What is The Best Ice Fishing Bait for Perch?

Best Ice Fishing Bait for Perch

Ice fishing is not an easy task.

From finding the right locations, choosing the essentials to drilling holes - there are numerous obstacles that anglers have to overcome.

Also, choosing the right bait is one of those things that make a difference between successful day and a bad experience.

When it comes to choosing the best ice fishing bait for perch, try with jigging spoons, hard jigging bait/swimming lures, and soft baits like jig heads. In darker waters you can use flash lures. If you prefer live bait, the best one is a minnow.

So, here I will explain the reasons and benefits of using these baits in the following chapters:



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What is The Best Ice Fishing Bait for Perch?

Before listing the best ice fishing bait for perch, I will give you a brief explanation of the difference between a bait and a lure.

Bait is any form of food, both natural and man-made. Lures are artificial baits, made from plastic or similar materials.

Perch prefer live bait, and many anglers use those to successfully catch perch.

The following baits are the best for ice fishing for perch:


You simply can’t go wrong with a live minnow, if the rules and regulations allow it.

This is definitely the best ice fishing bait for perch.

When perch sees a minnow, it can’t resist and it will bite it. And the best thing is that minnows frequently attract larger perch specimens.

When hooked, minnows will swim and wiggle, you will not have to work the lure and being a natural food source, minnows will not look suspicious to perch.

Even better, you can suspend minnows under tip downs for ice fishing, to cover more water without having to hold the rod in your hands. These devices work excellent for smaller fish like perch. But some anglers prefer tip ups for ice fishing, and although frequently used for larger fish, quality models with adjustable triggers can work with small ones.

Additionally, minnows, unlike some other baitfish species, work extremely well in cold waters.

The downside is that they are hard to store and transport, sometimes against the law and hooking them can be quite difficult, especially for a beginner.

Night crawlers

Another good option are night crawlers. Unlike minnows, they are easy to get to and quite affordable.

Night crawlers are easy to store, transport, and keep alive. They are easy to hook and their wiggling will attract hungry perch.

Some anglers will say that night crawlers are not the best choice for winter, and it is true that cold water affects their wiggling, but it is definitely possible to catch a perch with them in winter. Use them when other methods don’t work, to change thigs a bit and present something new to perch.

The downside is that although they like cold air, freezing temperature and icy water will shorten their lifespan and they will not wiggle on the hook as lively and as long as in summer. Use them in early and late winter, when the temperatures change.

Cut perch pieces

Although perch like live baits, pieces of previously caught perch are known to attract it.

This option is very good for locations where live bait is not allowed ...

The bigger the cut piece, the bigger perch it will attract. This bait is easy to get, much easier to transport and store than live baits and it will not spoil in winter because the temperatures are low.

It is easy to mount on a hook and the smell and taste will attract hungry perch. Unlike live baits, this one lacks movement and wiggling which is very important, especially during winter.

Among other ice fishing baits for perch anglers sometimes use cut crayfish or other worm species.

What Colours and Size do Perch Like?

Perch perceive a variety of colours (like some other fish too) and you should choose according to the water colour and light conditions.

In winter, when water is covered with ice, waters get less sunlight, so you should choose your lure accordingly.

Always have a few colour options available and those are orange, green and yellow, possibly bright shades. Metallic ones which produce a lot of flash and glare are a good option too. All of there can attract hungry perch from a distance. If the waters are very clear, use lighter shades of given colours.

Perch are less active in winter and they prefer smaller lures. In “early ice” you can use anything between 1-3 inches (2,5-7,5 centimetres), but when the temperatures drop even more, in mid-winter, downsize to 1 – 2 inches (2,5-5centimetres).

Small perch will go for small lure, while big one will go for both small and larger, so try not to go very big.

Feel free to downsize even more if the perch are small and uninterested.

What is The Best Ice Fishing Lure for Perch?

Perch will react on different lure options, but these are the best ice fishing lures for perch:

Jigging spoons

Spoons are great for producing a lot of vibration and “noise”.

That will attract perch from a distance. Rattle spoons are great for ice fishing for perch. Some anglers use spoons to attract perch and then change for other options when perch is nearby.

Swimming lures

Swimming lures are great for clear waters.

They imitate swimming fish and perch can see them from a distance. They also sink fast which is great for fishing near the bottom.

Soft baits/jig heads

Soft baits are also excellent for ice fishing for perch.

Some anglers like to add a small piece of minnow, for smell and taste. Always have a few jig heads in your tackle box. Choose smaller models.

Flash lures

These are a great option for dark and murky waters.

These lures reflect light and produce flashes under water. Perch can perceive that from a distance, even if the water not clear. These lures should be used when perch can’t see usual options due to water conditions.


Ice fishing can be hard, especially for a beginner.

You can’t see in the water; fish are less active and it can be hard to attract them.

So, choosing the best ice fishing bait for perch will increase your chances and get those hungry fish to bite. Every location and situation are different, so have a few spare options in your tackle box to be able to change it on the spot. Variety is the key.

And don’t forget to adjust your jigging technique. Start aggressively, and when the perch comes close, stop the movement.

About Me

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind Slo-fishing.si and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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