The question is, does it matter which type of perch rig you use? The answer would be yes of course, just as certain crankbaits work better when water temps dictate their use, or certain spinner blades work best depending on the forage. When it comes to fishing the Great Lakes, there were two main types of perch rig, and in the last five years a third has come into play, called the Tightline Rig. It has its time and place, just as the two that still remain the most popular, all three will be discussed, and in my opinion, when is the best time to use them.
Since I already mentioned the Tightline Rig, it will be the first one discussed. Saying that the tightline perch rig cannot be used in all conditions is like saying that Deep Husky Jerks should only be used in cold water, they will of course catch fish all year-long, but I prefer fishing them in rough water conditions. When the waves are 3 foot plus it becomes a bit harder to detect bites on traditional rigs, but since all three hooks are secured on the main line of the rig, the ability to detect bites in rough water is increased dramatically.
The Spreader Rig just might be the most identified type of rig when it comes to perch fishing on the Great Lakes. Like the tightline rig, you can use them all year-long, but they shine when drifting for perch. The most common way to perch fish is to drop anchor and drop the rigs down and get to fishing. If you want to find active schools of perch, or schools that hold bigger yellow bellies, then drifting is the technique you should be employing. Then if you wish, you can go back, and drop anchor to where you caught those big fish.
The best all around type of perch rig, is often referred to by another name, the Crappie Rig. The funny thing to be honest is, I don’t know a soul that actually uses these rigs for crappie. Whether you use two or three hooks, the rig puts more perch in the cooler than all the rest combined in my boat. With the hook lears, or metal arms keeping the minnows away from the rigs main line, perch are enticed to bite without being spooked by the line. The top hook brings the fish in, while the bottom two lines catch most of the perch. It used to be something to get a double hook up, but now that Michigan allows three hooks, there is nothing like getting three on at once.
As stated in each case, all three types of perch can be used all year-long. Each rig has their time and place, as dictated by the fishing conditions and your mode of fishing. If you have all three in your boat, then you triple your chances no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.