Winter is a wonderful time to be targeting rivers as they can produce some brilliant sport. Angler's Mail suggests you try these winter fishing tips for perch. They were put together by top specialist angler Pete Reading.

PERCH have made a massive return to all our waters in recent years, and although the real biggies seem to be coming from commercial stillwater fisheries as a rule, there are many rivers where big perch are making a comeback, and are not yet being targeted.

I am just getting into river perching, and there is a great deal of enjoymrient to be had seeking them out and finding new swims.

PERCH weir slack

PREFERRED HABITAT

They do favour slacks and backwaters, and love cover of all sorts, especially when there is vertical structure nearby. Weirpools will often have a deep slack area close to vertical pilings, for example.

PERCH big lobs

JUICY MOUTHFULS

A nice big lobworm, hooked through the middle and fished hard on the bottom, seems to be most productive, though I have had a few recently on a big peeled prawn, which chub also seem to be keen on!

Laying on with a static worm seems to be more effective than twitching a worm, or even trotting it at mid-depth, and it may be that perch seek a lot of their food by investigating nooks and crannies as they patrol along the bottom.

An extra half-worm, nicked onto the hook, will give a bigger bait with more wormy juices being released as a scent trail!

PERCH Chubbers and Loafers

FAVOURED FLOATS

I use a Chubber or Loafer float, and simply lay on with a bunch of AAA shot, nothing very sophisticated, and perch rarely are that fussy; they will suck in the worm and give bold and confident bites as a rule.

River perching to me entails a few short hours from afternoon to dusk in a likely-looking hole or two, with a large lobworm on a size 8, wide-gape hook, laid-on under a float.

Red maggots and bits of broken lobworm should be fed into the swim at regular intervals.

PERCH livebait

LIVELY ACTION

Perch will go after fry at dusk, and become more active fish hunters, and this is when a minnow or other small fish livebait would be more likely to be taken than a lob.

Looking for perch striking at such times is a good way to locate them. They are very localised, and can be hard to find on rivers that do not have high populations.

Lure fishing, especially dropshotting, is becoming very popular, and is undoubtedly very effective and enables a lot of water to be covered by the roving angler.