If you enjoy tackling yellow perch through the ice, you’ll love chasing them during the spring and summer even more
As with ice fishing, open-water perch are best targeted by fishing vertically. My favourite tactic is to anchor over structure and jig small jigs and spoons. One of my most productive presentations is to lift and bounce my offering off the lake bottom a couple of times, then let it dangle motionless for several seconds just off the bottom. If I don’t get a bite, I repeat the process.
When dangling your offering, hold the fishing rod straight out, or angled slightly downward. This gives you maximum sensitivity, while allowing for enough lifting room for a quick hookset. If the perch are really fired up, they’ll bite immediately. When they aren’t quite as aggressive, however, you’ll often feel them just as you start to lift the rod.
If the vertical bite slows down, I start fan casting my offering and slowly retrieving it back to the boat. Doing this often attracts the school back under the boat so you can start vertical jigging again. It can also help you locate where the school has gone, allowing you to move back over the fish and resume jigging.
Another great perch tactic is to suspend a jig or single baited hook under a slip bobber. While this works over all types of structure, it really shines when fishing over weedbeds and around man-made structures, or when casting toward rocky shorelines. Add just enough weight to ensure the bobber is neutrally buoyant and floating upright, then adjust the rig so that your offering is four to six inches above the lake bottom or weed tops.
Once the bobber settles, watch it closely. If it gets dragged under, a perch has sucked in the lure. If the bobber falls over, however, it means the fish has grabbed the bait and is swimming upwards with it. When that happens, simply reel in the slack, set the hook and enjoy the open-water action.