The Best Bait to Use for Yellow Perch

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Some fishermen, especially those targeting walleye, consider yellow perch little more than a nuisance, bait-stealing fish. There are other anglers though, who target perch specifically because the fish often travel together in huge schools and are willing to bite.


Perch feed on minnows.Though perch are known to hit minnows that are nearly as long as they are, that is the exception and not the rule. Anglers who specifically target perch large enough to keep -- those 8 inches or longer -- should use minnows that are 2 to 3 inches in length. The type of minnow is less important than the size, though perch fishermen commonly use fathead and shiner minnows.

Jig and Minnow

Rig a minnow for catching yellow perch on a lead-head jig. Choose a jig that is heavy enough to cast and stay in contact with the bottom. Common weights are 1/8 ounce and 1/4 ounce. Hook the minnow through the mouth if you plan to cast the jig. Hook the minnow through the tail, or just behind the dorsal fin, if you are fishing vertically. Chartreuse or yellow jigs are good for catching perch.

Live-Bait Rig

Locating perch becomes easier if you rig minnows is on a live-bait rig. The rig includes: a walking sinker, barrel swivel, 24-inch mono-filament leader and a size 4 or 6 hook. Hook the minnow through the lips or tail. Drift or troll live-bait rigs through likely perch areas, including along drop-offs, edges of humps and reefs, and over sand flats. Mark the spot when you catch a perch or two on a live-bait rig; and fish it more thoroughly with a jig and minnow.

Winter Fishing

In northern states, many fishermen target yellow perch through the ice. They commonly use 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jigging spoons. But instead of impaling an entire minnow on the spoon, many anglers cut the head off the minnow and use it for bait. When they lose the minnow head, they attach the rest of its body to the hook. The minnow blood attracts fish, and by cutting minnows in half, anglers can effectively double their stock of bait.