Dwarfperch from the Ferry Point Pier in Point Richmond

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.

Size: To 6 1/4-inches. Those caught from piers are normally 4-6 inches.

Dwarfperch from the Elephant Rock Pier

Range: Isla Cedros, central Baja California, to Bodega Bay.

Habitat: Rocky shallow-water areas, among seaweed, and beds of eelgrass and surfgrass. 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 fairly good striper bait.

Many thanks to Robert O’H for the help with the pictures.

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