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. This is because they catch fish almost everywhere.
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. Give them a try next time on the water.
Cannot Wait? Here Is Our Top Rated Perch Lure!
1. Gulp! Alive! Minnow – Our Top Choice For Yellow Perch
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 just catch 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. This can really help too.
Keeping minnows alive is a bit hard. With these, you don’t have to. 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. Every way is effective too as long as the conditions are right.
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. It flat out catches fish when you need it to the most.
2. Powerbait Realistix Minnow – For Realism Slow Fishing
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 to much exactly like the real thing.
This means great effectiveness. The size can be varied to fit your situation because it comes in a few sizes. It has a split tail design that 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. You can use it as a jig especially if you already do some jig fishing.
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. They all work. Make sure to choose colors that match the conditions you are in.
3. Little Cleo Miniature Spoon – A True Classic Of A Lure
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. Yes, you heard that right. It’s that good.
That alone should be a witness to its effectiveness. This is certainly a lure that is a pleasure to keep in your tackle box. Having more is better. Aside from that, they are offered in many different sizes to choose from. There is big and small.
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. It can be used to imitate absolutely any minnow, shiner, shad, or fingerling.
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. This can help you get some more bites in that colder water when it matters.
4. Rapala Shad Rap – The World’s Best Crankbait Lure
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 swallow it. 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. Most predator fish have this trait naturally.
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. You can use it in many situations.
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 Of Lures
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. It catches fish.
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. This is an original perch bait with some very modern potential for success.
6. Eagle Claw Marabou Jig – Very Effective Jig For Panfish
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. Perch love it.
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. Try vertical jigging above a hole in the ice.
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. They are great for taking crappie, bluegill, and even bass will hit them pretty hard.
7. Crappie Thunder – Not Just For Crappie Exclusively
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. Its great for panfish.
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 – Certain Lures Just Catch Them Better
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! Your comment helps us produce more content like this and helps others!
This is awesome information. There are a couple of lures that I haven’t tried yet. I will give them a go.
I remember how my dad took me fishing when I was a little boy. We used only worms as bait. Back then, fishing was boring to me because, naturally, all I wanted is to play and not sit in silence and watch will the fish bite or not.
Today, I can understand my father and why he went fishing. So I am thinking of taking him as he took me before.
I just can’t figure out why are there different colors for the baits?
Hello Dalibor. The reason for different colored baits is a little complicated. Different colored lures exist for two different reasons. The first is the easiest to explain and the most basic. The food for the fish in the water will change from place to place. If you are wanting to catch Smallmouth Bass in a lake that only has crayfish as the food they eat, you don’t want to be throwing lures that look like smaller fish because it will look foreign and make them more suspicious. Instead, you want to throw brown, red, or blue, depending on what color the natural crayfish are there. Second, the color is centered around visibility. Bright colors like reds, oranges, yellows, and neon greens are easier to see in stained water closer up while dark ones like black, brown, and navy blue are much easier to see in the same water from a distance. Fish can better find food when they can see it well. Even though a certain lure is black, a fish does not see a black fish in stained water. What they see is a shadow or silhouette of it. All they see is a figure of food and they don’t reason like this: “a black fish instead of a shadow in this dirty water.” They just think things like this: “a shadow! Looks exactly like food! I just cannot see it well because the water is dirty! CHOMP!”
Thank you for your introduction, personally I don’t know much about fishing, but it seems to me I would have lot of fun from this activity, it’s nice to see someone really passionate about it so I would like to try myself too.
I believe this post will help a lot too ?
Hello Jamie. Thanks for the kind feedback. We do hope you will give fishing a try one day. It is beneficial to the mind and body! Keep us updated on your journey! Cheers! Stay hooked!
Hi, I once tried something very similar to the Roostertail and it worked just fine. I think I am going to try the Gulp Alive Minnow. You really convinced me on that one.
Thank you very much for this list of options. It will be very helpful.
Hello Alberto. You are right. Roostertail imitations work well too. Most of the time, the difference between brand names for certain lures is so small that it does not seem to affect how they catch fish. We highly encourage you to try the Gulp! Alive! Minnow if you can. It has a great scent and flavor profile, looks fairly real, and can even replace live minnows!
Dave thanks for the informative article. Was actually fishing on a vacation in northern Michigan at the beginning of them month and I wish I would have read this article before the trip.
Keep up the good work.
We appreciate the very kind feedback! We do hope you will get valuable information from our site and continue to return! Stay hooked!
Thanks for this amazing site and all the information it contains.
I want to say that I loved fishing at a young age. But now fishing is something that literally my eight years old son adores. Every weekend I have to go to many different places to fish with him. The problem is that most of the time, we don’t get to catch enough fishes, and he gets sad.
Sometimes we use fishing line and other fishing rods.
Your site contains great information that will definitely help me make my son happy !!
Hello Alexis. I know the feeling that your son experiences when the fish do not want to bite. We have all been there. It is a sad fact of the sport yet one that fishing as a whole cannot exist without. If I were to give one suggestion that might help you both out, I suggest going after a certain fish species such as Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, or Channel Catfish. I have found that fishing for “whatever bites” by baiting a small hook with a worm or cricket is not nearly as successful as purposely going after certain fish. To catch fish, you must know what species you want to catch, find them, then tie on a lure or bait that they will eat or strike at. For instance, fish with great colored vision such as Largemouth Bass will never ever go after an oddly shaped worm on a hook because it can clearly see the hook impaling the worm. Big catfish will not often go after worms because they are used to eating exclusively baitfish. Same thing with every other species.
You want an open water Perch lure? Use a #1 Mepps Aglia silver blade, undressed, French Spinner. I have been catching Perch on them since the early 1960’s. Same lure!
Hello Todd. You are very right about the Mepps Aglia Spinner. They are also great Perch lures especially the #1 undressed one with a silver blade. I just love them! I also prefer the Aglias with golden blades too if fishing water that is a little bit murky. They don’t call them the world’s number 1 lure for nothing. Thank you for your comment! If anglers do not want to use a Rooster Tail, it is hard to go wrong with an Aglia. They will work just as well and have been doing this for an incredibly long time. To address that particular lure, they also catch Walleye and Pike!
Thank you so much for this list of options. It will be helpful for everyone.
Let us know if it helps you!