Pier Fishing in California

Resources :: California Fish

Rainbow Seaperch

Rainbow Seaperch


Hypsurus caryi; from the Greek word hyps (high), the Latin word urus (a kind of wild ox) and Greek word cary (a nut)– apparently in reference to the shape.

Alternate Names

Striped perch.


One of the most beautiful fish in California, rainbow seaperch have a typical perch-like shape, although they’re more elongated then striped seaperch and black seaperch. They have red and blue stripes on the sides with bright blue and red-orange pelvic fins.


To 12 inches; most caught off piers are 8-10 inches.


Rio Santo Tomas, Baja California to Cape Mendocino.


Shallow-water, rocky-shore areas.


Rainbow seaperch are common at only a few piers. Best bets: Gaviota Pier, Monterey Wharf #2, Seacliff Beach Pier, Santa Cruz Wharf, Fort Point Pier, San Francisco Municipal Pier, Elephant Rock Pier, Fort Baker Pier, and the Spud Point Marina Pier (Bodega Bay).

Bait and Tackle

These small perch are best taken with small size 6 or 8 hooks tied directly to your line, or by using a high/low leader. Best baits are fresh mussels, pile worms, bloodworms or small live rock crabs. Fish directly on the bottom.

Food Value

Fair, although they’re almost too pretty to keep.


These fish, along with striped seaperch and pileperch, often enter central and northern California streams and spawn in the tide-water areas; when they do, fish will be caught on nearly every cast. They put up a spirited fight, but for me, their beauty and small size warrants a return to the water.