Yellow perch are one of the tastiest of the panfish you can pull through the hard water. No doubt these fish are a common winter target, and if you’re seeking some legit pan-filling potential, consider these tips from North Dakota ice fishing pro Jason Mitchell.

Know Their Preference
Mitchell stresses the importance of understanding forage in a particular lake. “Some lakes are driven by invertebrates while other perch patterns revolve around bait fish like shiners,” Mitchell says. “The forage not only dictates the obvious with location, but also influences the presentation.”

What Fools ‘Em
Mitchell notes that, while perch may respond to active or subtle presentations, their common forage dictates which tactic will work on a given lake. “Perch that are keying on minnows often are attracted and triggered by larger presentations like spoons and these fish are usually more aggressive. On other bodies of water, invertebrates like blood worms or freshwater shrimp often dictate a more finesse presentation with more subtle and smaller lures that have a smaller profile.”

Peak Periods
Humans don’t eat all the time (well, most of us), so we shouldn’t expect round-the-clock feeding from perch, either. As Mitchell observes, a perch’s neighborhood often dictates its feeding schedule.

“On many bodies of water, especially over deeper basins, the middle of the day with high sun is often prime. On shallow bites, especially if the water is really clear or if there are predators, mornings and evenings can sometimes be better.

“Also, perch typically don’t eat or move much at all during the night, so if there is a tough bite, I have also seen where the mornings are best because the perch have a tremendous amount of forage.