Yellow perch are one of the most rewarding freshwater fish to catch. They fight hard, feed aggressively, and taste delicious! Perch can be caught year-round, and since they travel in schools, you’re sure to have plenty of action. Some anglers occasionally target perch, while others passionately chase down the tanks.
Whether you’re looking for a simple setup or high-tech advanced equipment, we’ve got you covered. This guide breaks down the best rods for perch fishing and outlines the type of gear that’s most effective.
While you can use any rod to catch perch, some setups are far more effective than others. Our team has years of experience reviewing and recommending fishing gear for all types of anglers. For more species-specific rod reviews, check out our complete collection here.
Rods Reviewed (clickable)
Perch Fishing Rods
Yellow perch are small fish, often weighing less than a pound. The best perch rods are lightweight and sensitive spinning rods. Length can vary depending on preference and the type of lures you prefer to use. However, a 6’ to 7’0” rod will be the most versatile and allow you to target multiple species with the same equipment.
See our perch rod buyer’s guide at the end of this post for a list of the best rod qualities and a reel pairing guide.
1. St. Croix Avid - Best High-End Perch Rod
4.4 Stars | 30 Angler Reviews | $165 - $225
The St. Croix Avid Spinning Rod is the best high-end fishing rod for perch. St. Croix is known for producing the most advanced blanks on the market and leads the industry in performance innovation. The Avid series isn’t cheap, but the superb build quality ensures the rod will last through years of intensive use.
There are several ideal specifications for perch fishing. The 7’6” build has medium-light power and extra-fast rod action. A 7’6” rod is a bit longer than your typical perch fishing rod, but this allows for longer casts and more leverage for your hooksets.
The 5’9” model has medium power and extra-fast action. This rod is much shorter, which some anglers prefer because it gives you more control over finesse lures. Lastly, the 7’ model with medium-light power and fast action is a good middle-ground between length and sensitivity.
You can’t go wrong with St. Croix’s top-of-the-line fishing rods. The Avid series features SIIC carbon construction, a premium-grade cork handle, 3D guides, and a Fuji DPS reel seat. This high-end model has excellent sensitivity without sacrificing power and durability.
St. Croix also backs the quality of the Avid series with a 5-year warranty. There’s no need to worry about damaging your expensive equipment or receiving any unlikely factory defects.
2. Ugly Stik Elite Graphite - Most Reliable Budget Rod
4.7 Stars | 2588 Angler Reviews | $50 - $60
The Ugly Stik Elite Graphite Spinning Rod is a budget-friendly rod that’s gained tremendous popularity. This rod has an average of 4.7-stars from over 2,500 angler reviews and has developed a reputation for durability, strength, and reliability.
Ugly Stik makes exceptionally durable rods that can withstand almost anything. The handle is comfortable, and the blank is balanced reasonably well. The Elite series is ideal for perch fishing, as long as you aren’t looking for professional-level sensitivity.
The 7’ medium power fast action model is ideal for perch fishing. A fast-action design increases the sensitivity, while the medium power rating keeps the rod strong enough to fight big fish. This model has a 2-piece design, which makes transportation easier. Ugly Stik’s 2-piece models also have sturdy joints that don’t sacrifice much sensitivity.
This Elite Graphite series is better for perch fishing than the standard Elite model. Ugly Stik added graphite material to the blank, making it lighter and more sensitive than the previous generation.
Stainless steel guides and cork handles give the Ugly Stick Elite Graphite Rod improved casting distance and comfort. You won’t get fatigued even after long days on the water.
3. St. Croix Premier - Best Value Technical Rod
4.6 Stars | 581 Angler Reviews | $145 - $195
The St. Croix Premier Spinning Rod is another high-end perch fishing rod from St. Croix. This model is more affordable than the Avid series and has the same 5-year warranty. While the Premier isn’t nearly as lightweight and sensitive as the Avid series, this is expected for the price.
St. Croix’s Premier rod series features the same SIIC carbon construction, premium cork handle, Fuji DPS reel seat, and Kigan hook keeper as the Avid series. The handle has a similar design, and the color patterns are identical.
The Premier series will save you money if you want a satisfying high-end perch fishing rod but don’t need professional equipment. The best specification for perch fishing is the 6’6” medium-light power fast action model, as it offers the best balance between power and sensitivity.
Even if you target smaller perch, it’s essential to use a sturdy rod. A flimsy rod could snap if a giant smallie grabs your bait instead of a perch. St. Croix rods will eliminate this concern and let you fish lightweight, sensitive rods.
The two-piece models have well-designed joints that smoothly transition power through the rod. While Ugly Stik joins are good for the money, St. Croix's two-piece joins are superior.
4. Cadence Essence - Best Budget Perch Rod
4.4 Stars | 302 Angler Reviews | $49 - $59
The Cadence Essence Spinning Rod is another value perch fishing rod for anglers on a budget. This model has a surprisingly advanced carbon fiber blank that’s sensitive and strong for the price. Our favorite specification is the 6’6” medium power fast action design.
Cadence believes performance-oriented fishing equipment is generally overpriced and strives to offer quality gear that doesn’t break the bank. The Essence series is the best example of this, as the components and construction technology are usually only found on rods that cost twice the price.
Not many budget rods have an included warranty. Manufacturers often try to cut corners and know that their rods are bound to break. However, Cadence offers a one-year warranty for all of their products, which shows they have confidence in the build quality of their rods.
The Cadence Essence features stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts, an EVA split-grip handle, and a strong graphite reel seat. 24T carbon blank materials provide decent sensitivity and exceptional durability for the price.
You can’t go wrong with the Cadence Essence. If you’re looking for an affordable rod, we recommend you give this pole a try. It won’t disappoint.
5. Pflueger President XT Spinning - Best Perch Combo
4.5 Stars | 53 Angler Reviews | $148 - $200
The Pflueger President XT Spinning Combo is the best perch fishing rod and reel combo under $200. Pflueger fine-tuned the rod and reel to compliment each other and provide the best performance possible.
Both specifications of this series, 6’ light power and 6’6” medium power, are suitable for perch fishing. The 6’6” rod will have more versatility and the power to target other species such as bass. However, the 6’6” rod has the sensitivity for finesse fishing perch.
Bass Pro Shops also offers an exceptional President XT Reel and Bionic Blade Rod combo. This pairing has more versatility and strength. The size 20 reel and 7’ medium power rod specification is ideal.
Light power rods usually aren’t ideal for perch fishing. Accidently hooking into a 5lb bass with a typical light power rod is a recipe for disaster. However, the Pflueger President XT spinning rod has a reinforced blank that won’t break fighting a big bass. Just make sure to set your drag loose enough to avoid damage.
Perch fishing with a light power rod is exciting. Perch can put up a good fight, but a rod that’s too powerful can take the fun out of fighting the small fish. The Pflueger President XT combo is a blast to use and will become a favorite in your collection.
6. Dobyns Fury Series - Most Balanced Qualities
4.5 Stars | 248 Angler Reviews | $128 - $204
The Dobyns Fury Series Spinning Rod is an excellent value tournament-quality rod. Professional angler, Gary Dobyns, designed this series to allow novice anglers on a budget the ability to fish with performance-oriented equipment. Dobyns Fury Rods are sensitive, lightweight, and come in 17 technique-specific specifications.
Our favorite perch rod of this series is the 6’6” medium-light power model. This rod has a fast action and the absolute ideal specifications for targeting yellow perch.
Dobyns also has the best warranty in the fishing industry, offering a lifetime warranty against damage and manufacturer defects. The brand does a great job backing the build quality of their gear.
The Dobyns Fury rod was designed for lures used to target perch: shaky heads, tube baits, and dart heads. A modulus graphite blank, Kevlar wrapping, and Portugal cork grip make it comfortable and dynamic to use.
The handle's unique shape makes the rod enjoyable to use. This pole also has an outstanding balance which helps improve casting accuracy.
7. Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Combo - Best Perch Ice Rod
4.6 Stars | 1332 Angler Reviews
Perch are frequently targeted during the winter months by ice fishermen. If you want to start ice fishing for perch without breaking the bank, the Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Combo is the best value setup. This combo comes with a size 20 ice spinning reel, ported aluminum spool, and a genuine Ugly Stik blank.
This rod is just as durable as the traditional Ugly Stik fishing rods and has plenty of sensitivity. It’s also a bonus that it has a wicked-cool appearance with a sleek paint job.
The best rod specification for perch ice fishing is the 28” medium power combo. The entire combo weighs less than half a pound due to the ported spool and EVA handle material.
This rod has a sensitive tip that detects light bites but still has the power to fight 5lb largemouth bass. The rod has a strong lower backbone, and the reel has smooth cranking action. For the money, this is the best ice fishing rod for perch on the market.
Perch Rod Buyer’s Guide
You can catch perch on almost any fishing rod, but you’ll have the most success with a sensitive graphite spinning rod. Look for a model with a 2/16 to 5/16 lure rating and a 6lb to 10lb line rating. However, these specifications are not mandatory, and the best rod is one that you’ll enjoy using.
Sensitivity is a crucial component of any good perch fishing rod. Spinning rods are more sensitive than baitcasting rods and will help perfect your finesse presentation.
You'll have difficulty detecting bites if your rod is too stiff and lacks sensitivity. Stiff rods also make it harder to make small movements with finesse lures.
The ideal rod length for perch fishing is 6’ to 7’. However, some anglers prefer longer 7’6” rods because they allow for longer casts and faster water movement. A longer rod is useful if you frequently use swimming lures such as small jerkbaits and spinners. A shorter rod is helpful when finesse jigging.
Medium-light rods are best for perch fishing, but some medium-power rods will work. Some medium blanks are more sensitive than others, depending on the manufacturer and rod model. It’s also crucial that your rod has enough backbone to fight fish from a distance and apply strong hooksets.
When it comes to rod action, extra-fast is ideal because it has the most sensitivity. However, some brands make sensitive, fast-action rods that detect bites well.
A lightweight spinning reel is best for perch fishing. Look for 1000-3000 or 20-30 size reels that have a complimentary weight to your rod. If you don’t know how to gauge the weight of your setup, buying a pre-paired rod and reel combo can save you the hassle of mismatched gear.
Recommended Perch Reels
Okuma Ceymar C20 - Budget Reel
Pflueger President XT 20 - Mid-Range Reel
Shimano Stella FK - High-end Reel