Mastering Perch Fishing During First Ice-Out: Expert Tips and Ideal Spots

Top 10 tips for perch ice fishing

1. Early Bird Gets the Perch

Start early! Perch are more active during dawn and dusk. Set up your gear before sunrise to catch them at their most active time.

2. Scout the Shallows

During the first ice, focus on shallow waters ranging from 5 to 15 feet. Perch often move to warmer, shallower areas as the ice forms.

3. Use Proper Bait Presentation

When using live bait like minnows or maggots, ensure they're presented naturally. Use small hooks or jigheads for a lifelike appearance.

4. Vary Jigging Techniques

Experiment with jigging motions to entice perch. Sometimes, a subtle movement might be more effective than aggressive jigging.

5. Target Structure and Cover

Identify submerged structures, weed beds, or drop-offs. Perch gather around these areas for cover and feeding opportunities.

6. Embrace Small Lures

Opt for small jigs and lures. Perch have smaller mouths, so downsizing your gear can increase your catch rate.

7. Patience Pays Off

Ice fishing demands patience. Give the perch time to inspect your bait before attempting to set the hook.

8. Keep Moving

If you're not getting bites, move around. Perch tend to school, so changing locations can lead to better success.

9. Watch for Subtle Bites

Perch bites can be subtle. Keep a close eye on your line for any small movements or twitches.

10. Safety First

  • Always prioritize safety. Check ice thickness, wear proper gear, and fish with a buddy, especially during early ice conditions.

    Bonus Tip: Leverage Technology

    Utilize fish finders or underwater cameras to locate schools of perch. These tools can significantly increase your chances of success.

    By applying these expert tips, anglers can improve their chances of a productive and enjoyable perch fishing experience during the first ice-out.

Best Lures for Perch Ice Fishing

Light Fishing Line is Key

Using light fishing line like Sufix Fluorocarbon can make the difference between catching some fish to catching a bunch of fish.  Fluorocarbon is super sensitive and virtually invisible under water.  6lb test fluorocarbon is a great starting point.

Using Navionics Web App for Perch Fishing

  • Understanding the Map: Identify potential hotspots by analyzing contour lines and structure details.
  • Utilizing Overlays: Satellite overlays reveal weed beds and underwater structures.
  • Marking Waypoints: Utilize Navionics' waypoint feature to mark potential hotspots.

Enhancing Fishing with Navionics

  • Zoom and Pan Features: Explore the map thoroughly to pinpoint potential fishing spots.
  • Community Edits: Check for user-contributed data and shared spots.

Combining Navionics with Fishing

  • On-Site Confirmation: Validate spots using on-the-ground cues like sonar and visual observation.
  • Flexibility is Key: Stay open to exploring nearby areas for better opportunities.

Safety First

  • Ensure ice thickness is safe before venturing onto the ice.  Check with your local ice hut operators or online fishing forums daily for current ice conditions. 


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