The end of the winter and the early spring is absolutely prime season if you wanna go all in on the hunt for a true specimen perch in top condition. The fish are well fed after eating through the winter, and are at their top weight here close to the spawning season.
Here is my five top tips for you who wanna give it a go at the winter perch:
- Find the fish - I spend more time searching for fish than I spend on actual fishing. Perch are creatures of habit and are often found on the same spots year after year - if the conditions are right. My sounder is essential in my fishing, especially the sidescan function gives me a lot of fish in the boat. In the winter cold water I often find the fish in the deeper areas of the lakes, most times around underwater plateaus and other features.
- Find the bait find the fish. In the cold and clear water the baitfish doesn’t have many places to hide why they often gather in big schools. If you find a big group of baitfish, you can be sure that there is predators lurking around close by.
- Find the big ones. Perch are pack predators and are always swimming together in schools, and very often the schools consist of perch in the same size/generation. I often sail away from good fishing, if the perch I catch doesn’t have the size I’m searching for. With a bit of practice you can pretty certain tell the size of the fish you spot on the sounder. A rule of thumb is that the bigger the perch are, the smaller the school. When we are talking true specimen perch they are often found in groups of 3-10 fish. When you have hooked the first fish in one of these groups, you can be lucky to experience a true pack frenzy with the entire school following the hooked fish all the way to the boat - in these situations you gotta be fast and fish efficient, sometimes you can get more than one trophy fish in a matter of minutes.
- Fish after the conditions. Perch can be unbelievably tricky, and are easily affected by the weather conditions, especially by the barometric pressure which have a direct effect on where in the water column you will find the fish, and also will effect the feeding patterns. No matter the conditions, you can always get a perch to strike, you just gotta find out whats the wright medicine for the day. Variation is the key, keep changing tactics, baits, colors, weights and fishing depth until you cracked the code.
- Dropshotting - there is no way around it, dropshot is one of my all time favourite tactics for tempting big perch, especially if they are playing hard to get. With this rig you can get your bait to twitch erratically with minimal movements, you can keep your bait jumping in the same spot, you can fish in weedy spots and between snags.
By Malthe Ryge
Top 3 Rigs for Perch Fishing