Perch are one of the best fish to go after during winter ice fishing. Once you understand their habits, it becomes easier to catch more of them.
Perch are active during the winter and can be found at depths of 10′-50′, depending on the terrain, vegetation, and cover underwater. Early season, perch can be caught between 12-20′ while later season, they go deeper.
Continue reading this article to learn more about where to find perch ice fishing, including the types of water, locations, and more.
Where to Find Perch Ice Fishing?
Perch change their location throughout the ice fishing season. There are ways to predict them, as we discuss in this article, but another way to locate perch is to use a fish finder. Our article The Best Ice Fishing Fish Finders reviews the best ice fishing fish finders on the market (we even included a few budget options).
Perch swim in shallower areas early in the season, especially if the vegetation underwater is still alive and green. If that’s the case, expect the perch to feed above and within the vegetation area. Fish above the vegetation line with a jig to catch perch during the early season.
As the winter gets colder, the vegetation underwater begins to recede, forcing the perch into deeper waters. Perch are predatory fish and require a constant food source.
The terrain and underwater cover change as the winter season progresses each year, forcing perch’s natural prey to move. Once the bait fish and other prey moves, the perch follow.
You can often find perch near weeds, where they get their nutrients year-round. Perch are highly active in these areas because they eat minnows, which often linger in the weeds. Find a frozen part of the water body with visible weeds and drill a hole.
Perch frequently swim in shallow waterbodies, especially during winter when the ice has frozen the top of the water.
Check shallow water while ice fishing to find perch. For ice fishing, perch can hang within the upper 10′ of water, usually within the first 10′-20′.
You can find some perch in deep parts of water. So if you are not having luck in shallow areas, try fishing deeper. It is more common to find larger perch in deep water.
Out of the Main Current
Always fish for perch outside the main current to increase your chances of catching a perch. Perch do not like swimming in the current, so you should try ice fishing for perch in current-less waters.
Fishing in current-less water will make you more likely to entice a perch because you can catch their attention with live bait like minnows, which will move in the water. Perch have very bad eyesight, another reason to find slack water. The movement from the live bait will trigger a reaction from the perch.
Because perch have poor eyesight, the proper ice fishing rod and reel combo are important. Properly outfitting for catching perch can make the difference between catching fish and not. Our article What is the Best Size Reel For Ice Fishing? will help you decide the best setup for this season’s ice fishing.
What Depth is Best for Perch Ice Fishing?
Perch adjust their depths during different seasons because of the changing water temperatures. The depth of perch is determined by water temperature and whether their food source has moved deeper.
The best depth is between 10′ and 50′, depending on the time of year. Early season perch can be found in the shallower areas (10′-20′) and go deeper as winter continues.
|Time of Year||Early Season||Mid-Late Season|
|Depth of Perch||10′-20′||30′-50′|
Water Type for Ice Fishing Perch
Perch are a relatively common fish you can find in almost any kind of freshwater body.
It is common to find perch swimming in lakes and ponds because they are freshwater fish. You can also find perch swimming in streams and rivers. However, they prefer areas with low currents.
Look for waters with little currents since this will make finding perch much easier.
You can find perch in freshwater bodies at varying depths. Depending on the time of year, the depth you find these perch will vary.
Freshwater perch are active fish even during winter, making them relatively easy to catch. Ice fishing poles are extra sensitive with special tips that make it much easier to detect when a perch are biting your hook.