Best Perch Fishing in Wisconsin

Angler displaying a trophy wisconsin perch.
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Wisconsin is a treasure trove for anglers, especially those with a penchant for yellow perch. Nestled among its tranquil landscapes, the state boasts over 15,000 lakes, providing ample opportunities for you to indulge in perch fishing. Known for its freshwater angling diversity, Wisconsin’s waters offer you more than just the thrill of the catch; they also provide serene natural vistas that enhance your fishing experience. Whether you prefer jigging close to weed beds during the prime hours of dawn and dusk, or you enjoy the finesse of using slip bobbers, Wisconsin’s lakes are versatile to suit your preferred method of fishing.



Lake Winnebago

When you’re seeking premier perch fishing in Wisconsin, Lake Winnebago should be at the top of your list. Known as the state’s largest inland lake, it spans 137,700 acres offering abundant opportunities for anglers.

Perch Fishing in Lake Winnebago:

  • Target Species: Yellow perch, known for their size in this lake, with some reaching up to 16 inches.
  • Fishing Techniques: Jigging and using slip bobbers are effective methods.
  • Best Time to Fish: Dawn and dusk are prime times as perch tend to feed actively during these hours.

Lake Winnebago is not only vast but also interlinked with a system of rivers and lakes, including the Fox River and lakes Butte des Morts, Winneconne, and Poygan, enhancing your fishing territory. With a solid population of walleye and muskellunge, you’re likely to find more than just perch on your line.

Habitats to Explore:

  • Reefs and Islands: Good spots for finding perch.
  • Shallow Coves: Ideal for finding schools of perch, especially effective for trolling or drifting.

Green Bay

If you’re seeking premier perch fishing in Wisconsin, Green Bay is a locale you can’t overlook. The expansive waters offer a variety of fishing experiences throughout the year, with numerous fish in the range of 9-12 inches, and some even surpassing the 15-inch mark.

In Green Bay, yellow perch fishing can be highly productive. You’ll find the best opportunities for a successful catch near the edges of weed beds, as perch tend to gather in these areas. For optimal results, consider fishing in the mornings or evenings. Here’s what you need to remember:

  • Bait: Jigs or live bait are recommended.
  • Timing: Early morning or late evening are the prime times.
  • Location: Focus on weed bed edges for the best chance of finding perch.

Green Bay’s fishing season for yellow perch opens on May 20 and extends until March 15, offering a long window in which to plan your outings. If you prefer ice fishing, the winter months allow for this unique experience on Green Bay as well.

For relevant regulations regarding dates and harvest limits, be sure to consult the local fishing guides or the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources before you plan your trip. By staying informed of the rules, you ensure both a safe and legal fishing adventure.

Quick Tips:

  • Check the weather forecast; Green Bay conditions can change quickly.
  • Verify the local fishing regulations before heading out.
  • Equipment rentals and guided trips are available for those needing assistance or gear.

Lake Michigan

Known affectionately by locals as “the big pond,” this vast body of water is the most visited in the state for a reason. Here’s what you should know about perch fishing in this Great Lake:

Fishing Opportunities:

  • Seasonality: Revel in year-round fishing experiences, with peak times being summer for perch.
  • Stocking: Expect healthy perch populations, supported by annual fish stocking.

Tactics & Locations:

  • South End: Target the south end of Lake Michigan during fall. This area is renowned for natural perch fisheries.
  • Clay Flats: Move to the clay flats north of U.S. Steel near Gary, Indiana, where perch frequent the 45- to 55-foot depths with clay bottoms.
  • Techniques: Employ jigs or live bait for the most effective results. Fishing near weed bed edges can lead to successful catches, especially during dawn and dusk when perch are most active.

What to Bring:

  • A fishing pole: Tailor your gear for the perch you’re after.
  • Jigs and live bait: Adapt these to match the perch’s natural prey.

Your exploits on Lake Michigan promise not just the chance to catch perch, but also to enjoy the scenic beauty of Wisconsin’s largest lake. Whether from a boat or the shore, your fishing experience here is bound to be both productive and picturesque.

Lake Mendota

Your pursuit of perch in Wisconsin isn’t complete without experiencing Lake Mendota. Located in Madison, this lake offers a mix of fishing opportunities for both novice and seasoned anglers.

Yellow Perch Size and Population:
Historically, you could expect to catch perch ranging from 10 to 12 inches in Lake Mendota, with the occasional “jumbo” over 12 inches. While there have been fluctuations in population numbers, proactive conservation efforts continue to support a sustainable fishery.

Fishing Spots:

  • North of Second Point: Here, water depths shift dramatically from 20 to 40 feet. This area’s sharp contours are well-suited for jigging or using a rig.
  • Commodore Bar: Located west of Second Point, this feature has a shallow top at 15 feet and plunges to depths of 60 feet. Utilizing electronics can be beneficial to locate fish before deciding to jig or rig.

Fishing Techniques:
When you’re fishing Lake Mendota, be prepared to change locations frequently. Drilling multiple holes may be necessary to find schools of perch. Patience and mobility are key.

Fishing Forecasts and Reports:
For real-time advice, consult current fishing reports and forecasts ahead of your trip. These resources can offer valuable insights, such as the best fishing times for the day you’re planning to be on the water.

Lake Monona

Lake Monona, situated in Dane County, Wisconsin, is a prime location for perch fishing. With a rich aquatic environment, you’re likely to find perch around weedlines post-spawn from late spring through summer. For optimal success, focus on fishing vertically and be mindful of the current Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fishing regulations regarding size and daily bag limits.

Best Fishing Practices:

  • Vertical Jigging: Effective around weedlines.
  • Live Bait: Use minnows or worms for natural allure.

Tips for Location:

  • After spawning, target the weedlines.
  • Fish thrive in these spots late spring to summer.

Essential Gear:

ItemPurpose
JigsSuitable for perch around weedlines.
Live BaitAttracts perch more effectively.

Fishing Times:

  • Aim for early morning or late evening hours, avoiding the midday sun which can make perch less active.

Stay aware of environmental conditions, as Lake Monona’s weather can fluctuate, influencing fish patterns. K

Lake Geneva

Your exploration of Wisconsin’s rich fishing spots should undoubtedly include Lake Geneva, situated in Walworth County. Famed for its clear waters and a variety of fish, Lake Geneva is an angler’s delight throughout the fishing season.

Species: The waters here are a habitat for the sought-after yellow perch, along with other species such as walleye, smallmouth bass, and lake trout.

Perch Fishing Tactics:

  • Timing: For perch, focus on early morning or late evening hours.
  • Location: Search for perch around deep weeds adjacent to drop-offs and mid-lake humps.
  • Bait: Use jigs or live bait for perch; silver and blue patterns are effective.

Walleye Hotspots:

  • Weeds: Weedy areas and wind-blown structures in summer and fall.
  • Deep Water: Pursue walleye where the structure intersects with the thermocline, around 20-35 feet deep.

Boating and Accessibility:

  • Lake Geneva offers not only excellent fishing spots but also boating and camping amenities.
  • Access the lake at multiple points and enjoy the picturesque landscape that surrounds this prime fishing location.

Here are the weather factors to consider:

  • Wind: Look for areas where the wind meets structures, as these spots can gather food, attracting fish.
  • Temperature: Keep track of water temperature changes, especially the thermocline, for locating walleye.

Adhere to local regulations and respect the ecosystem while enjoying your fishing adventure at Lake Geneva.

Lake Wisconsin

Ideally located between Sauk and Columbia counties, this lake covers approximately 9,500 acres, providing ample space to find your perfect fishing spot.

To increase your chances of a successful catch, target areas around structure and drop-offs. Perch often congregate around these regions, especially in the cooler months:

  • Spring and Fall: Look for perch near shallower waters as they are likely to spawn in these areas.
  • Summer and Winter: Perch tend to move to deeper waters; focus on depths between 12 to 20 feet.

Bait and Tackle Tips:

  • Live bait: Minnows and worms are highly effective.
  • Artificial lures: Small jigs and spinners can yield good results.
  • Presentation: Keep it slow and steady; perch are more likely to bite with a subtle approach.

Big Green Lake

Big Green Lake, often simply referred to as Green Lake, is a renowned destination for yellow perch fishing in Wisconsin. With its rich aquatic habitat, the lake provides ideal conditions for perch throughout the year, but especially thrives during the winter months.

Winter Ice Fishing:
When the ice is safe, typically from December through March, ice fishing shanties become a common sight on Green Lake. Safety is paramount, so always verify ice conditions through local sources before heading out.

Habitat and Hotspots:

  • Weed Beds: Perch often congregate around weed beds where they can find ample cover and food.
  • Drop-Offs: The dramatic changes in depth along drop-offs are hot spots for perch seeking prey.

Tips for Your Trip:

  • Location: Focus on the west end of the lake near weed beds and drop-offs.
  • Gear: Consider using slip bobbers and jigs to increase your chances of a good catch.

Remember, perch are most abundant near structures that provide shelter and feeding opportunities. Despite its reputation for other species such as lake trout, Green Lake’s perch fishing is a highlight for anglers. Explore the west end for some of the most active fishing grounds and join the community of anglers who celebrate this perfect perch fishery in Wisconsin.

Lake Koshkonong

When you set out for perch fishing in Wisconsin, Lake Koshkonong should be high on your list. Situated mainly in Rock County, this lake serves as a substantial fishing ground, inviting anglers with a variety of fish, including a healthy population of yellow perch.

Fishing Tips:

  • Early Bird: Yellow perch are most active early morning or around dusk.
  • Bait: For successful catches, equip yourself with jigs or live bait.
  • Location: Focus near the edges of weed beds, as perch tend to school in these areas.

Lake Stats:

  • Size: 10,464 Acres
  • Maximum Depth: Approximately 12 feet

Although Lake Koshkonong is one of the largest inland lakes in Wisconsin, it’s relatively shallow which fosters extensive weed beds — perfect habitats for perch. Its easy accessibility, with multiple access points along the east shore and off local roads, makes it an angler-friendly destination.

While perch fishing is a highlight, be mindful of the lake’s conditions. Due to its shallowness, the water can get rough quickly; always check the weather before your trip and exercise caution.

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