Umpqua Surfperch Still Hot

The annual late spring run of redtailed surfperch, more commonlly called “pinkfins” is still going strong. The two most popular spots so far this season have been near Marker 12 about a mile and a half upriver from Winchester Bay and on the other side of the river opposite the entrance to Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin. Although the average size of the perch is about a pound, few of the two to three pound jumbos have yet been caught this season. Although many perch anglers believe the tide is of utmost importance, since the perch are almost constantly on the move, location is probably more important. The trick is to approach the perch without spooking them. Anglers willing to put some time in often get their limits by anchoring in the spot of their choice and waiting for the perch to find them. If the fishing pressure increases, the resulting boat traffic may force the perch’s most active bite into the very early morning hours, but right now they seem to bite all day long with periods of inactivity (most likely the result of the perch being elsewhere).

This is a unique and very popular fishery and it is pretty amazing that the perch seem to hold up as well as they do. For shorebound anglers, the male surfperch, which do not ascend the river, usually bite aggressively while the female perch are in the river – most likely because they do not want those male perch eating their newborns. The picture below is of Denny Sherwood of Rivers End Guide Service holding up a two pound pinkfin.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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