Fly Fishing for Surf Perch on the Oregon Coast

The open beach is always difficult terrain to fish. There is just so much area to cover and conditions generally do not favor the fly fishing enthusiast. With spring right around the corner and calmer weather (hopefully) on it’s way the surf should mellow and opportunities for surf perch will present themselves. Should you want to try your luck with these colorful critters use smaller crab patterns (Size 4-6), shooting heads (type 3-6), and I would recommend a rod size that you feel comfortable casting in the wind. 

Surf Perch

These are very cool fish and nothing beats a day at the beach!

Surf Perch

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18 Responses to Fly Fishing for Surf Perch on the Oregon Coast

  1. Ronnie says:

    Very cool – what depth are these usually around?

  2. Phillip Bennett says:

    do you use a catch bucket to throw your line in, I see hey do that on the east side a lot

  3. Rob R says:

    what a beautiful creature. i hear that surf perch fishing can be hazardous to cell phones??

  4. Chris says:

    I’ve been pretty interested in surf fishing. Never been and I don’t know anyone who has gone. Everything I’ve found has to do with bonefish and tarpon nothing regarding the Pacific Northwest in any capacity. Is there something you might recommend as a starting point? Books maybe?

  5. Steve says:

    Waldport, Oregon going South all along the sandy beach stretch clear to Yachats is simply fantastic for Surf Perch, Fish an incoming tide use ghost shrimp, clam or sand crabs, fresh caught.

    You’ll catch so many fish you’ll be “bored” in an hour, Wow!! Follow the seals, they follow the fish, and fish in 12 inches or less water, where the fish school to avoid the seals

  6. Chris says:

    Thanks a bunch Steve. I’ll see if I can’s make it over there here in the next few weeks.

  7. Larry says:

    Steve, that’s the best advice I’ve ever heard. We’ll camp at Tillicum, which is right there…

  8. Ed says:

    Does anyone know what tide would be best, high,low,etc?

  9. Chris Taylor says:

    I fly fish the surf down here in California (though, I’m anxious to fish the Brookings, Ore. area when I come up to visit my folks in Grants Pass).

    I fish a 6wt. with a 200gr. shooting head Scientific Anglers Streamer Express tying on a ox or 1x 7.5 leader and adding tippet of about 2-3″. If I use a dropper, I let it free slide against the knot, which puts the fly perpendicular to the fly line.

    The flies I use generally are tied in red or orange Trendsetter yarn, or with orange/yellow checkerboard chenille which are my primary go to flies.

    For those who have never fished the surf, you are certainly missing something…especially hooking a Shovelnose or big Corbina and being dragged down the beach, as your line peels off your reel !

  10. chris taylor says:

    somehow in my above comment, the tippet length shows inches…it should read as 2-3 ft. tippet… sorry for my typing error.

    In response to the inquiry from Ed… I tend to begin fishing at a maximum low to incoming tide. The sunlight seems to shut off the bite by mid morning (unless its cloudy, which lengthens the time of the bite), so arrive and be on the water at first light.
    Search out holes and edges of rip tides, as these will be points of concentration, and cover water.

  11. Natethegreat says:

    A good place to catch surfperch on fly is to go to a tidepool area at low tide that has lots of deep water pockets and kelp in the area. You put on a pink steelhead jig and fish those deep pockets and alot of times fish will rush out and hit it immeadiately. You will catch alot of small greenling but you will often find big hard fighting surfperch that are a challange to land on a 4-5 weight. My favorite place is the cape argo area, but make sure your good at rock climbing and wave dodging if go. Its far easier to do the same but with spinning gear and sandshrimp or clamnecks but it’s far more fun to do it on fly.

  12. chris taylor says:

    Well here is an update on my surf fishing from a previous commentary above…I now use a 11’6″ Elkhorn Switch Rod with a 350gr shooting head. I got rid of the SA Streamer Express due to excessive coil memory, and went to a Airflo Ridge running line bought from the Caddis Fly Shop. What a difference!
    Fishing the switch rod has seen less fatigue after a morning of casting. I highly recommend this for fly fishing the surf as opposed to a single handed rod. In fact, my group of surf fly fishers are all gravitating to the two handed switch rod.

    I still fish 2 flies which, I think, increase my catching odds. I use a 3x leader for the most part, and have landed corbina to 26″, perch, shovelnose sharks, leopard sharks and yellowfin croaker.

  13. Kevin says:

    Lots of great information. Coming to surf fish a bit between Bandon and GB…the tide pool flyfishing stuff was cool…I’ll be trying some of that..I’ll be staying at Nesika and I know there is a long sandy stretch sprinkled with rock formations…looking forward to an interesting vacation.

  14. Gary says:

    Not sure what type of fly to use. Has anyone jused a wooly bugger out there tied on a small streamer hook?

  15. Gundersen says:

    I use a Woolly Bugger styled fly for surf perch, using an orange/red/pink marabou tail and rootbeer crystal chenille underbody, palmered with any color hackle you’d like (I prefer tan or grizzly color). I like a ‘down’ eye styled long streamer hook from sizes 2-8 with a dumbbell or beadchain eyes to help the fly ride hook up. Some non stainless steel or coated hooks can rust pretty quickly so if you use freshwater hooks make sure to give them a rinse and a drying before storing them away. posted a pattern called a Krabby Patty that is a bugger styled surf perch fly that works well.

  16. Charlotte says:

    I am helping an elderly person clean out his storage unit, and glean money for his move to a assisted living home. He has a large amount of flies fly rods, spinning tackle and rods, casting rods and reels. Sage rods, split bamboo. I would like to know if there is a way to price these things? Could you pass some information on to me please? I have pictures that could be emailed to give you an idea of what he has.
    Thank you Charlotte

  17. bertrand gaujé says:


    I m in Vancouver Island, décide this winter, fishing and fly fishing for réd taill perche,
    Small search online, reading all articles talking about the red tail…
    The first one was with bait, douzaine off fish for my wife and I …
    i was surprised by the fish jaws, specially the small teeth : looking like a predatory mouth… Back home I off course select some flies in my bone fish, European sea bass , and costal cutthroat, box …
    Back to the beach with 3 rods : 8 ‘ spinning rig for bait, 7’ Trout spinning, and 9 ‘ flies rod !
    The first try was on fly gear, with an orange bone flie, first cast I lost a fish , catch fiew fish and nothing, I switch on trout gear with 7 grammes soft Shad, every cast a bit or a catch …
    The following sessions I try different flies, imitating small fish , in regular, ocean bait colors like, herring, anchovy’s, it’s works very well…

  18. roy says:

    i use to surf a lot and would were my wet suit and boots a lot ,it would keep me a float and warm . The ocean likes to send sneaker waves to get you. and inflatable life jacket save your life.

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