Fall is a fantastic time to target the coveted yellow perch on Lake Erie. If you are wondering how to prep for the fall perch bite on Lake Erie to maximize your trip you will want to consider things like departure points, fishing locations, when to go, techniques, prepping for the weather and knowing where to turn for local resources.
Fall fishing for perch from August through October is an exciting way to experience some of the best fishing that Lake Erie has to offer and maybe even head home with a limit. Start by purchasing a valid Ohio fishing license and head out to some of the best fall perch fishing hotspots on Lake Erie.
Why Perch are Prime in the Fall
Planning a fall perch fishing trip on Lake Erie is exciting because the fish bite is on. They are generally bigger in size this time of year and the chance of catching a limit is high. Hello, fall fish fry! One of the reasons perch fishing is prime in the fall is because the fish congregate in large schools and move closer to the shore as the waters cool, whereas they spend the summer months in deeper water offshore.
Fall Perch Fishing Techniques
The best techniques for catching fall perch on Lake Erie are the simplest ones. Since the perch are moving closer to shore in the fall months you can easily fish for them from the shoreline or the break walls with minimal equipment or you can head out onto the water with a charter. The gear and bait used for fall perch fishing on Lake Erie is most commonly a perch rig that has two or three hooks with a sinker and emerald shiners or minnows on them. You want to jig your line and bait up and down just off the bottom. Using this method, you might just catch two or even three perch at a time.
Where to Fish
If you are heading out to fish for perch by boat or charter it is important to know that there are three main basins on Lake Erie from Ohio: the western basin, where anglers can depart from Port Clinton and Sandusky; the central basin which extends along the Ohio border into Pennsylvania with departure points including Huron, Conneaut, Geneva-on-the-Lake and Ashtabula; and the eastern basin that extends from the Pennsylvania border into New York. The Ohio locations for the best fall perch bite changes from year to year. Charters are the easiest way for finding schools of perch on Lake Erie and range from private charters to walk-on head boats. You can find charters available from any of the main departure points along Lake Erie.
Tips for Windy Weather
Lake Erie is the shallowest of the great lakes so weather can change quickly kicking up storms and choppy waves. Knowing how to prep for the fall perch bite on Lake Erie means keeping an eye on the weather forecast in the days before your trip and before heading out onto the water. Even if the forecast is fine, the fall winds can pose a challenge to anglers, so it is good to have a backup plan. Boaters can find fishing spots from behind islands, or you can fish from the shore on concrete piers near the harbors. Be sure to pack rain gear and a windbreaker as well as sunscreen and motion sickness pills to prepare for any weather conditions.
The best and most current information for fall perch fishing on Lake Erie comes from local bait shop operators and fishing captains. These are the sources that can advise on where the fish are biting, how they’re biting and what’s working best for bait. You can access fall fishing reports for Lake Erie before your visit to see how catch rates are going. It is also important to brush up on catch regulations before you go as bag limits for perch can change from year to year.