Oregon Surf Perch Fishing Guide

If you’ve ever visited the Oregon coast, you’re aware of its beautiful coastlines along Newport and other Oregon coastal waters. What’s also impressive is what lies within the waves waiting to be caught.

Multiple species of surfperch reside along these vast stretches of coast that are prime targets for surf fishermen and women. These fish can reach around two pounds in weight and are unique in that they give birth to live young. The most popular species targeted is the redtail surfperch.

These fish generally hang out in schools within casting distance of the shore. As long as you present them a nice-looking bait or lure, you should be in business. Let’s dive into this Oregon Surf Perch Fishing Guide to help you catch more of these fun fish!

Equipment for Surfperch Fishing

Oregon Surf Perch Fishing Guide
Surf Fishing Whiskey Run Beach in Oregon Source: Michael Hogan

Surfperch Rod and Reel Options

When it comes to picking a starter outfit, you’ll likely want one that allows you to get a bit more distance in your cast. This is why something over 8.5 feet would be a good option. You’ll want something with some backbone to throw a two to six-ounce weight, the lighter being if you’re going to go for a light-line method instead of throwing deep bombs.

The spinning reel should be large enough to handle 200 to 300 yards of ten to the thirty-pound line. If you’re just getting into surf fishing, we recommend you stick with the monofilament line since it’s cheap and more comfortable to learn. Eventually, you can try braid or fluorocarbon and various leader styles when you’re more comfortable.

Tackle and Rigs

There are quite a few tackle and rigging options for you to choose from. If you’re just getting started, then we recommend keeping it simple. One popular rig is a Carolina Rig. 

Carolina Rig

The Carolina Rig has your main line that goes through a sliding sinker and a bead, that is then tied off to a swivel. From the other end of the swivel, you’d have your 12-18 inch leader to a hook that holds your bait.

For your knots, stick to one style, such as an Improved Clinch Knot or Palomar Knot. For your weight, you can use 1-2 oz and a hook that ranges from no. 2 to no. 6, depending on the size of your bait.

Another rig that a surf angler needs in their arsenal is the Fish Finder Rig, which we document in this guide.


If you have access to sand shrimp, sand crabs (sand fleas), clam necks, mussels, or artificial baits like Berkley Gulp! Then you’re in business! 

You can also try lures like the Lucky Craft Flash Minnow, which has been known to catch larger perch down in California.


If you’re one who gets cold and plans to get in the water to help hit deeper spots, then it’s recommended that you get chest waders. Make sure you understand how to get out of them if you get hit by a wave as some people have been hurt when water fills it up and keeps them submerged.

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When to Fish for Surfperch in Oregon

It’s best to target fish when there is water movement between low and high tides. Fishing at high tide, for example, doesn’t allow for food to move around for predators to feast, which would limit your bites.

Use a tide guide online to help you plan your best chance at catching these fish.

Insider Advice

It’s important to remember to always have your Oregon Angling License on you. At the same time, fishing, so you don’t get a citation. You can find the license requirements online.

The northwest coast is one of the most beautiful places worth spending time going after some of these fish on your next outing. Good luck and tight lines!

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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