The logperch (Percina caprodes) is a somewhat common fish in parts of North America. As darters, these elongated little fish cruise along the bottom of waterways seeking out food. Along the way they are often gobbled up by bigger fish looking for a meal.
The logperch may not be a fish that most anglers pay attention to at all. But they play an important part in the ecosystem. Besides being a food fish for predators like bass, pike and yellow perch, they also play an important role in the reproduction of snuffbox mussels.
Logperch have long narrow bodies covered with a series of broken dark vertical stripes. Their pectoral fins can appear to stick out almost like arms that hold them up off the substrate. This is common of other darters as well.
If not the camoflauge pattern, the most defining feature of the logperch might be the pointed snout. Logperch can grow as large as 7 inches (18 cm) but they average closer to half that size. Most of the logperch we’ve encountered over the years were around four inches. Though we have seen them larger.
Range and habitat
The logperch has a large but scattered range across a wide swath of North America. The species can be found in rivers, streams and lakes with rocky bottoms across the Mississippi River drainage and beyond. At the most extreme ends of its range the logperch can be found in area as disparate as Texas and Quebec.
We have found logperch in several parts of the United States ranging from the east to the midwest and northern United States. We’ve either caught or observed this species in waters as distant as Pennsylvania’s North Fork Ten Mile Creek and the Waupaca River in Wisconsin.
While the logperch is not endangered in general the species has been limited or even eliminated in some waters. Contributing factors to the decrease of logperch in certain waters include usual culprits such as runoff, pesticides and dams that block or impede flow. The stocking of predacious fish can also impact logperch populations. Finally, the invasive round goby can also out-compete the logperch for food in their native range.
Fishing for logperch
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Logperch are small fish that spend most of their lives on the bottom of the water column. It would be pretty unlikely for an angler to accidentally hook one. But logperch can be caught on a line and hook with a little effort. They are an interesting fish to catch.
I caught this logperch in Wisconsin
Microfishing is the main and most effective method of fishing for logperch. Using a tiny fly or microfishing hook on a short length of line makes its quite simple to catch logperch. The main thing is simply to get the bait on the bottom and in front of the logperch, or at least in the rocky areas they tent to inhabit.
Logperch turn over rocks with their snout and seek out food on the bottom. They will eat any nypmhs or tiny worms they can catch. So small pieces of live bait like red worms are great for logperch fishing. But a tiny piece of a Gulp! Maggot or even microfishing bait can also work. The bulk of the logperch’s diet consists of chironomid worms, so a fly like a chironomid bomber tied on a small hook could also catch these fish.
Lures that look like logperch
Logperch are not always the most obvious fish in the water. They sport a natural camouflage pattern and stay hidden. But predators will certain eat logperch when they can find them. So carrying lures that mimic logperch can be a great idea in the areas they swim. Since logperch spend almost all their time at the bottom a lure that sinks or at least bounces off the bottom would be best.
The live perch Countdown Rapala looks a lot like a logperch
The Countdown Rapala in Live Perch color looks an awful lot like a logperch. In our view it would be tough to find a hard bait that better replicates the look and action of a a live logperch. The Livetarget Yellow Perch might come in a close second place.
Soft plastics like grubs, Senko worms and Swimming Jukes in colors like Magnum Flake could also replicate a logperch quite well. A proper jig head and a bit of rod action could make these lures dart along the bottom as logperch do and likely fool the fish that are out to eat them.
When it comes to fly fishing any heavy streamer with a greenish color could mimic a logperch pretty well. So a conehead olive slump buster or olive Clouser minnow would obviously be good choices. But anything from a weighted olive or olive grizzly woolly bugger could also work quite well.