San Francisco

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Top Fishing Charters in San Francisco

Fishing in San Francisco

Fishing in San Francisco is the ultimate way to experience this city and its natural splendor. Famous for its many piers, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz Island, the very identity of San Francisco lies in its surrounding waters. As the famous song goes, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” You may leave your heart behind, too, but at least San Francisco fishing charters will do all they can to make sure you come away with a great catch!

Known For

San Francisco Bay fishing is perfect for those who don’t just like to eat seafood, but to catch some of their own. As one of the largest estuaries on the West Coast, the bay is teeming with diverse species from Chinook (King) Salmon, Striped Bass, Halibut, and Lingcod to Sturgeon and more than 11 species of sharks. Many of these guys stick around all year, making it hard to pick a bad time for fishing in San Francisco! If you aren’t sure how or where to get started, let a local captain show you their favorite spots.

Of course, fishing San Francisco Bay is about more than just finding dinner. Leopard Shark fishing is a popular activity, since these cuddly kitties can be found everywhere in the bay. Fish in depths greater than 30 feet, and you’re likely to encounter many other Sharks while you’re at it. You don’t always have to go far from the shore for a great catch, though. Cast a line from one of San Francisco’s many piers for Flounder, a variety of Perch, Skates, Rays, Rockfish, and some smaller Sharks. Or try fly fishing for Surfperch along various stretches of beach!

Only a few miles away you will find freshwater fishing in rivers, creeks, reservoirs, and more than 40 different lakes. If you’re on the hunt for Largemouth Bass, you are sure to be pleased by a Clear Lake Bass fishing experience. Lake Chabot fishing will bring you Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, and landlocked Steelhead Trout. Meanwhile, San Pablo Reservoir fishing brings you to one of the finest fisheries in the East Bay, where you will also find Channel Catfish, Rainbow Trout, and more. The San Francisco Bay Delta hosts freshwater, saltwater, and brackish water habitats, making this a paradise for all kinds of fisherman.

Types of Fishing 

San Francisco deep sea fishing remains a classic choice among anglers looking for Salmon, Rockfish, Lingcod, Albacore Tuna, and more beyond the Golden Gate. You can also troll for many tasty treats, or try mooching for Salmon, Halibut, and Striped Bass—a slow, serene form of drift fishing that local fishermen find especially rewarding. For even more variety, try fly fishing San Francisco for Halibut and Striped Bass when the season is right. You can also target several types of Bass on fly in the Delta. Putah Creek fly fishing is an opportunity to catch wild Rainbow Trout, where you can also fish for multiple types of Bass.

Rules and Regulations

A California fishing license is required for people aged 16 years and older, available for purchase online. Fishing regulations apply to many types of fish in the area and are subject to change annually. Refer to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife before your trip if you have a specific species in mind. To make sure you're always fishing within the law, look for a reputable San Francisco fishing charter.

San Francisco Bay fishing is restricted to daylight hours for anglers fishing from a boat (from one hour before sunset to one hour after sunset). Lingcod and Rockfish may be caught year-round by shore-based anglers, but only from April to December by boat-based anglers. San Francisco Bay is known for exceptional Salmon fishing; ocean Salmon may be fished from April to October.

Anglers 16 and older also require a California fishing license for freshwater fishing. All anglers, regardless of age, must have a report card when taking Abalone or Steelhead in inland waters. 

San Francisco
Based on 15042 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

San Francisco Fishing Seasons

Even in the dead of winter, coveted catch are biting! Winter in San Francisco is mild, with temperatures still as high as 57°F. Fish the depths for Flounder and Halibut. 

Local temperatures could be anywhere between 40 and 60°F, pleasant weather for fishing Leopard Shark, Halibut, and Flounder. If luck is on your side, you may be able to catch Striped Bass, too.

The Striped Bass are starting to bite more! Continue fishing for Leopard Shark, Halibut, and Flounder. Temperatures on average are a balmy 60°F.

You know it's springtime when all the most desirable fish become available! Salmon season is still closed, but you can fish for Sturgeon, Striped Bass, Lingcod, Rockfish, and more!

Dinner table favorites are here to stay! Fish for Halibut, Salmon, Flounder, White Seabass, Striped Seabass, Rockfish, and Lingcod. Or catch some Sturgeon and Leopard Sharks for sport.

This time of year is the reason why San Francisco is known for “potluck fishing!” Catch White Seabass, Salmon, Striped Bass, Halibut, Rockfish, Lingcod, Sturgeon, and more. 

At the height of summer you can catch seafood favorites like Albacore Tuna, Halibut, Salmon, Striped Bass, Flounder, and White Seabass. Sturgeon, Rockfish, and Leopard Sharks are biting, too. 

More of that magic summertime fishing, when almost everything is biting! Catch Albacore Tuna, Striped Bass, White Seabass, Salmon, Flounder, Lingcod, Halibut, and more. Average temperatures stay below 70°F.

The summertime crew is still biting! Chinook Salmon,  Halibut, White Seabass, Rockfish, Lingcod, Striped Bass and more. The weather is divine and you'll see some of the biggest Lingcod and Salmon of the season.

This is your last chance for the year to catch everything that's biting in the bay! Fish for Halibut, Salmon, White Seabass, Rockfish, Lingcod, Striped Bass and Flounder. 

Salmon is closed for the season and the Striped Bass won't be biting as hard. But plenty of other fish are still around, including Halibut, Rockfish, and Lingcod. Set a few traps for Dungeness Crab on your way out.

Just because summer is over doesn't mean great fishing has to be! Flounder, Halibut, Rockfish, Lingcod, Sturgeon, and Leopard Shark are in season. Average winter temperatures typically don't fall below 46°F.

San Francisco Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About San Francisco

"Half day with Captain Ron and Hunter "

Donna L. fished with Nautilus Excursions on July 28, 2019

Being your ice chests for the fish fillets you'll take home.

"Full day trip "

Bryan C. fished with Nautilus Excursions on July 13, 2019

Listen to the captain and mate and you'll hav the trip of a lifetime

"Best Team-Building Event!"

Jennifer D. fished with Nautilus Excursions on July 11, 2019

Beautiful weather and great views. It is cold on the water, though, so dress warm, as in a warm layer, windbreaker, and hat. Wear rain boots, if you have them. Put sunscreen on your face. Bring any personal items in a waterproof bag. If you plan to take photos, put your camera or phone in a zip-lock bag or waterproof case, because your hands will be full of fish scales and fish guts. Bring extra bags to carry your fish off the boat. Stock your car with an ice chest, for the drive home. If the fishing trip is in the Bay only, and not out in the open ocean, then the waves aren't very bad, so you shouldn't get sea sick. Or if you do, you only need the "less drowsy" version of your motion sickness medication. Have fun!

"Half day bachelor trip with Brent and Greg."

Seaton N. fished with SF Boat Support on July 6, 2019

Be prepared with someone knowledge and just have fun.

What would you recommend to anglers fishing in San Francisco, California for the first time?

Top Fishing Techniques in San Francisco

  1. Deep Sea Fishing

Top Targeted Species in San Francisco

Bass (Striped)

Bass (Striped)









Shark (Leopard)

Shark (Leopard)

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Chinook)

Tuna (Albacore)

Tuna (Albacore)

Nearby Fishing Destinations