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Ice Fishing Lake Simcoe Jumbo Perch

Ice fishing is another form of fishing where an angler fishes through a frozen body of water. Basically either drilling a hole through the ice or finding a safe opening in the ice were you can safely drop a line to access the water. While there are other species you can target under the ice, Perch might be a good starting point for someone who is just starting to get into ice fishing like me. Jumbo Perch from Lake Simcoe is what we are going to focus on in this post.

Lake Simoe, located in Ontario, Canada, is considered a World Class Jumbo Perch fishery. Some anglers from the south of the border plan and make trip every winter to have a jab at the Lake Simcoe's famous Jumbo Perch.

About Yellow Perch

To make it easier to catch Yellow Perch, I did some research online to understand thier diet and behavior. Then I use what I learned to determine what to use to catch these fish under the ice, or even during the warmer seasons.

Perch Diet

Perch eat small fish like emerald shiners, small crayfish, invertebrates or water bugs, fish eggs, an at times even their own kind. What notice while fishing using emerald shiners was they tend to chase the baitfish more if it is moving freely. At the times that I catch small Perch, a bigger Perch try to follow it and even eat it.

Perch Behavoir

Perch are schooling fish, meaning that if you catch one, it's more than likely that there is more around the area that are also feeding. During the winter, Perch can be found between 10ft to 40ft of water. Hut operators normally place thier huts at these water depth so that thier clients will have more chances of catching Jumbos.

How Access Ice to fish for Jumbo Perch

Rent a Hut

Renting a hut might be the easiest way for a beginner to get their foot in the door in the world of Ice Fishing. There are a number of hut operators in Lake Simcoe and it's as easy as Googling the area for hut operators. Renting a hut has its advantages and disadvantages, one advantage is the comfort of not hauling your gear and setting up every time you need to change location. The hole is already predrilled for you so you don't have to worry about drilling the ice yourself. One disadvantage however is the lack of mobiliy, you are stuck in one place, and if fish does not go to your area you won't likely catch fish. Check out our video when we rented a hut to go Ice Fishing for Jumbo Perch.

With Your Own Gear

Photo by Simon Berger from Pexels

Another way to access the hard water is to have your own gear. You need a way to drill a hole through the ice so you would need an auger. Although not essential, a shelter will shield you from the elements like the wind or blowing snow. A life suit is the preferred choice of clothing, it shields you a little fom the wind and cold and also serve as a floation device in case the ice collapses beneath you feet. Most anglers use some type of sled to drag all thier gear across the ice to get to their fishing spot.

How to Catch Jumbo Perch


Live bait is by far the best way to catch. Most anglers use live shinners attached to a hook. With live bait you will attract most species of fish in different sizes. Most outfitters provide you with minnows with your hut rental so there's no need to catch or buy minnows before you head out ice fishing.

Artificial Lures

A number of good size fish that I've caught came from artificial lures. Spoons, jigs, and lipless crank baits have done well for me on my previous trips. Believe it or not, flies also works. You'll need a heavy flies to get it to sink to the bottom fast.


The simplest setup you can do is to attach a hook at the end of you fishing line, add a splitshot about 6 inches above you hook, then put a minnow in a hook. This will allow for a more natural presentation when the bait is dropped down to the bottom.

For artifical lures, i like to attach a snap swivel at the end of my line. With the swivel, I can easily change lures from a small spoon, to a crankbait with relative ease. There is a technique called the bait and switch, where you call in a school of Perch using a flashy lure, then switch the lure with a smaller more finess one once the school get in your area. This has worked well for me and for a lot of anglers.

Perch is pretty simple to catch under the ice. If you have the gear and is willing to walk a few meters on the ice from shore, you can get in to some fish easily. But if you want the comfort of having an area where you can be warm all day, by all means rent a hut. Either way, ice fishing for yellow perch is a good way the scratch the itch of fishing while waiting for the spring months.

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