The Sacramento perch fishery is undeveloped, but those anglers who have done their homework to find these fish during late spring and early summer are often rewarded with lots of fish. Because these fish compete with the trout for available forage, the Tribal Council has recently approved dropping the bag limit.
Sacramento perch (Archoplites interruptus) are members of the sunfish family. They virtually disappeared from California's central valley rivers and delta, when their habitat was altered and non native sunfish were introduced. Sacramento perch were unable to compete with the black bass, bluegill and crappie, which raided the perch's nest. They were first introduced into Pyramid Lake in 1877. Sacramento perch, unlike the introduced sunfish, do not protect their nests and were steadily replaced in the ecosystem by the bass, crappie and bluegill.
To catch the perch now, you have to go to one of three places- Crowley Lake near Bishop, Pyramid Lake in Nevada or Lagoon Valley Lake between Fairfield and Vacaville. The largest recorded Sacramento Perch caught in Pyramid Lake weighed in at 4 lbs, 9 oz (1971), which is the current State record.
Feeding can take place at any time of the day, with dusk and dawn hours being peak feeding periods. Adult perch are mostly piscivorous (fish eaters). However they are opportunistic, feeding on prey like amphipods, beetles, caddisflies, dragonfly/ damselfly nymphs, or larger zooplankton (daphnia, etc). During the day, they tend to hang in and around submerged tufa rocks off shore, or near shore tufa rocks (or other structures). Tufa rocks are ideal places for perch to set up where they can ambush Tui chub minnows or other prey.
Shore/boat fishermen can do well using light fly fishing gear, or 6 to 7 ft spinning tackle with 4 pound test line or less. The best lures include plastic minnows, tube baits, spinners, small jigs, and small streamers. The perch can be selective, so try different colored lures (jigs) until the bite is on. Work lures in or around tufa rocks or off the bottom around submerged tufa rocks for best results.
Pyramid Lake Regulations: Season is open year round for Sacramento perch, from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. There are no set possession limits for these non-native fish, which can compete with smaller native Pyramid Lake fish for the same food sources. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks allowed when fishing in Pyramid Lake.