If you want to catch some yellow perch, you don’t have to drive to Lake Erie to fill a cooler. Upground reservoirs, a type of artificial inland lake, offer excellent yellow perch fishing if you know where to go and how to catch them. Yellow perch can be caught in upground reservoirs using techniques similar to those proven effective in Lake Erie. Upground reservoirs with the best yellow perch fishing are primarily located in Northwestern Ohio.
TIPS: The key to catching yellow perch is finding the right location. You must find where the fish are holding and feeding at each time of the year to be successful.
Some anglers use fish finders (sonar) to locate yellow perch. However, they can be difficult to see on a fish finder when they are lying on or close to the bottom. A popular technique to locating them is drifting or slow trolling until you catch one, then anchor immediately and fish straight down.
Yellow perch also like to associate close to structure. Most upground reservoirs do not have much vegetation, but if you find some rooted vegetation, try fishing along its edge. If you find submerged trees near shore, they may be worth trying as well.
Choosing a rod that can provide good feel is important. Yellow perch bites can be expected to be light, so tackle should be light.
Remember, if you are not catching these fish, be flexible and try changing locations, using other baits, or choosing a different time of day to fish. You may find that yellow perch have developed a pattern of feeding at a particular time in a particular reservoir.
TACKLE: Use a light spinning rod and reel with 6-8 pound test during most of the year and ice fishing rods and gear during winter.
SEASON: Fall (mid-September-November)
PEAK ACTIVITY: Excellent
PRESENTATION: Slow drift or slow troll from boat. After you catch one; anchor at that location. Fish straight down just off the bottom using small minnows fished with a spreader or crappie rig.