usually spawning towards the end of spring.
  • Michigan – Michigan is a geographically diverse and large state, perch can spawn at any time throughout the spring in Michigan depending on the location and body of water.
  • Minnesota – Very similar to a state like Michigan, Minnesota has a wide range of potential perch spawning times during the spring.
  • Mississippi – The unique climate means perch can spawn anywhere from late winter all the way into the early summer.
  • Missouri – Like most states in the middle of the country, perch tend to spawn anytime from the beginning of April until the end of May.
  • Montana – Montana has a much more narrow spawning window than you would think, most perch spawn during April with some stretching into May.
  • Nebraska – Nebraska is very similar to its neighboring states with perch spawning throughout the spring.
  • Nevada – Nevada has an early spring perch spawning period.
  • New Hampshire – Similar to its bordering states New Hampshire has a slightly later spawning season, usually late in the spring in late May.
  • New Jersey – March is when perch spawning realistically starts in New Jersey and it can stretch all the way through to the end of spring.
  • New Mexico – New Mexico is a state with a lot of different geographies, so in some parts of the state spawning can start in the early spring and it others it does not start and end until the late spring or early summer.
  • New York – Like most states in the northeast, New York has a spawning season that stretches through most of the spring.
  • North Carolina – Depending on the year and region in the state spawning can start in late March or April and extend all the way into July.
  • North Dakota – As a more northern state, North Dakota has a slightly later spawning period, usually with the height of the season taking place during the late spring.
  • Ohio – Like most of the midwest, perch spawn during the middle of spring in either April or May most years.
  • Oklahoma – Oklahoma has a much longer spawning season than most states with the height of it usually occurring during April.
  • Oregon – One of the more prolific fishing states, Oregon has a more highly variable spawning season, although it usually takes place during the height of spring.
  • Pennsylvania – Spawning takes place in the mid to late spring.
  • Rhode Island – Similar to all of the states in its region, the spawning season is almost always in the spring.
  • South Carolina – The state has a wide range of bodies of water that have slightly different spawning seasons but in general South Carolina sees perch spawn from the end of winter deep into the spring.
  • South Dakota – When the water warms the perch begin to spawn. This usually happens sometime in April or May most years.
  • Tennessee – Water temperatures are usually slightly warmer during perch spawning season in Tennessee, in the 60s. Like most states the peak of activity is usually in the middle of spring.
  • Texas – A big state with a lot of different types of bodies of water Texas has a long spawning season. It usually starts in the spring and can stretch all the way into summer.
  • Utah – A bit cooler because of its elevation Utah has a slightly later spawning season, usually towards the end of spring.
  • Vermont – Similar to the rest of New England, the water warms up in April or May and the spawning season begins shortly after.
  • Virginia – Longer days and water temperatures trending toward the 50s trigger spawning season in Virginia. Usually, that is towards the end of winter and into the spring.
  • Washington – Like the other Pacific Northwest states Washington is a broad and diverse state. Different parts of the state can have slightly different spawning seasons but in general, it takes place at the end of spring.
  • West Virginia – March or April is usually when perch spawn in West Virginia.
  • Wisconsin – The length and depth of winter tend to be the key variable for the timing of perch spawning season in Wisconsin. Usually, it starts in the middle of spring.
  • Wyoming – Like most regions of the country, spring is the height of the spawning season for perch in Wyoming.

How to Fish for Perch During Spawning Season

Perch are a popular game fish for anglers all over the country. When do perch spawn is a relevant question because spawning season is an especially good time to target these fish, as they are more active and easier to catch.

There are several tips, flies, lures, and baits that work well for fishing for perch during the spawning season.

What are Some of the Best Fishing Tips

There are a few things to keep in mind when fishing for perch. They tend to gather in deep spots and feed on the bottom, so look for them near structures like docks and piers in slow currents.

Secondly, they are generally quite wary and can be difficult to catch, so always use sharp hooks, use light lines, and tackle. Also, make sure to use a variety of baits until you find what works best.

Finally, patience is key – it can take a while to land a good-sized perch. When you do hook one understand that they are slippery fighters, so be prepared to put some muscle into landing them.

The Type of Flies You Should Use

Perch are aggressive fish and will attack flies with enthusiasm. Certain flies are effective because they resemble the natural food source of perch.

The three best flies for perch are Egg Sucking Leech, Mickey Finn, and Beadhead Hare’s Ear Nymph.

You Can Choose From a Wide Range of Baits

There are many different types of bait that can be used to catch yellow perch, but the best options are live mealworms, crayfish, nightcrawlers, and minnows. These baits are effective because they resemble the natural food sources that perch feed on.

Live bait is always best, but artificial lures like in-line spinners or even small jigs can also be very successful.

The Best Lures for Perch

There are many different types of lures that can be successfully used for catching perch. Some of the best include soft plastic jigs, small hair jigs, and marabou jigs. These lures are all effective, versatile, and relatively inexpensive, making them a great choice for anglers looking to catch some perch.

Perch are some of the most interesting fish to try and catch. Have fun and good luck fishing for perch!

trophy perch caught


There are a few common questions that continually arise when talking about perch and their spawning habits.

I have tried to answer a few of the most interesting ones below.

How many eggs do perch lay?

Perch lay anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 eggs. The number of eggs perch lay depends on a variety of factors, including the age and size of the perch and the time of year.

Do perch spawn in lakes or rivers?

Perch spawn in both lakes and rivers but prefer shallower areas with a little current for their spawning schools.

Unlike many fish, perch are very site-faithful to their spawning grounds and will return to the same place year after year.

What depth do perch spawn at?

Perch spawn in water that is less than six feet deep. This shallow depth is beneficial for the eggs, as it allows them to be warmed by the sun. The low depth also makes it easy for predators to find and eat the eggs.

Do perch bite during the spawning season?

Yes, perch bite during spawn season. They are aggressively feeding in order to stock up on energy for the upcoming spawning process.

Anglers can successfully target perch during this time by using live bait or artificial lures that mimic small fish.

What is the best time to catch perch?

The best time for Perch fishing is almost always around dawn or dusk. This is especially relevant towards the end of spring or in the early days of summer.

During the fall, there is great fishing to be had at similar times, early in the morning or towards the end of the day as sunlight runs out.

In most lakes, August until November usually is the best time to fish.


If you’re looking to get into perch fishing, or are just curious about this popular sport fish, then this guide was for you. We outlined all the different things you need to know when targeting perch, from their preferred spawning grounds to the best baits and lures to use.

Now that you have all the information at your fingertips, it’s time to put it into practice and start catching some beautiful perch of your own.

Do you have any tips to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments below.

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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