Many ice anglers like targeting jumbo Perch through the ice. They are great sport, they can weigh almost 2 lb. and they are excellent eating.
John Walkington has been taking advantage of 6″ of safe ice and walking to his fishing grounds. Early ice is one of the best times to catch large perch in fairly shallow water often less then 15′ deep.
Perch are schooling. They can swim around in mixed sizes, but you can also find schools of similar age fish and in the case of jumbo, those fish could be 10-15″. It’s very common for a school of perch to be under your ice hole when they can be very difficult to catch, especially on live baitfish. That is most likely due to the perch having already fed right at daybreak.
Those perch can still be made to strike by jigging for them using small lures like the Jigging Rapala is sizes W2 & W3, the Blue Fox “Flash” spoon series, small soft-plastic grubs like 1″ twister-tails/tubes/minnows.
The best presentation to use for ice-Perch is to drop the jigging lure to the bottom and slowly shake and jig as you move it from the bottom to towards the surface. The bottom 5′ is the key “strike-zone”. Perch will usually strike as the lure is slowly trying to get away from them.