Targeting Perch Throughout The Year (and where to find them)

Let’s start with dividing the Dutch perch into two groups: 1) the relatively small perch and 2) the bigger perch.

The relatively small perch weigh around one kilo and are 30-40 cm long. They live in large shoals of 100, or even more. The bigger perch weigh over two kilos and are around 50 cm long. These bigger perch like to swim alone, or in smaller shoals of 2-10 fish.

In this article I’m focusing on the bigger perch and the tactics and techniques to hook them.

At the beginning of the year, in January and February, the water is still cold – around 4-6 degrees Celsius. The big perch spend their winter in large shallow sand flats, 1-4 meters deep.

The place I fish is located at the end of a river system. When it rains, or when the snow melts, the flow increases which turns the water darker. In situations like that, the perch gather closer to river banks and rocks.

These areas are large, and thus it is crucial to try to cover as much of the area as possible while fishing. We like to use a drift boat and cast small crankbaits that swim just above the bottom. Great crankbaits to try out are the Rapala Scatter Rap® Crank and the Rapala Ultra Light Crank.

Another good options to consider are shads and jointed shads, like the Rapala Jointed Shad Rap®. Whenever we get a bite, or catch something, we fish the place again slowly with a jerkbait – check out the Rapala Shadow Rap®.

During March the perch move towards the spawning spots, which are the areas with smaller stones or deeper holes. The best way to locate those is to use a sonar. Cast a shad on those places. You’ll get very aggressive bites! Also try sinking crankbaits – they work very well as they swim close to the bottom. Good lure in that category is the Rapala Scatter Rap® Crank Deep, which dives quickly and works in the 3-meter range.

In Netherlands, the season closes for April and May, as the fish are spawning.

After the spawn, in June and the rest of the summer, the perch spread out over the lake. The vegetation increases, which offers the fish more coverage. Now try fishing the edges of the weed. Find a slope that is 2.5 – 4 meters in depth. Cranbaits are again your choice. Also give the Rapala Weedless Shad some game time.

During September and October, the weed starts to dry. The perch move to deeper waters, between 4 and 10 meters, and start preparing for the winter. The best tactic now is to fish with shads and blade baits.

November and December, the perch head back the shallow flats. They can be difficult to catch, since their bellies are already full, and they are not hunting as aggressively. Use the sonar to locate the fish, and fish very slowly with jerkbaits.

There you go – a plan for the whole season! I really hope this helps you catch the big ones!

Tight lines,
Jan Boomsma