Fishing Tidal Lagoons for White Perch

White Perch, a "secret saltwater fishery"

As the autumn starts in October, the white perch fishery starts to heat up. White perch are a freshwater species, very similar to the striped bass & white bass, however lacking the large size in older fish. Typically white perch range from one half pound to 2 pounds in size. Like the striper, the white perch are indigenous to our New Jersey Freshwater River systems. Parts of the rivers that empty into saltwater rivers and bays are an excellent place to fish for white perch. Fishing from shore means, finding a bridge, dock or lagoon shore area to fish from. Bring your lightest rod & reel and small hooks. Many anglers will rig up for flounder, to perhaps land a winter flattie, while tending to the white perch action. This means baiting with bloodworms, sandworms, night crawlers or clams. The difference between flounder fishing and white perch fishing is the size of the bait. Flounder are sight feeders and rely on their ability to see the bait, therefore larger pieces of worm would be used, white perch on the other hand would "nibble" on the ends of a large worm, so using a smaller piece of bait is more productive.

American Eels also frequent the brackish water areas of the rivers, but most would not be able to take the hook for white perch, so the eels have a tendency to nibble on the bait when the perch are not around. White Perch also make an excellent "live" bait for stripers. Many times, when I catch a small perch, I will rig it up with a live bait hook and a pyramid sinker, just in case any resident stripers are in the area. White Perch are also a hearty fish, and stay alive in live wells or on a stringer. When the perch are biting, you can fill up a bucket in an hour, and the meat is very delicious. Meat fisherman prize the white perch as a late fall, winter fish, when many of the more popular food species are not available.

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