How to Fish for Perch in Tennessee

by Audrey Farley
Yellow perch are the most common type of perch.

Yellow perch are the most common type of perch.

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Perch are aggressive biters, making them somewhat easy to catch compared to other species of panfish. Anglers catch perch from boat docks and piers, as well as from the shore. Perch live in streams, rivers, ponds and inland lakes. In Tennessee, there are no creel or length requirements for perch, which means you can keep whatever size and number of perch you catch.

Items you will need

  • Fishing license
  • Fishing pole
  • Tackle
  • Bait
Step 1

Obtain a valid fishing license if you intend to keep the perch. Obtain a license by visiting any Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency office or by visiting the state website ( and completing an application. You must provide a Social Security number and proof of state residency.

Step 2

Find a fishing water. Panfish, including perch, are found in all the major rivers, reservoirs and lakes throughout the state, including the following lakes: Boone Lake, Center Hill Lake, Cherokee Lake, Chickamaurga Lake, Dale Hollow Lake, Douglas Lake, Hull Lake, J Percy Priest Lake, Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, Nickajack Lake, Norris Lake, Old Hickory Lake, Reelfoot Lake, South Holston Lake, Tellico Lake, Tims Ford Lake, Watauga Lake and Watts Bar Lake.

Step 3

Review the fishing and boating access restrictions for the body of water you plan to fish. Access these guidelines on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website (

Step 4

Locate large schools of perch with sonar, since perch schools feed on different types of forage and can be suspended or schooled over deep mud flats.

Step 5

Use bait that best emulates the kind of forage the school is targeting. Use small ice jigs tipped with grubs or maggots if the perch are feeding on insect larvae or plankton. Use either small jigs tipped with minnows or small versions of walleye jigs and spoons if perch are feeding on minnows. Use fresh bait, particularly if you observe that perch are biting light.

Step 6

Add colored beads, spinners or aluminum foil to add extra attraction to the bait, whether you use grubs, maggots, minnows or jigs.

About the Author

Audrey Farley began writing professionally in 2007. She has been featured in various issues of "The Mountain Echo" and "The Messenger." Farley has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Richmond and a Master of Arts in English literature from Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches English composition at a community college.

Photo Credits

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