11 Ice Fishing for Perch Tips to Fill a Bucket

A thorough knowledge of the habits and biology of your quarry will increase your chances of harvesting a nice catch.

The following ice fishing tips for perch should help you locate and catch more fish!


Location is at the top of the list for many reasons.

The obvious reason is that a perch will only be found in certain places, and if you want to catch one, why not try where they most likely live?

They can be caught in lakes, ponds and even rivers. Try looking around underwater structures such as pilings, or anything that is sticking up out of the water (or ice). You should also try and look on sandy bottoms, rocky areas and around weed beds.


Perch can be found in deeper water, but they will usually (and do prefer) to live closer to the surface.

They will hide under weed beds and rocks on the bottom. They do not really swim around much unless they are feeding or breeding.

Most of their swimming is done by jumping out of the water to grab food and then returning to the surface.

Time of day

The best time to catch perch is either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Perch will not feed at night, but they will stay out longer if they are cold.

This means that the colder it gets (and stays), the better your chances of catching one!

Lure and Bait

A perch will easily take a minnow, but it can also be caught on almost any lure you put in front of it.

Jigs and spinners are two great options to use for ice fishing. You should try to look for lures that are silver or white and have a small amount of movement (fishing across the surface of the water).

Try using a small amount of live bait to fish around structure. Use a float and bobber when fishing in open areas, or try using jigging/trolling methods in deeper waters.

Ice thickness

The ice thickness will have an effect on how you should be fishing. If the ice is going to break during the course of your trip, it is pointless to use heavy equipment.

When fishing perch in thick, solid ice you can usually use a heavier setup. Remember that if you are using an auger to poke through the ice, it does not have to be as large and powerful than when you need to drill through slushy ice.

Angling methods

The best way to catch perch will depend on the location and water conditions. You can typically use a couple different methods, depending on depth.

Still fishing is usually done from shore or a dock along shallow waters (0-10 feet). This method is simple, but it can be one of the best ways to catch perch.

Trolling is usually used for deeper waters (10-20 feet). The build-up of ice in shallower water will often block the location where a perch would have been found. This problem does not exist when you are fishing in deep waters because most anglers will just go deeper.

Jigging is a great method that can be used in both shallow and deep waters. You should use this technique when you are fishing around structure such as rocks, stumps or docks in shallow water. You can also use it if you want to fish much deeper than your equipment will allow (such as 20 feet below the surface).


It is not only important to know where perch will live in certain locations, but you also need to know what type of structure they will be hiding under. In lakes and ponds, perch will usually be found under a variety of structures including rocks, docks and other underwater objects. You should look for the following things when ice fishing:

Pilings/piers - These are underwater columns that stick up out of the water. They can usually be found by their shadows which will appear on the surface or ice.

Water temperature

The water temperature will have a huge effect on the rate at which your bait freezes. If you are using live bait, it is important to get a good feel for the current water temperature. You need to know how long it takes for a minnow or leach to freeze in ice fishing conditions (after sitting out in the cold for a while).


Perch have a large appetite and they will eat just about anything that they can fit in their mouths. Perch frequently eat leeches, especially when these bottom-dwelling creatures are frozen over the surface of the water. You may want to use leeches as bait when fishing for perch near weeds or other underwater vegetation.

Iced-over water

Perch are very adept at finding open holes in the ice to ambush prey or find food. If you see what appears to be unsolidified snowmelt (a patch of water that is partially frozen over, yet still clear), keep a close eye on it. Chances are that a perch will be drifting through the water not too far from this location.

Ice Shanty

Ice fishing in a shanty is one of the best ways to enjoy perch ice fishing. If you are using a motor on your boat, you will need enough space and power to push through thick ice at high speeds. You do not want to bring along all of that extra equipment (such as an electric 4-wheeler) just for ice fishing. An ice shanty, on the other hand, is compact enough to carry along with your gear without needing any special equipment.


Perch are delicious, lively and fun to catch. They do not fight as hard as pike or muskies but they can provide hours of great entertainment on the ice.

As you can see from reading the ice fishing tips for perch, it is not as difficult to catch them as many people think. It may be hard for some beginners to put their pride aside and ask for help when they need it, but that's okay. You don't have a know-it-all attitude either so why wouldn't anyone else ask for help?

We all need to learn new things, so don't think that asking someone more experienced than you is a sign of weakness.


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