Yellow Perch Equipment & Tips


May 1, 2023


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Yellow Perch Equipment

Getting on a school of yellow perch will reward you with steady fishing action and the opportunity to harvest a tasty meal for the table, if you’re so inclined. Learning how to catch yellow perch is straightforward, and only requires a light spinning rod set-up and a handful of baits. Here’s what you need to know to get started fishing for yellow perch throughout Ontario and Quebec.

In this article, you will learn more about yellow perch fishing:

  1. Yellow perch species summary
  2. The best rods, reels and line for yellow perch fishing
  3. Best lures for yellow perch
  4. The best fishing techniques to catch yellow perch
  5. Other important pieces of equipment to have for yellow perch fishing
  6. FAQ

Yellow perch species summary

As their name suggests, yellow perch have a light golden to yellow-green body, which is accented by several dark, vertical bars on each side. Yellow perch are schooling fish. This is good news for anglers because once you find a perch, you’re likely to catch a lot of them.

Perch have a tendency to be curious and are always looking for an easy meal, which makes them particularly susceptible to a well-presented fishing lure. Yellow perch eat minnows, crayfish, freshwater shrimp, insects, leeches and more.
Yellow perch are found in a range of different lakes and river habitats within Ontario and Quebec. They often relate to sand or mud flats and other open-water areas. Perch also frequently live in large bays and other shallow areas containing vegetation.
Yellow perch typically abide in shallow water out to depths of around 30 feet on most lakes and rivers. There are exceptions, of course. Perch can be caught deeper in the Great Lakes, for example.

The best rods, reels and line for yellow perch fishing

Fishing Rod

One of the best things about fishing for perch is you don’t need a lot of equipment to catch fish. A 6’6” to 7’ light power, fast action spinning rod rated for lures between 1/16 and 1/4 ounces, and a quality spinning reel will handle most yellow perch fishing scenarios.

Four- or six-pound monofilament is suitable for many perch fishing tactics. Alternatively, 6- or 8-pound braid followed by a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader is another line option.

Best lures for yellow perch

A handful of baits is all you need to get started perch fishing. Jigs between 1/16 and 1/4 ounces are indispensable. Jigs can be used to fish live bait as well as soft plastics between 1.5 and 3 inches. The Berkley Gulp! Minnow, Mister Twister Micro Crayfish and Meeny, Mizmo Panfish Tube, Strike King Mr. Crappie Slabalicious, VMC Neon Moon Eye Jigs, VMC Curl Tail Spinnerbait Lure and VMC Wingding Spin Jig Head are a few soft baits to consider.

Yellow perch also readily strike small crankbaits and minnowbaits. The Berkley Flicker Shad, Rapala Original Floater and Rapala Shad Rap are three good picks.

Perch in deep water can be caught vertically jigging #3 and #5 Rapala Jigging Raps and small spoons, like the Acme Kastmaster, Northland UV Macho Minnow or VMC Rattle Spoon. A jig or a drop-shot rig paired with live bait or a plastic minnow is also effective when perch are deep.

The best fishing techniques to catch yellow perch

Discussing how to catch yellow perch requires looking at several different fishing tactics. These include casting, float fishing, vertical jigging and trolling.

Fishing Tackle Box


Casting a jig rigged with a soft plastic or live bait is a wise choice when perch are holding near the bottom. A basic lift-fall retrieve with a jig is hard to beat most days. Tossing out a jig, counting it down and then working it back using a slow, swimming retrieve is effective for suspending perch.
Fishing a crankbait is a reliable way to cover water and catch perch from shallow to mid-depth areas. Try twitching the rod and adding pauses during the retrieve to trigger strikes; this is especially potent when fishing a small jerkbait, like a Rapala X-Rap.

Float fishing

Slip floats are essential for yellow perch fishing. A float lets you suspend a jig rigged with a plastic or tipped with live bait at a specific depth. This maximizes the time the bait stays in the feeding zone. This also keeps the bait above weeds, wood, rocks and other snags.
A float serves as an excellent strike indicator. When it slips below the surface, it signals a bite and it’s time to set the hook.
Fishing a jig beneath a float is a terrific springtime perch presentation, whether fishing from shore or a boat. Cast the float out, let the jig sink, and leave it for a few seconds. Then, pull it forward and let it briefly rest before moving it again.
Useful tip: Choose a float size suitable for the weight of jig being used. If needed, add split shot sinkers to the line so the float will easily slip beneath the surface when a fish bites.

Vertical jigging

As noted above, vertically jigging spoons, jigs and Jigging Raps straight down over a school of perch in deep water can be very productive. Refer to your fish finder to determine the depth perch are in the water column. Then work the bait above the school to keep it visible and appealing. Experiment with different jigging cadences to learn what perch like best on the given day. Generally, larger 12 to 24 inch movements work well to attract fish, while shorter hops and pauses often trigger strikes.


Pulling a bait behind a fishing boat, kayak or canoe is a simple and effective way to cover water and catch perch. Perch relating to shallow flats or sparse vegetation will readily strike a small, shallow-running crankbait.

A small spinner rig tipped with a real or artificial minnow, leech or piece of worm is another great trolling presentation. Use a small bullet weight in front of a swivel to keep the bait down in the water column.

When perch are deeper, try trolling spinner rig tipped with bait behind a bottom bouncer. A three-way rig set-up featuring a bell sinker on the bottom dropper and a 2- to 3-inch minnow bait trailing on a leader is another great option.
Useful tip: Always test trolling speed by pulling a lure at boat side to check its action.

Other important pieces of equipment to have for yellow perch fishing

  • Tackle trays and a soft tackle bag for organizing baits and gear. If fishing from shore, consider a bag with a shoulder strap or use a backpack.
  • Fishing tools, including pliers and forceps for removing hooks, scissors and a hook file.
  • If planning to keep yellow perch for the table, a quality fillet knife is a must for proper fish preparation. Make sure you have a cooler and ice for properly storing fish between the lake and home.
  • If using live bait, you’ll want a small cooler, bait containers and ice packs for keeping worms and leeches cool, or a bucket and an aerator for minnows.
  • A sonar/chartplotter unit is an essential for many anglers, and will help you find good fishing spots quickly and navigate safely on the water.
  • Don’t forget a PFD/life jacket and polarized glasses.
  • Bug repellant is a must-have when fishing for yellow perch in spring.


What is the best bait for yellow perch?

What month is best for perch fishing?

Where is the best place to catch yellow perch?


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