Whether in one of the Great Lakes or in an inland lake, perch typically stay near the lakebed during the warm summer months. In the Great Lakes they are often near rocky or rubble-ridden terrain, while they are more likely found in weed beds in shallower inland lakes. Though perch feed all day, they typically do not bite lines at night. Their bites are gentle and hard to detect, so sensitivity is a must for perch fishermen. Watch the tip of your rod to tell if you have a nibble.
Ice fishermen often target perch among other species because they can be caught at all depths during the winter. As the season comes to a close, the perch begin tending toward the shallower waters and anglers targeting them must move their holes closer to shore. As winter passes and spring comes on, perch begin to spawn and move to even shallower water. During this time you can fish for perch from piers, break walls, and the mouths of streams and rivers.
Bait and Tackle
For summer and spring fishing, the DNR suggests using a sinker on the end of your line and a pair of number six or eight hooks about a foot apart on the leader to pull your hook down to where the perch are feeding and increase your chances of hooking a fish. Live bait works the best, according to the DNR. Minnows, wigglers, earthworms, leeches, wax worms and small crayfish are common choices for bait.
If you are ice fishing for perch, the DNR recommends using teardrop lures with insect larva or minnows as bait. Suggestions for larva include spikes, mousies and wax worms.
Although most of Michigan's lakes are good perch waters, the DNR points out several that are especially prime areas for the species. These include: the Les Cheneaux Islands in Lake Huron, Saginaw Bay, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, Lake Gogebic, Independence Lake, Hubbard Lake, Crystal Lake, Higgins Lake and Elk Lake.