One of the most popular panfish is the Yellow Perch. They fight very well for their size, they are fun to catch, and they taste delicious in a frying pan. As live bait is getting more popular this day and age especially with fish of this species, some anglers are trying to go back to artificial to show the fish something new. Sometimes, you just cannot get live minnows or shiners before you go fishing.
This is going to be a list of the best Yellow Perch lures. They should be one of the first things you try when you are after this fish. They are generally ordered in terms of effectiveness but one lure may work better or worse on any given day for one reason or another. Choosing a lure is difficult but needed.
In any case, these are the ones you can count on to catch limits in many different bodies of water, year-round, regardless of the water clarity. Without getting much farther into it, here is a list of the best lures we have found. They were all extensively tested for effectiveness in catching Yellow Perch. They are the best out there. They are what we have found to be effective in catching every size of fish and were handpicked by our own reviewers.
Cannot Wait? Here Is Our Top Rated Perch Lure!
1. Gulp! Alive! Minnow – Top Choice
If you just want a number one recommendation about what will work to catch them and do not really care about anything else, consider the Gulp! Alive! minnow as one of your first options. Tried and true for its amazing appeal, many Perch fishermen would agree that these artificial, soft, plastic, minnow bodies are the way to go, pretty much everywhere that houses fish.
They have some of the best features and you will love them. While they will work every bit as good as live minnows, there are even days when they will work even better than the real thing. Keeping minnows alive is a bit hard. They are infused with as well as packaged in the Berkley exclusive formula, which is a mix of fish oil and various other secret components that the company keeps top secret. One thing is for certain. These catch fish. They catch them and do it very well.
The soft plastic minnow bodies come in either a jar or bag of the fluid bite juice. When done fishing, you can set them back in to recharge the lure.
You can use these a number of different ways. You can mount them on a jighead for vertical fishing, you can run them on a live bait rig in place of live minnows, and you can even use them as a trailer on other lures.
The possibilities are near endless with this one. The action of the lure itself is incredible as the bait is made out of a softer plastic yet it is durable enough to hold up to repeated abuse. You also get a lot of them to use instead of just one. Overall, the Gulp! Alive! minnow is one of the best Perch lures and certainly is our top pick if we had to choose one.
2. Powerbait Realistix Minnow – For Realism
The Powerbait Realistix Minnow from Berkley is truly a spectacle for Perch fishing. Minnows are often the most popular and effective bait to catch them and for a good reason. The soft body of these lures is just incredible. With a very realistic baitfish profile as well as 3d eyes molded right onto the plastic, these are a great alternative to live bait. They look almost exactly like the real thing.
The size can be varied to fit your situation because it comes in a few sizes. It has a split tail design which moves with every little bit of current. The way it performs in cold water is very reliable as it moves very slow.
You can run these on a live bait rig by replacing the real minnows. The result is a bait that looks alive but will not rip off because the soft plastic stretches a lot.
In addition, you can also mount them on a jighead for vertical jigging for when the predators are holding near to brush and cover. For extra effect, we like to rig two or three of these on one rod to make it possible to catch two or three jumbos at a time. These are especially great when you cannot get live minnows or just prefer to use imitations instead. They come in a few great and effective colors.
3. Little Cleo Miniature Spoon – A True Classic
If we go back a little in time, there was higher than average demand for users wanting to purchase Little Cleo casting spoons. Fast forward until today, and you have one of the most classic and influential baits of all time. The Little Cleo was invented by Acme with the sole purpose of targeting all major game fish. That alone should be a witness to its effectiveness. This is certainly a lure that is a pleasure to keep in your tackle box. Aside from that, they are offered in many different sizes to choose from.
The mini model, which is often used for panfish, is the perfect spoon to target Perch of all sizes, regardless of where you may go to find them.
On the retrieve, they have a very fast but natural wounded baitfish profile in the water. This is just perfect when the fish have a slightly higher metabolism, especially so in the warmer months. It is an incredible search and find lure and will help you cover water more quickly. The color can also be modified to match whatever bait that exists where you fish.
The wobble that it performs as it is retrieved may seem pretty realistic by itself. This is because it looks exactly like a wounded baitfish just swimming through the water. The Acme Little Cleo is a casting spoon. That means it is meant to be retrieved at whatever speed you decide on whether it be super fast or super slow. Because it is a casting spoon, it is always recommended to have it tied directly to the line instead of using hardware like snap swivels or clips to attach it. Also, its action can be exaggerated by using a loop knot which will make it roll in addition to its regular action already.
4. Rapala Shad Rap
Renowned for the classic Rapala wobble, a realistic baitfish profile, and no rattles to speak of, the Rapala Shad Rap is one of the best crankbaits today to target absolutely any species. The Shad Rap is a traditional lipped crankbait. For those unaware, a crankbait is a reaction lure. In other words, fish do not bite these because they want to.
They bite it because they are usually irritated by its presence, territorial, or they have a bad case of hyperactivity that they like to take out on poor defenseless baitfish.
Even though crankbaits are not technically attraction based, the Shad Rap differs because it is meant to irritate them as well as attract them if they are hungry.
In situations when fish don’t want to bite, you can bring this out and get them to react to it. If they are hungry, tying one on is a great idea too because of how realistic it appears.
Couple that with the wounded baitfish action that Rapala is known for and you have something special that could be your successor for the day. In huge contrast to many competitors, this one does not have a single rattle. There is a ton of debate about rattles and whether or not they are better, but this one does not have them. This means the approach is more subtle and natural which is a plus in colder or heavily pressured fisheries who have seen cranks before.
5. Original Roostertail – THE Panfish Catcher
If you are in the market for a versatile fishing lure that will catch most fish without much discriminating, the original rooster tail will certainly fit the bill. It is one of the oldest lures on the market, still in use today. With its classic design and action, it has come to be one of the most successful lures ever to exist. Yakima made the angling industry what it is today. The thing you may notice that is different from this lure compared to other styles is the design. The design is an old one. It is also original.
It is fairly simple and does not have have a ton of bells and whistles such as detailed paint jobs or an extremely realistic baitfish profile.
What it does have is a fur-covered hook, a little bit of metal here and there, and a blade that will attract just about everything that swims. It has some age to it, yet it is still as effective at landing Perch, Walleye, Crappie, bass, and other fish.
Particularly popular with panfish anglers as well as Walleye or Pike anglers, that enticing action of the rotating blade produces noise and water displacement that sounds the dinner bell.
It can be fished very fast to cover more water quickly or just slow enough to make the blade spin. Either way, it does a great job of mimicking a wounded baitfish as well as an insect on the retrieve. It is very helpful in fishing water with lower visibility as it is easier to find the bait if it displaces water. It is also very helpful during warmer weather when the metabolism of the fish are higher.
6. Eagle Claw Marabou Jig – Very Effective
The marabou jig from Eagle Claw is a great jigging lure as well as one that can be retrieved, fast or slow. Tied on an Eagle Claw brand jighead, the lure has a very slow and subtle jigging action in the water. It also has a very natural movement on the retrieve. This particular bait is extremely versatile and you can catch fish with it pretty much everywhere at any time of the year. This is one of the best options for ice fishing too. It makes a very slow presentation that the fish really key in on in the cases of colder temperatures. It has very natural looking feathers.
This will enable you to get some great, enticing, action even if you do not want to retrieve it. All you have to do is drop it down to the fish and pop it once or twice.
The very slow and natural-looking feathers will often do the rest for you. They also come in many various colors that will allow you to change it up to match the wants of the fish.
You certainly cannot go wrong with a handful of these in your tackle box every day. They are a great option to consider if you want a colder water lure and even for warmer climates too.
7. Crappie Thunder – Not Just For Crappie
Although this bait was originally designed for the purpose of attracting and catching Crappie, the Mr. Crappie brand at Strike King has succeeded in inventing a bait that performs very well for other fish. This includes Bluegill, Pumpkinseed, Redear, small catfish, small bass, and yes, even Perch will choke it down rather quickly. It is a very effective multi-species lure that will work in most waters. You can jig it, cast it, attach a spinning blade, shoot docks, and even dead stick them.
It is an original design based on the traditional Crappie tube. Because of this, you might want to use a spinning rod.
Wally Marshall decided to start from square one. He created a bait that is completely different from everything else out there. It features a skirt that foils out 360 degrees from the main body.
This means you get tons and tons of water displacement. They are also very soft which is helpful for getting them to move in the calmest of waters. They are great for vertical jigging, dock shooting, casting and retrieving, double or triple jigging, or mounted on a spinner.
To Sum It All Up
To conclude, the best Perch lures are the ones that work day in and day out, in multiple different water bodies, multiple times of the year, in multiple water clarities.
Every lure on this list fits that criteria perfectly. It will always be easier to catch more fish if you can use the best lures designed for them.
Not only will you see more success but you will also have much more fun doing it in the long run. The best anglers need the best lures. Give them a try. We highly recommend it!
What is your favorite lure for Yellow Perch? Leave a reply in a comment below so we can hear what you have to say!