Yellow Perch: Where to Find Them and Best Baits

Yellow Perch- Where to Find Them and Best Baits

The yellow perch is one of the more popular freshwater fish in North America. Whether you are a veteran angler or a complete newcomer, catching these fish is a lot of fun and they provide some great meals. 

One of the best things about yellow perch is that they are somewhat active during the entire year, whether you want to get out in the summer or intend to go ice fishing in the winter. And because they hang out in large groups, once you catch one, there is sure to be more. 

All About Perch

Yellow perch are freshwater fish that are native to the eastern United States and most of Canada. It has many names depending on where you are, including:

  • Lake perch
  • Striped perch
  • American perch
  • Coontail

Usually a food source for larger fish species such as pike, muskie, walleye, and largemouth bass, Yellow perch live together in schools for protection. This gives them the ability of confusing predators, as well as having more sets of eyes to spot potential danger. 

Most perch will usually school together with other individuals that are of similar size. This is because perch can become cannibalistic, so smaller perch will often stick together to avoid being eaten by other larger perch. This is good news for anglers, as one big perch will often mean there are more of the same size or even bigger nearby!

Where to Find Them

Many of the temperate waters throughout North America are ideal to find Yellow perch in. They are native to the northeastern United States, the Midwest of the country, and most of Canada. They have also been introduced to thousands of different lakes, rivers, and ponds across the country for more fishing opportunities, as well as a food source for other fish like walleye or bass. 

Baits and Lures

Perch feed on many different things throughout their lives as they grow bigger and bigger. Newborn and younger perch will feed on zooplankton and then progress onto small insects and larvae. Adult perch will primarily feed on fish eggs, shrimp, small fish, and crayfish. 

One of the best baits for big perch are small perch if you can catch them. If not, other great baits are: 

  • Minnows
  • Mealworms
  • Crayfish
  • Nightcrawlers

Keep in mind that the size of your bait and tackle should correlate to the size of the perch you are fishing for. Smaller perch will require some smaller baits and hooks while the larger ones will be more prone to biting larger prey. 

Different rigs and lures can also be used to catch yellow perch. Plastic worms and minnows work particularly well, although anything that works for other species like walleye or bass will also tend to work for perch as well. 

Final Thoughts

Yellow perch are a popular fish that seem to only be getting more and more attention every year. This is due to how fun and easy they are to catch and the excellent table fare that they provide. If you are in an area with yellow perch, you owe it to yourself to go out and try to catch some!