Using Perch As Bait: Essential Facts & Tips For Beginners

Do you know that using perch as bait is not permitted in all states? To be more specific, some authorities outright prohibit the use of gamefish as bait, while others allow it under limited circumstances. 

Therefore, when it comes to fishing bait, you should always verify the requirements for your lake or river, in addition to your state legislation. Perch are fantastic bait for big catfish, pike, muskie, and even bass if you are allowed to use them.

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Is It Legal When Using Perch As Bait?

Each state has its own sportfishing legislation that determines the use of perch as bait. It is possible in Philadelphia, for example, because the city’s regulations stipulate that “lawfully obtained gamefish may be taken as bait.” However, in California, this is currently illegal.

In addition to determining the legal use of perch bait in your state, you must also figure out whether or not you are permitted to transport them from one lake to another. In Pennsylvania, for example, it is prohibited to “transfer fish from one Pennsylvania watershed to another where that species is not always present.”

To put it another way, you should check to see if you may catch fish in one lake and then use them as bait in another or only use them if they are taken in the same lake. Finally, examine the local restrictions of the lake where you will be fishing. 

How to Check If Perch Can Be Used As Bait In Your State

Looking up your state’s fish and wildlife management agency’s website is the easiest approach to find out what’s now legal in your state.

How to Use Perch As Bait

If you’re allowed to use perch in your state and on your lake, there are many alternatives and methods on how to use them correctly. 

Perch can be used live, dead, or chopped as bait. All of these approaches can be effective baits for big game fish, and if you can make one of them work for you, you’ll be a step ahead of other fishers who use more traditional methods.

For bass

Bass has been known to eat nearly anything, and getting big largemouth bass with live bluegill is a favorite way. Similarly, you can capture them with a perch using very similar tactics. However, unlike catfish and pike, the ideal size for bass is about 2-4 inches to ensure that they fit in the bass’s mouth.

Using Perch As Bait 1

 

The best technique to catch bass this way is to use a slip bobber and cast it close to cover where bass like to congregate. It’s always thrilling to get a strike on this type of setup and watch the bobber disappear when a monster fish pulls it under.

For catfish

Many catfish anglers believe perch to be one of their best-kept secrets, especially when it comes to capturing big flatheads or blue catfish.

Using Perch As Bait 3

While tiny ones about 2” to 3” might be an excellent live bait for channel catfish, if you want to target big catfish primarily, use the 6” to 8” size instead. This is a highly effective approach for consistently catching fish over 50 pounds.

Finally, you can utilize them to lure catfish by using them dead, sliced in half (use the head end), or as a filet.

For pike

Perch, like catfish, are one of the best-kept secrets for capturing huge pike. If you use a 5”-6” fish as bait, you should be able to catch some decent-sized pike, but if you want to target trophy-sized pike, up the size to 8 inches or even larger. That way, you’ll catch pikes that weigh between 10 and 15 pounds while avoiding the smaller ones.

Using Perch As Bait 2

Keep in mind that pike’s favored prey fish can differ from one lake to the next. They catch a lot of perch in some waters, while they prefer different species in others. Examining the stomach contents of freshly captured pike is a superb method to figure out what they desire in your lake.

One of the best things about pikes is that they are willing to eat dead fish, so you don’t have to worry about keeping them alive.

For ice fishing

Small perch is one of the most regularly captured fish throughout the ice fishing season, so they’re easy to get across during the winter.

If you’re a pike angler who likes using tip-ups, perch is a great bait to try with this technique. You can utilize them either alive or dead, as pike prefer dead fish during the winter months.

Remember that big ones, around 8-9 inches, can be used to target those prizes in the north.

Smaller ones, ranging in size from 2” to 4”, can also be used to catch bass through the ice, albeit only live ones should be used for bass.

Conclusion

Fishing is a hobby that can help you relieve stress after a stressful working day. There are many types of fish to use as bait, especially perch. Once you’ve determined to use perch as bait permission, make sure that you follow our tips concerning the regulations listed above before going fishing. Good luck and enjoy your trip!