Last modified: February 18, 2021

Fish Perch


Surfperches: Family Embiotocidae

Species: Micrometrus minimus (Gibbons, 1854); from the Greek words mikros (small) and metr (having a womb), and the Latin word minim (smallest). Family Embiotocidae, subfamily Embiotocinae.

Alternate Names: None that I have heard, although I have seen them mistakenly called shinerperch. In Mexico called mojarra enana or perca.

Identification: Typical perch shape. Dwarf perch have a compressed body; their longest dorsal fin spines are slightly longer than or same length as soft rays. They have a black triangle (crescent-shaped) at the base of the pectoral fin. Their coloring is silver with greenish blue reflections, and yellow on sides with dark stripes. The dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins usually have a black blotch.

SizeTo 6.3 inches. Those caught from piers are normally 4-6 inches.

RangePunta Baja (mainland) and Isla Cedros, central Baja California, to Salt Point, Sonoma County, northern California. Common from Bahia Playa Maria, central Baja California, to Sonoma County, northern California.

HabitatRocky shallow-water areas, among seaweed, and beds of eelgrass and surfgrass. Recorded to a depth of only 30 feet. Primarily feed on small crustaceans.

Piers: Although dwarf perch can be caught at most southern and central California piers, they are most common at piers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Best bets: Fort Point Pier, Fort Mason Piers, San Francisco Municipal Pier, Berkeley Pier, Port View Park Pier, Paradise Beach Pier and Fort Baker Pier.

Shoreline: Occasionally taken by shore anglers in central California.

Boats: A small, inshore species rarely taken from boats.

Bait and Tackle: These fish are sometimes taken on light tackle by anglers fishing for larger perch. Hook size number 8 and a small piece of bait, especially pile worm.

Food Value: Too small so throw ‘em back.

Comments: They are good striper bait.

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