Hyperprosopon Ellipticum



Inshore, Flats

1 - 1 pounds

6" - 11"

Silver Surfperch

Also Known As: Surfperch, Shiner, Silver Perch

Silver Surfperch (Hyperprosopon ellipticum) Fish Description

Also known as Surfperch, Shiner, Silver Perch or mojarra ovalada in Mexico, the Silver Surfperch is one of the tiniest and most common sand-dwelling members of the perch family. 

The Silver Surfperch lives up to its name in that it is totally shiny and silver. Its body is compressed and oval in shape. Its mouth is quite large, whereas its head is small. Its color is generally silvery while its back’s hue ranges from brownish to gray. On the sides, the Silver Surfperch has dusky vertical bars. Its anal fin has an orange spot while its tail is pink. This species is associated with the Walleye Surfperch; however, the Silver Surfperch has no black marks on its pelvic fins unlike its cousin.

The Silver Surfperch has 8 to 10 dorsal spines with 225 to 28 dorsal soft rays. It has 3 anal spines with 29 to 34 anal soft rays.  Its pectoral fins are devoid of color.


Diet and Size

The diet of Silver Surfperch includes algae, amphipods, crustaceans, and shrimps.

Silver Surfperch can grow up to 11 inches, but most of those which are caught measure only around 6 to 8 inches. They weigh only around one-tenths a pound. They can live up to 7 years.


Interesting Facts About the Silver Surfperch 

  • Young Silver Surfperch are born alive. They are already fully developed and can swim independently the moment they are born.
  • This species has a unique and romantic mating ritual. During mating season, the male Silver Surfperch approaches the female, then the two swim close for a few seconds, separate, then repeat the process.
  • One female Silver Surfperch can give birth to 3 to 16 juveniles during spring and summer.
  • The Greek word hyper means ‘above’, while prosopon means ‘from the upward direction of the face’. The Latin ellipticum means ‘elliptical’.


Fishing Techniques: How to Catch a Silver Surfperch

Recreational anglers love to catch Silver Surfperch. In fact, this species of fish is among the top ten caught by anglers in northern and central California. They are plenty and easy to catch especially from the shores, and piers.

Anglers can use light lines with small hooks and squid or shrimp as baits.

The Silver Surfperch, despite being one of the sandy shore anglers’ favorites, is seldom caught by boaters.

The Silver Surfperch and the Walleye Surfperch are similar even in the way they are captured, except that the former are more likely to be caught using a worm-baited hook. Secondly, the Silver Surfperch can be better caught when anglers fish off the bottom since these species are usually found in slightly deep to shallow waters.

The best part about the Silver Surfperch is that they can be fished all-year round, especially during early summer and spring.


Habitat and Distribution

Silver Surfperch like sandy and rocky surf zones. They frequent the waters in Baja California, British Columbia, and Vancouver Island. They are native to the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean.

Primarily, this species of fish can be found in central and northern California. This includes Trinidad Pier, Seacliff State Park Pier, Pacifica Pier, Pismo Beach Pier, Santa Cruz Wharf, San Francisco Municipal Pie, Fort Baker Pier, and others.