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Fall Slip-Bobber Perch

By Eric Brandriet - September 21, 2021
Perch, here in the Dakota's, top many anglers' winter hitlist but fall arguably can offer some of the best perch angling of the year when water temperatures drop stimulating appetites before the cold upcoming midwest winter season. Perch truly are favorites simply due to them being great table fare. While many enjoy their continued fast action, diehard perch wranglers work hard to find the biggest of these yellow-finned striped footballs. Perch naturally school in deep water during this time but due to their nomadic and solitary nature, some of the biggest are not included. The outskirts of these larger schools should be areas of emphasis because true jumbos like to exercise their opportunistic lifestyle preying on easy meals.
Schools of perch can easily be uncovered using Humminbird Mega Side-Imaging. Locating schools while concentrating on surrounding areas will expose smaller groups of 2-3 larger perch or an individual perch. Remaining weedlines and bottom transitions between mud, gravel and/or sand are the first places to employ electronics.

Slip-bobbers or floats are often thought of as non-effective or for someone who can't catch fish by other means but are key in catching some of the biggest perch. Everyone's arsenal should have room for slip-bobbers/floats simply because they can deliver and maintain baits at specific depths. Being able to place them in exact locations with the ability to drop baits straight down is a big advantage. An Okuma Dead-Eye Pro 6.6 ML rod paired with an Okuma Ceymar C-10 reel allows for pinpoint casts putting floats in exact locations. Light line like 4-6lb fluorocarbon allows easy casting, low visibility and easy line movement through the bobber allowing for a quick drop.

Northland Tackle Lite-Bite Slip Bobbers are favorites due to easy casting and high visibility in all conditions. Keeping it simple under the bobber with a split shot and a single #6 octopus style hook can be very effective. Larger profile baits like fathead minnows or small horizontal jigs tipped with plastics and/or spikes for added scent are proven big perch favorites. Minnows, nightcrawlers, spikes/wax worms are all perch favorites and should be rotated regularly when action slows. Pay close attention to how bait is rigged, perch will let their preference be known so it can be easily replicated.

While vertical jigging is most popular and necessary to keep a school close, utilizing slip-bobbers/floats around your boat to entice some of the biggest solitary perch. A fathead minnow set very close to the bottom acting like it is trying to hide won't be passed up by many jumbos.

Perch are far from a "winter only" species providing great fall angling action. Cool temperatures coupled with an all-day bite makes it a prime season to get family and friends on the water.

Who does not enjoy seeing a bobber go down and instantaneously setting the hook on a JUMBO PERCH?

Be safe and good luck on the water this fall season!

Eric Brandriet
Eric Brandriet, a USCG licensed captain, is part owner/operator of Dakota Prairie Angling LLC, offering year-round guided trips on SD Glacial Lakes and summer trips on Lake Oahe. When not on the water or ice, he enjoys sharing his knowledge through fishing seminars, articles and blogs. Learn more by visiting
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