Perch are plentiful and delicious. Once you understand what perch feed on narrowing down the fly selection becomes easy. Perch will school around structure like stumps and rocky drop-offs. Perch can be found in lakes and rivers with slow currents.
These fish are aggressive, and they’re known to take fly fishing on light tackle to another level. Traditionally, folks used to catch perch using the traditional casting techniques, but the bait-stealing behavior make targeting perch with a fly rod easy.
The three best perch flies for your next fly fishing trip is the Egg Sucking Leech, colorful streamers like a Mickey Finn and Beadhead Hares Ear Nymphs. Perch have small mouths so flies in size 10 to 16 are perfect.
Egg Sucking Leech – Best Overall
Egg Sucking Leech is an exceptional fly that I have used to attract a wide range of fish species, including trout in fact, I have used it targeting trout and ended up with perch.
I experimented with the Egg Sucking Leech on perch alone, and it worked perfectly.
The Egg Sucking Leech is super easy to tie, basically a woolly bugger with bright chenille to make the egg head.
The Egg Sucking Leech is tied using a chenille body, hackle wrapped with marabou and marabou tail, the marabou wrap creates a pulsing movement triggering perch to eat.
You can guess what this imitates with the name. I’ve never seen a leech sucking on an egg in the wild though.
- The leech pattern can come in handy in late fall and early spring when perch fish are swimming in shallow bays and rivers.
- Egg Sucking Leech, perch fishers know color can turn the bright on. Experiment with different egg colors like yellow, pink, red and chartreuse.
- Look for weighted leeches. You’ve got to get this fly down into the “fish” zone. Perch will chase a bait, but they tend to stay deep.
Here’s a link to a YouTube video that Smitty’s Fly Box tied. LINK HERE Clear straight forward instructions.
Looking to buy Egg Sucking Leeches
It seems like Amazon is the “go to” spot to buy flies. For perch remember to target smaller sizes like a 10. Here’s a short cut link to Amazon Feeder Creek Egg Sucking Leech
- Brand: Feeder Creek
- Size: Look for 10
- Favorite Colors: Chartreuse Egg and Black or Yellow Egg with Purple
- Rating 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗
Guide Pro Tip: These flies and more are part of what I would recommend for any new fly fisher. Want to see the whole list? Read -> Favorite Flies for the Beginning Fly Fisher
Mickey Finn – Colorful Streamer
A favorite food for perch is small minnows. For the fly fisher that means tying on a streamer like the Mickey Finn. To fish a small stream in a lake the challenge is to get the streamer deep. The hair on the Mickey tends to keep it higher in the water column, one way to counter this is to use a full sink fly line.
When selecting a sinking fly line look for a proven brand, but inexpensive. Full sink fly line is almost a specialty item and unless you plan of fishing for perch, it’s best to look for a less costly option. Check out this Amazon link Scientific Anglers WETCEL
If you’ve ever considered tying flies, the Mickey Finn and Egg Sucking Leech are great starter flies. I’ve got a free download recipe for the Mickey Finn below
Looking to Buy Mickey Finns
The struggle when buying Mickey Finn’s is to get them in a smaller size 10. Most will be a size 4 to 6 used for trout. I did find an assortment called that contains a couple Mickey Finns along with other streamer patterns. I can’t speak to the quality as I haven’t purchased these, but they are highly rated. Link to Amazon -> Fly Fishing Flies Wet Flies Assortment
- Brand: Eupheng
- Target species: trout, perch and panfish
- Quantity: 6 in size 14
- Rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗
Beadhead Hare’s Ear Nymph – Weighted to get to the Perch
The Hare’s Ear Nymph is simply buggy. With the addition of a beadhead it has the weight to get down into the “fish zone” fast. I like fishing this in lakes with an indicator setup. Try to get the fly down to within 1 foot or so of the bottom.
Since perch will move as a school try to catch as many as possible when you find fish. I know this seems like a silly statement, but to make catching fast have your equipment ready. Pliers to remove the hook should be close, replacement flies and a bucket to put the fish into.
Getting a hare’s ear with a beadhead in the right size is easier than the streamers mentioned earlier. Size 14 has been the perfect size for me.
Looking to Buy Beadhead Hare’s Ear Nymph
When buying the beadhead nymph think about getting a couple different sizes. Sometimes you can get into a school of jumbo perch and you’ll want a bigger/heavier fly to get down past the small fish and into the “big boys”
Region Fishing sells a tungsten beadhead version that is a got to have fly. That tungsten bead helps these flies sink like a stone. Amazon link -> Region Fishing Tungsten Hares Ear
- Brand: Region Fishing
- Target species: perch, trout and sunfish
- Quantity 6 in size 14
- Rating 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕
Are you looking for some great How To Fly Fish Articles? Checkout this list:
- How to Fly Fish for Bluegills – These amazing fish are all over the USA. I like to call them the “Gateway Drug to Fly Fishing”
- How to Fly Fish for Brook Trout – Find the cleanest, coldest, most beautiful streams and I’ll bet Brookes are present.
- How to Nymph Fish – Step by Step details for setting up, presenting and catching trout with nymphs.
- How to Fly Fish for Salmon – Image hooking into a +25 pound King Salmon in a river and your Fly Rod breaks! Seriously this happened to me on my first trip.
How To Choose the Best Perch Flies?
A huge percentage of experienced fly anglers can confirm that there is an art to selecting the best perch flies. After all, there are lots of live bait insects available that fish love, so before you purchase any product, you should find out what food the perch consume in your region or where you plan to fish. You can get the perfect fly for your next fishing trip with the right information.
Remember, most dry flies perfectly imitate these insects’ adult and immature stages, including worms, leeches, and baitfish. Fortunately, thousands of insects in the market can guarantee you a win every time. So, you should consider the following factors the next time you plan on buying perch flies:
The size of the perch flies should be roughly the same as the natural fly it is trying to imitate. If it’s the same size and color, you will likely catch something every time you cast your line. Target size 10 to 16 to allow the perches small mouth to grab the fly.
Perch are known for stealing bait and since they gather in schools finding the fish can be the struggle.
Since minnows (streamers) and nymphs make up most of a perch’s diet, the key is to simulate the natural. For streamers, add a gentle jigging action to the fly. When using a nymph, I’ll often give the fly rod tip a little tap. Moving the indicator 6 inches or so to gentle shift direction of the fly.
Perch dry flies are available in a wide range of colors, so you should get the right color that can stand out at dawn or dusk. Plus, it should be a perfect duplicate of the real bait.
My most productive colors are flies with bright accents. Yellow, Red, favorite colors are
But remember, the lighting condition and other factors determine most fish’s perception of the color.
Therefore, you should focus more on the shade than getting the exact color. Remember, color is more important for subsurface flies than the floating flies. (source)
Even though these perch flies are designed for a certain purpose, they are not all the same; after all, they’re designed by different firms. But the main difference between these dry flies is their design.
For example, the leech will flatten and squirm around in the water. The Mickey Finn will pulse when retrieved in a jerky strip.
Are usually smaller and have small legs and gills. The tapered fuzzy shape of the Hare’s Ear gives the fly the impression of legs.
If it’s imitating a dragonfly, are its winds sloped or upright? Is it naturally long and skinny with a long tail? The dry fly should resemble the dragonfly in every way, even the colors. (source)
How Do I Determine the Size of the Fly?
If you can observe the size of bait fish in shallows, you can match up the fly size. But, like
I said earlier, for streamers size 10 is about right and for nymphs’ size 14.
I would have a couple flies in a size bigger and smaller just to be safe. I know that adds cost to your fly box, but not having the right fly when you’re on a trip is way worst.
The Last Cast to Perch
Perch is an exceptional gamefish that can give you the needed fight as you look for your trophy catch. They’re aggressive and can help you improve your fly fishing skills, but to attract them, you need the right dry fly to attract a perch like a woolly bugger. The wooly bugger black can be easily mistaken for live aquatic food thanks to its unique design. When choosing the right perch fly, you should consider the design, size, shape, and movement.
- Reel flies staff, Wooly Bugger Black- RF-2155,https://www.reelflies.com/Woolly_Bugger_Black_p/woolly-bugger-black.htm#product-tab-description/ Accessed April 12, 2022
- Amazon staff, Terrestrial Dry Fly Collection – 12 Trout Flies + Fly Box,https://www.amazon.com/Terrestrial-Dry-Fly-Collection-Trout/dp/B006O33W5M/ref=sr_1_4?crid=3UZL39GNV8H6U&keywords=terrestrial+Fishing+fly&qid=1649852788&sprefix=terrestrial+fishing+fly%2Caps%2C549&sr=8-4/ Accessed April 12, 2022
- Amazon staff, Alwonder 10PCS/ Pack Fly Fishing Poppers,https://www.amazon.com/Alwonder-Fishing-Topwater-Bluegill-Steelhead/dp/B095VWZ3Q7/ref=sr_1_2?crid=14IBSN0QZQ742&keywords=Perch%2BFishing%2Bfly&qid=1649852533&sprefix=perch%2Bfishing%2Bfly%2Caps%2C775&sr=8-2&th=1/ Accessed April 12, 2022
Tom Rosenbauer, Orvis Ultimate Book of Fly Fishing: Secret from the Orvis Expert,https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=ncjfAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA68&dq=how+do+I+choose+the+fly+size&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwihganLkpb3AhXpxoUKHeCYCrAQ6AF6BAgDEAI#v=onepage&q=how%20do%20I%20choose%20the%20fly%20size&f=false/ Accessed April 12, 2022