Perch/Panfish

Best Baits for Ice Fishing Perch

Best Baits for Ice Fishing Perch

Yellow perch are fun and rewarding to catch on ice. Curious to a fault, perch are often willing biters. They’re also delicious table fare.


Perch winter locations include bays, vegetation beds, flats, humps, and at the base of drop-offs. They actively feed on bloodworms, nymphs, crayfish, baitfish and more. As such, ice anglers should carry various lures, jigs and plastics to effectively fish various depths, match perch forage and adapt to perch mood.


Jigging Raps

Jigging Rap

The #3 and #5 Jigging Raps frequently fool perch. These lures sink fast, have a lifelike swimming action and come in natural, glow and UV colour patterns.


Snapping the rod sends a Jigging Rap erratically darting sideways and calls-in curious perch. Equally good for attracting fish is using a gentle rod raise, which gives the lure a subtle swimming action. Next, lower the rod, allowing the lure to glide down. Then add a pause to tempt onlookers.


Tip: Bang a Jigging Rap on bottom to create a silt cloud and attract perch.


Slab And Ultra Light Rippin’ Raps

Ultra Light Rippin Rap

Perch love lipless crankbaits. The Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap’s loud, distinctive BB rattle system is great for drawing-in perch from far and wide. Once perch are close, ripping and shaking this bait stimulates competitive instincts in perch and can prompt a feeding frenzy.


Ultra Light Rippin Rap

The #4 and #5 Slab Raps are finesse baits with a subtle vibration signature. Either size is excellent for clear water or when perch are neutral or inactive.


Tip: Perch can’t resist Pink Clown and Pink Tiger UV colour patterns, which are selling like hotcakes across the ice belt.


VMC Rattle Spoon

Rattle Spoon

Jigging spoons readily catch perch. The fast-sinking VMC Rattle Spoon’s brass, multi-beaded resonance chamber quickly attracts fish from a distance, making it excellent for deep-water applications. When a school of active perch is beneath your boots, you want a captivating lure that drops rapidly into the strike zone to keep fish interested, biting and staying on the spot.


Tip: VMC’s bent, slab and dropper spoons are also great perch-catchers. See this blog for tips.


VMC Tungsten Chandelier Jig

Rattle Spoon

When deep perch approach large baits but don’t bite, downsizing to a VMC Tungsten Chandelier Jig will catch them. Rocketing into the strike zone thanks to its inverted conical weight, its downsized profile teases strikes from the most hesitant jumbos.


Shaking the Chandelier sends out a ticking sound from the dense tungsten weight sliding and banging along the wire form. Pounding it on rock also attracts perch.


VMC Jigs And Plastics

Squishy, pliable and available in assorted profiles, soft baits are potent perch presentations. The VMC jigs recommended below come pre-rigged with innovative Trigger X material, which attracts perch while maximizing taste and texture to ensure when fish bite they hold on tight.


VMC Jigs And Plastics

The VMC Crayfish Jig is tough to beat when jumbo perch are gorging on craws. Drop it to bottom, then slide it back and forth along the floor. Add kicks, jumps and quivers mixed with pauses. Keep a tight line to feel the bite.


VMC Jigs And Plastics

VMC Jigs And Plastics

VMC Jigs And Plastics

When perch are eating minnows, the VMC Boot Tail,Luv Bug and Curl Tail jigs are great options. Each plastic has a unique tail, giving it a distinct action and vibration frequency.


VMC Jigs And Plastics

The Tungsten Nymph jig is perfect when perch are eating mayfly nymphs and other buggy forage. Fish it similar to a craw, adding rod nods and shakes to activate its alluring appendages and trigger bites.


VMC Jigs And Plastics

Bloodworms (midge fly larvae) dominate the winter menu for perch in some lakes. Here a thin, finesse plastic, like the VMC Wax Tail Jig, is an excellent choice. Soak it on bottom or slowly swim and shake it up and down in the water column.


Best Line For Perch

Sufix Ice Magic

Sufix Ice Magic or Advance Monofilament come in many strengths suitable for perch ice fishing. Four-pound is a great all-round line option, but when perch need finessing 2- or 3-pound test can get you more bites.


Sufix Ice Magic

For deep water, some anglers prefer the no-stretch, fast-sinking qualities of 6- to 8-pound Sufix 832 Advanced Ice Braid with an 18- to 24-inch leader of 3- to 5-pound fluorocarbon. The braid has a water-repellant protection, which reduces ice build up.


Tip: See more bites with Sufix Ice Magic Neon Orange. This high-vis mono is preferred by serious tournament anglers in panfish competitions.


Carry the above hard-baits, jigs and plastics to be prepared for any perch adventure this winter. While perch taste great on the table, remember to practice selective harvest to ensure the sustainability of the fishery.