The avid sport of fishing has skyrocketed in the San Francisco Bay area. Here anglers of all skill levels can enjoy fishing charters, pier fishing, surf casting, and much more. You can catch a diverse range of game fish at prime locations, such as Fisherman’s Wharf, Candlestick Park, Marin Islands, Farallon Islands, and Berkeley Flats. Here you can expect to find a variety of species, including white sturgeon, striped bass, giant chinook salmon, halibut, lingcod, rockfish, and many other ocean-dwelling fish.
Lucky anglers might encounter the Chinook Salmon, the most prized fish on the bay, from May to November. The Chinooks have a famous spawning ground route (from Marin County, through the San Francisco Bay, to Carquinez Strait), called the Salmon Highway. This stretch of water rewards anglers with plentiful, large salmon – some up to 40 pounds.
Plenty of bottom-fishing is available, and for trophy size fish, head beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, into ocean waters. The Bay has an excellent stock of Striped Bass who bite all year, and since they like to feed close to the coast, you can fish them easily from the beaches. In the winter (December to March), white sturgeon fishing is a great opportunity to catch a big fish. They can be from five to twelve feet long – and if you get one on the line, be prepared for a fight! The Leopard Shark and several other shark species swim these waters. Dungeness Crab is a popular catch from November through July.
Everyone sixteen years and older must have a license when casting from boat or surf. These can be short term licenses, or lifetime licenses; a lifetime license will save you the hassle of renewing. Also note that to legally keep certain types of fish, California requires a post-catch report card which must be submitted online. These fish include Steelhead Trout, Sturgeon, Abalone, Spiny Lobster and certain types of Salmon.
The California Fishing Passport Program details good fishing spots in the Bay.
San Francisco Bay Fish:
San Francisco Bay boat ramps:
The following boat ramps provide access to San Francisco Bay.