What Is The Best Hook Size For Perch? (For All Techniques)

PUBLISHED 23 AUGUST 2021

by Bill Laney

While many anglers only target yellow perch during the ice fishing season, you can readily catch them all year round. In some fisheries they reach sizes north of 3 pounds, and in my book trophy size perch are extremely fun to catch all year round.

But in order to catch perch successfully it’s important to use the right setup and tactics. An essential part of rigging for perch is choosing the right hook size, which is especially important when trying to finesse them with ultralight gear.

In this article we’ll cover the best perch hook size to use, and we’ll also discuss different sizing options in relation to the different types of hooks and tactics you can use.

What size hook should you use for perch?

The best hook size for perch is size 4 to 8 (with 6 as the best all-around option). But depending on the circumstances, you can also use slightly larger or smaller hooks.

For example, when targeting big perch (or when using large soft plastic baits), you can go up to a size 2 hook. Conversely, if you’re targeting smaller perch (or when using smaller bait), you can go down to size 10 or 12.

In my experience, you can catch small perch with relatively large hooks, or large perch with small hooks, so the size of the hook is primarily determined by the size of your bait. Also, since perch don’t get much bigger than 3 to 4 pounds (and even those sizes are very rare), you don’t need to worry about a small hook getting bent open by a large fish.

And since perch don’t grow very large, you can also use a relatively thin hook gauge, which results in better hook setting, since a thin hook is more effective for penetrating the relatively hard mouth of a yellow perch.

What kind of hook should you use for perch?

The best hook types to use for perch are:

  • Baitholder hook
  • Octopus hook
  • Circle hook
  • Drop shot hook
  • Treble hook

Which of these you should use depends on your specific perch fishing tactic. Standard baitholder hooks are great for fishing with nightcrawlers, maggots, and wax worms. Octopus and circle hooks are ideal for fishing with minnows and other live baitfish.

When using a drop shot rig, you’ll obviously want to use a drop shot hook, and when targeting trophy perch with big baitfish you may want to use treble hooks to improve your hook up ratio. Finally, if you want to use weedless rigging with soft plastics, you’ll need to use an offset hook. 

Circle hook size for perch

The best size circle hook to use for perch is size 4 to 6. The circle hooks should be snelled and with a wide gape, and are usually best for live bait (minnows). Circle hooks come with the advantage of rarely resulting in a deep hooked fish, and essentially result in the fish hooking itself.

Using circle hooks is a great option if you want to set up multiple rods with live bait (or multiple tip ups for perch ice fishing). Even if you leave your rod unattended, giving the perch a long time to swallow the bait, you usually end up with the perch  getting hooked in the corner of the mouth, which means you can safely release it after landing it.

What size drop shot hook should you use for perch?

The best drop shot hook size to use for perch is size 2 to 6 (with 4 as the best all-around option). Using a size 2 drop shot hook is helpful when using large plastic swimbaits around 3 inches or so, since you want the point of the hook to protrude from the bait to get effective hook ups.

However, if you want to use a finesse drop shot setup for smaller perch (or for finicky or shy fish in pressured lakes), you can go down to size 6, and combine that with smaller soft plastics. And especially when the bite slows down (or if you notice that fish don’t commit fully to eating your bait), it’s always a good idea to downsize to a more sensitive and lightweight bait presentation.

What size treble hook should you use for perch?

The best treble hook size to use for perch is size 12 to 16 (with 14 as the best all-around option).

Treble hooks are most often used when rigging tip ups for perch ice fishing, as they help to get more hook ups, and also work well if you’re targeting both walleye and perch at the same time. Also, a size 12 treble hook is ideal for using with a single perch eyeball, which is one of the best ice fishing baits for perch.

What size hook should you use for small perch?

The best hook size for small perch is size 8 to 12. Some fisheries only produce small perch that don’t get much bigger than 5 inches, and you can readily catch these fish with a size 8 or 10 octopus hook baited with a couple of spikes (aka maggots), a piece of nightcrawler, or wax worms. In many cases, the same setup also works well for other panfish, and for trout.

What size hook should you use for ice fishing perch?

The best hook size for perch ice fishing is size 4 to 8 (with 6 as the best all-around option). You can use baitholder hooks (either regular or octopus) with worms, waxies, or spikes, and circle hooks with live minnows.

When ice fishing with live minnows, many anglers prefer to use a jig head instead of a hook, since that helps to keep the minnow down in the strike zone. You can also experiment with different jig head colors as an added signal to trigger more strikes. 

What is the best jig size for perch?

The best size jig head to use for perch is 1/32 oz to 1/8 oz. I prefer to use tungsten jig heads, as they are more compact and work better for finesse applications.

When targeting trophy size perch in open water, you can even go up to a 1/4 oz jig head, which will help to avoid getting bites from smaller fish. While yellow perch don’t grow very large, you’d be surprised at how big of a bait they can gulp down without any problems.

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