Perch fishing is a popular activity during the winter months, and in this article, we will be discussing some tips and tricks for successful perch fishing. I had the opportunity to speak with Tony Roche and Cody Rozwick, two experienced anglers who love chasing perch. They shared their go-to presentations, strategies, and gear recommendations for targeting perch in the Dakotas.
Go-To Presentations for Perch Fishing
When it comes to presentations, both Tony and Cody mentioned using spoons and small rattle baits to attract perch to their fishing area. Tony specifically mentioned the Buckshot Rattlespoon as his go-to bait for perch fishing. These lures have vibration and attract perch effectively.
Once the fish are attracted to the area, Cody emphasized the importance of slowing things down and using finesse techniques. He recommended using small tungsten jigs and other small offerings to entice the perch. The key is to downsize your presentation once you have located the fish.
Weather and Bite Windows
Tony and Cody discussed how weather conditions can impact perch fishing. They mentioned that high-sun days are ideal for perch fishing, as the fish tend to be more active and move around more. On snowy overcast days, Tony believes that perch fishing can be better than walleye fishing.
They also mentioned the importance of recognizing bite windows during the day. There may be periods of time, such as half an hour or an hour, where the perch bite really well before tapering off again. Knowing when to stay in one spot and when to keep searching is key to maximizing your catch.
Grinding Out Lethargic Fish
Tony and Cody explained that perch can be lethargic during the winter months due to the abundance of freshwater shrimp, macro invertebrates, and blood worms in the water. These well-fed fish require a grinding approach, where you slow everything down and patiently work to entice bites.
They shared their experience of grinding out fish during heavy snow cover, where the fish were particularly lethargic. However, they found success by taking advantage of bite windows and using their time wisely to search for active fish or catch the few that were biting.
Targeting Shallow Water Perch
As the winter progresses, Tony mentioned that his favorite time to fish for perch is late March to early April. During this time, the fish start to slide into shallower water, where oxygen levels rise and the water begins to warm up. Tony emphasized that wherever the food is, the perch will be there. He mentioned seeing thousands of shiners in shallow water, indicating that the perch were feeding on them.
Gear Recommendations for Perch Fishing
Tony and Cody stressed the importance of having the right gear for perch fishing. They recommended using rods with light, sensitive tips to detect the subtle bites of perch. Tony mentioned using a lighter rod with good backbone, while Cody preferred panfish rods with a light tip. Having the right line is also crucial. Tony and Cody both recommended using a no-stretch line to eliminate coil and improve sensitivity. They mentioned that perch bites can be extremely light, so having a line with no memory and good sensitivity is essential for detecting those subtle taps.
In terms of electronics, Tony and Cody emphasized the importance of having good sonar and utilizing the zoom feature. By zooming in on the screen, anglers can closely monitor their rod tip movements and the mood of the fish. This allows them to adjust their presentations and jigging cadence accordingly.
Location and Hole Spacing
When it comes to finding perch, Tony and Cody mentioned the importance of drilling multiple holes and being on the spot. Perch can be tightly concentrated in certain areas, whether it’s a basin, weed bed, or section of timber. By drilling numerous holes and spacing them closely together, anglers increase their chances of finding the spot where the perch are congregating.
Tony also mentioned that perch fishing in the Dakotas benefits from the abundance of macro invertebrates and shrimp. These serve as a rich forage base, contributing to the rapid growth of perch in the region.
Perch Fishing in Minnesota
Tony and Cody discussed the differences in perch fishing between the Dakotas and Minnesota. In Minnesota, the perch fishing varies drastically from lake to lake due to the absence of freshwater shrimp as a forage base. While some lakes in Minnesota have a good forage base and support rapid perch growth, others may have stunted perch populations.