In many areas, white perch provide excellent early season fishing opportunities for anglers. During their spring spawning runs, white perch are caught with live and cut baits as well as artificial lures.
In brackish creeks of coastal areas, bloodworms are a favorite bait for white perch. Other popular baits for white perch include grass shrimp, small minnows, crayfish, or other local favorites.
Artificial lures are also effective for catching white perch. Popular lures include panfish jigs, shad darts, small spinnerbaits, inline spinners, small spoons, crankbaits, or other lures. During cold weather, vertical jigging is sometimes effective for catching white perch. As the water warms and fish move into smaller creeks where shallow water limits lure types.
Perch fishermen often tip their jigs with a live minnow or other natural bait. Small setups such as a 1/16 oz. shad dart tipped with a small minnow can be effective along creek edges or drop offs.
Processed, scented baits are also available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some scented baits can be fished in the same manner as traditional baits. Other products are molded into soft bodies for use with jig heads, worm rigs, or other setups.
Anglers either release white perch, or keep a few for cooking. Perch should be kept chilled until cleaned. Large white perch can be filleted like other species. Smaller fish are usually scaled, headed, and gutted. When cleaning perch during the spring, the angler should be careful not to damage the roe, which is a delicacy.
After cleaning, the meat and roe is rinsed and chilled until time to cook. White perch and their roe are often breaded or battered and fried. Their mild, sweet flavor makes them one of the most popular freshwater fish for the table.