Known for its silvery-white scales, the white perch is a medium-sized fish that can grow up to 19 inches. White perch range throughout the waters of the East Coast, and there is a large population in the Chesapeake Bay. In fact, the white perch is one of the most abundant species in the Bay, and it is popular with anglers because of its sweet-tasting flesh.
When to Fish
Fishermen interested in catching white perch have the greatest luck during the spring spawning (March to April) and during the fall (September to November), when it's best to cast your line in the morning (7 a.m. to 10 a.m.) or later afternoon (2 p.m. to 7 p.m.). In the winter, fish in the afternoon on a mild day.
Where to Fish
White perch live throughout the Chesapeake Bay, especially in the upper Bay and its tidal tributaries. Typically, adults dwell in the open waters near the shoreline, but they also can be found in quiet streams from early spring through the fall. During spawning season (March and April), the best places to find white perch include the Chester River near Millington and the Choptank River at Greensboro. In the wintertime, the species often inhabit the downstream areas of the Bay's tributaries.
What Equipment to Use
When you fish for white perch, use the lightest tackle you can find---about a 4-pound to 6-pound monofilament line with #8 hooks. Opt for an ultra-light reel and a fast-action rod that will alert you to the smallest of nibbles.
Best Bait to Use
To catch white perch, many anglers use small jigs tipped with bloodworms, earthworms or grass shrimp. You can use a bobber. Keep in mind that these fish have been known to avoid capture by biting bait right off of the hook. To remedy this problem, place a small portion of your bait onto the hook's shank, so that the white perch will be forced to bite closer to the hook.
Often the white perch will give you a hard fight, and it can even wiggle off the hook. So be sure to give a white perch adequate time to take the bait. Then, set the hook, and reel; be prepared for the fish to pull hard against the hook and to zigzag through the water.