How to catch golden perch

Golden perch are a prized catch among anglers and can often be found lurking around other species such as cod. However, if you want to score big, it pays to be more specific with your techniques and locations, using smaller lures to entice these elusive fish. With both baits and lures being effective in catching golden perch, it's always wise to mix things up if one approach isn't working out.

In the beautiful Sunset Country, golden perch thrive in the shallower lakes and turbid rivers, where the water temperature is warm and perfect for this species. These crafty fish are usually found lurking near some sort of structure, such as submerged logs, rock walls, or standing timber, which could be as thick as a tree trunk or as slender as a branch.

But it's not just golden perch that you'll be reeling in. While using any of the techniques to catch these beauties, it's common to hook onto other species such as redfin or even cod. So, whether you're a seasoned angler or a novice, get out there and experience the thrill of reeling in a golden perch.


When it comes to trolling for golden perch, finding them in the first place is key to success. In lakes, smaller bibbed crankbaits, deep divers, lipless crankbaits, soft plastics, and smaller spinnerbaits work well when trolled between depths of 3 to 8 meters along the shoreline. The size of the lure is important; it should be small enough to move slowly between the midwater and the bottom, but not too large. Trying different lures on each of the two lines, at a maximum, can help determine what the fish respond to. Trolling is better done on banks with less timber or areas where there is larger dead timber standing vertically in the water. However, there is a downside to trolling, which is getting snagged or hung up. So, a balance must be struck between being in a good zone and not being constantly snagged. Once golden perch are found this way, you can turn around and go over the area again or use another technique if you prefer.

Boat-based lure casters

When casting lures from a boat, golden perch are great fun to catch as they will vigorously strike lures, putting up a great fight on light tackle. They can be targeted by slowly moving along the shoreline, casting towards the bank with the same lures you might use for trolling. Another successful boat-based method is dropping vertically down to fish in the trees from a stationary position. The lure can be worked or hopped back to the boat using lipless crankbaits, smaller deep divers, and smaller spinnerbaits. Fishing vertically for golden perch in lakes relies on moving every 20 minutes or so or using a good sounder to find the schools in the first place. Small black soft plastic grub tails are a deadly lure in these circumstances; move your lure very slowly from the bottom to the surface. In shallower sections of rivers and lakes, casting a diving lure either side of standing timber is a very sound approach.

Bait fishers

Bait fishers can do very well using a variety of natural baits such as earthworms, small yabbies, peeled yabby tails, freshwater shrimp, and even bass yabbies. Using rigs that keep the bait anchored in a relatively same position can help avoid getting snagged too much. A running sinker or a paternoster/dropper rig both work well, with a size #1 hook being ideal. If you don't get a bite, move often and fish the same zones as the lure casters.

Shore-based fishers

Active fishers who prefer to walk or wade around lakes with a spin rod and employ a method of cast and move will love this prospecting style of fishing. By firing a series of fanned-out casts in front of you and then moving to the left or right and repeating the process, you can cover a good piece of the shoreline and stand a great chance of intersecting active golden perch. The same lures used for trolling work well, favoring lures that can be flung a long way into some deeper water that you can bounce off the bottom as you retrieve back to shore. Strikes often occur halfway back on your retrieve. Longer rods can help you cast further and cover more water. So, a 7-to 7.5-foot medium actioned rod with a 2500 sized reel, 3 kilo braided line, and 5 to 6 kilo leader of monofilament or fluorocarbon of about 6 foot is perfect. Bait fishers can use the same tackle, just add in a good rod holder so you can anchor things down and don't end up with a rod skating off into the water. Golden perch can be caught right through the day, but in hot weather they may be more active early or late in the day, when temperatures aren’t’ so gruelling.

Click here for bag limits on golden perch.