Surf perch fishing is popular in the state of Washington, with its access to the Pacific Ocean. These fish are small, plentiful and fairly easy to catch, which makes them a popular choice for less experienced anglers. You should know Washington's licensing regulations, the best types of bait and the best areas to catch surf perch.
Where to Find Surf Perch
You can fish for surf perch anywhere you can get access to the Pacific Ocean in Washington, but one of the best places is the Long Beach Peninsula, on the southern end of the state. Good locations in the Peninsula include Beard’s Hollow at Cape Disappointment Park. Long Beach Peninsula is home to a yearly Surf Perch Derby. If you travel up the coast, you’ll find several other good locations for surf perch, including Point Brown in Grays Harbor and the beaches at the Moclips area in the central part of the coast. One of the finest northernmost areas for surf perch is in Kalaloch, where you can fish from Kalaloch Lodge to Ruby Beach.
The standard bait for surf perch fishing is clam necks, and that’s why many of the most popular areas for surf perch are also areas in which people dig for clams. You can spend downtime digging for clams, and by extension, bait. You can also use sand shrimp for bait, which are also found on these beaches. Or use worms or squid as bait.
How to Catch Surf Perch
Look for a calm surf. The South Sound chapter of Puget Sound Anglers says that choppy waters prompt these fish to find their food farther from shore. This is why most surf perch fishermen wait for the tide to come in, because this is when the fish come in to feed. Next, you’ll need to cast as far as you can into troughs in the surf. This is where the surf perch food is. In terms of hooks, use a No. 4 to No. 1 or larger, or else the fish will steal the bait instead of getting hooked. Heavy steelhead rods are best to control your bait and catch in the surf.
The State of Washington requires anyone who fishes in the ocean to have a license. Yearly licenses are priced for residents, nonresidents, seniors, youths and the disabled. If you’re not planning on fishing a lot, the state also offers one- to five-day licenses that allow you to fish in fresh and salt water. Active duty military qualify for the same short-term licenses.
Rules and Regulations
Washington allows fishermen to catch surf perch year-round with no minimum size. The daily limit varies from 10 to 15 perch, depending on which designated marine area you are fishing in, so it is important to check the state’s saltwater regulations for your fishing area. You can only use hooks and lines to catch surf perch.