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Perch are in the family of fish that are notorious for being apex predators in their waters. Species such as walleye, sauger, and perch are highly sought-after sports fish.
Yellow perch are fun to fish for and are typically abundant. If you grew up in a fishing town, you likely have heard your elders talking about catching buckets of perch in their day. Catching them in this amount is common because of their tendency to school up.
One thing that I like about perch is their size. I keep some fish I catch and often it’s just me and my wife eating fish here at home. Perch are generally smaller in size and what I like to call “pan fryers” and because of this, they are perfect for me to take home.
Perch are opportunistic fish and love an easy meal – who doesn’t! Fortunately, most lures today mimic injured prey quite well and are available in a variety of patterns. I have found that perch here in Montana like perch patterns as well as red and yellow combinations.
There are many different lures available for perch and not all of them work well. It is very situational and depends on your local environment. Here, we will look at some of the best lures for yellow perch, staples that are proven to work best in most areas, and hopefully help you decide on what lure (or lures) is for you.
Rapala Rap Shad 2-Inch
I really like the Rap Shad for its simplicity and the fast dive it has. It is great for getting deep fast, which is where perch often like to be, especially in warm temperatures. I recommend leading off with this lure in the afternoon to get deep.
Now as far as Rapala lures go, this one is on the smaller end of the spectrum and that is because perch generally are not a large fish. Their smaller mouth presents a challenge for larger lures so remember that no matter what lure you are looking at, keep it small for perch.
Because I fish with a few different versions of this lure myself, I keep a few patterns on leaders ready to deploy so I can fish more and tieless. I recommend that whatever line you use, you attach a fluorocarbon leader for a little extra durability. Perch teeth can be serious business.
Consider the durability of a fishing lure, again because perch have teeth. It is amazing how catching just a handful of perch or any fish in the Percidae family can tear up a lure. Therefore, I like Rapala, they tend to make a durable product that lasts.
Overall, this is a great staple lure to have in your arsenal for perch but try to keep a few different patterns and keep them ready to deploy quickly.
- Fast, deep diving
- Durable, stands up to repeated hits
- Several patterns from which to choose
Eagle Claw Crappie Jig
The Eagle Claw Crappie Jig is a great little marabou jig that comes in a variety of sizes, weights, and patterns. Remember that perch have small mouths, and you will likely need a smaller size jig.
Here at home, the colored jigs that work best for me are colors that pop, but nothing too specific. Try yellow, red, orange, or a combination of your choice for a good, visible jig, even in the dark.
There are many different manufacturers of crappie jigs and they are not created equal. I have trusted Eagle Claw for durable fishing gear my entire life. Much of my first gear as a child was Eagle Claw, and I still fish with that gear today 30 years later.
I imagine that if you like to cast far, a small jig does not excite you, that is understandable. I enjoy long casting as well. There is nothing more satisfying than making your jig land in another county.
To get around the issue of long casting with a small jig, simply play around with a split shot weight. A weight above the jig or trailing behind the jig changes the jig’s behavior so keep that in mind.
Typically, the crappie jig shines for me in the wintertime through the ice. Simply dangle it about a foot off the bottom and jig it a few times periodically. Perch love a maggot or two attached in the winter as well, so consider this bait.
- Sized for smaller mouths of perch
- Many productive patterns/colors
- Very durable
Luhr-Jensen Kwikfish Rattle 5-Inch
The Luhr-Jensen Kwikfish surface lure is a great lure for perch of a larger size and it is a tried and true lure. I personally use smaller versions of this design myself for bass in the summer and other apex predator fish,
As far as design, this lure is designed to work well in the water and even offers a rattle to get more attention. Try this primarily in calm water situations, but it can also be trolled.
Some areas have larger perch and that is where the 5-inch version of this lure will come in very handy, but if you are not typically catching larger perch try to get a smaller flatfish such as a 2 inch.
As with any lure used for perch, use a fluorocarbon leader to help prevent lines from being cut by teeth and saving your investment. Consider a fluorocarbon line that matches the color of the water you are fishing to better conceal your line.
The Kwikfish design works very well in many areas and I highly recommend you give it a try in your area. This lure does not work that well with added weight so keep that in mind when fishing with it.
- Effective for bigger perch
- Rattle for more attention
- Can be used for trolling
Blue Fox Vibrax Fishing Bell
Blue Fox is an old brand with a great name. I used this brand as a child and I still use it today. The Vibrax Bell Spinner is a great spinner for getting attention.
Though it has a simple blue design, it still pops in the water and has a smooth spinning action. Try this lure in either still or moving water for equally good results.
I like the blue pattern personally. It is their original pattern and it has worked well for me over the years. The other colors also work well and can add variety and versatility to your tackle box.
One thing I keep rambling on about is the size of the lure and its hook. The problem is that the smaller the hook and lure, the lighter it is. One thing that I absolutely love about the Vibrax Blue Bell is that it is built very heavy for such a small lure, so try this guy when you need to cast farther.
The Vibrax design is great for getting attention, especially in murkier water where visibility is not the best. I was always taught that the Vibrax works better at slower retrieval so take your time getting it back.
- Attention-grabbing action
- Effective in still or moving water
- Great casting ability for a small lure
Northland Tackle Thumper Jig
The Thumper Jig Weight may not be a lure in a specific sense but it deserves some recognition as a great perch jig head. Small plastics work great for perch if used properly and a great jig head is a crucial aspect of that.
I like the shape of the head for its ability to bounce the bottom without snagging. Whereas most jig heads are simple round shapes, this jig head is narrow which means less surface area dragging the bottom.
The spoon attached makes the jig more visible but, more importantly, it creates noise and vibration which is equally important for attracting fish.
This is a durable jig head as well that can take a beating. They are inexpensive so grab a few and try them out. Remember to get some smaller plastics for them as well.
- Great jig head for fishing plastics
- Design reduces snagging
- The attached spoon creates noise/vibration
Northland Glo-Shot Jig
Most of the lures we have talked about so far have been designed for horizontal fishing, so I think it is fair that we include a vertical lure as well.
I really like the Northland Glo-Shot Jig for ice fishing and vertical fishing from a boat or a dock. This is a great lure to bait and just sit on a dock with.
The other reason this lure works so well is the glow stick that is attached. Try hitting this with a high-powered light to give it about 20 minutes of intense glow. This lure also has a great action in the water that imitates injured prey.
Try maggots or live minnow on this lure for best results but lean towards the maggots as you enter colder weather. Maggots are more easily bought in the winter anyway.
This is a great lure for simple fishing vertically, but it may not work as well if fished horizontally. However, do not be discouraged from trying. This lure can easily be a winter staple for perch and I recommend having a few on hand.
- Good for vertical fishing situations
- Glows for increased visibility in low-light conditions
- Mimics injured baitfish for more strikes
3 Key Points to Consider When Buying Yellow Perch Lures
Perch are not that complex to fish for. They are simple predatory fish that love a flashy lure as much as the next fish. The Perch family includes walleye and sauger, which are two popular apex predators in the water.
Because of this predatory instinct, really lean towards injury imitations and scents. I have had good luck with other simple tricks such as the colored mini marshmallows from the grocery store as well as kernels of canned corn.
Here are a few finer points to consider when buying lures and other gear for perch fishing. Keep these things in mind before deciding and you will be better informed when you decide to buy.
As we have talked about above, a perch has some nasty teeth sometimes, so I recommend a fluorocarbon leader. As far as the lure itself is concerned, I like a metal lure such as the Blue Fox Bell or a solid jig head for durability but always check reviews.
The action is particularly important, and you need to ask yourself how you like to fish. I am a heavy hitter fisherman for perch but there are some great lures out there that are on the lighter side such as the Flatfish. If you are not sure which you prefer, try a few out and see what works.
For the most part, fishing lures hover around 10 to 15 dollars, making them reasonable. If the price climbs much higher than this range, I like to lean towards the “name brand” for the lure.
Perch fishing is a great joy and I love fishing for them because of their abundance and availability. They are smaller in size which I love for easy cooking, and you cannot beat their taste.
I hope you try a few of these different yellow perch lures. They will improve your fishing experience and help you land more perch. I enjoy fishing these lures and I am sure that you will too. Good luck on the water and have fun!
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