Best Pier Fishing in San Francisco

Pacifica pier jetting into the Pacific ocean.
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San Francisco, with its picturesque coastline and bustling cityscape, hosts a variety of pier fishing opportunities that draw anglers from across the region. The iconic piers of the city are not only tourist attractions but also provide some of the best urban fishing spots in California. When you cast your line off the piers in San Francisco, you engage in a pastime that’s both accessible and rewarding, with no need for a boat or hefty equipment. You can expect to grapple with species such as striped bass, halibut, and even the occasional shark, all against a backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.



Pier 7

When you’re seeking an urban fishing experience in San Francisco, Pier 7 is your go-to destination. Known for its striking views of the skyline and accessibility, it’s a favorite spot for local anglers. You’ll find this lengthy pier situated near the Ferry Building, extending into water approximately 35 feet deep.

Fishing at Pier 7 allows you to target a diverse range of species. Here’s what you might expect:

  • Salmon: A prized catch for any angler, present during migration seasons.
  • Striped Bass: Known to put up a fight, striped bass can make for an exciting catch.
  • Halibut: Flatfish commonly found in the bay, especially during the summer months.

What to Know Before You Go:

  • Licenses: One of the perks of this location is the exemption from requiring a fishing license.
  • Facilities: The pier is equipped with lights and railings, and is well-maintained, making it a safe fishing spot.
  • Accessibility: Reachable by a short walk down the Embarcadero from Broadway, it’s easily accessible.

Tips for a Successful Outing:

  • Try different baits to see what the fish are biting on a given day.
  • Mornings and evenings can be particularly fruitful times for catches.
  • Remember to bring adequate gear for city fishing, including lines strong enough for potentially larger fish.

Your experience at Pier 7, with both fishing and the atmosphere, promises to be memorable. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice, this pier offers a blend of urban convenience with the serenity of fishing.

Pier 39

When you visit Pier 39, you’ll experience more than the charm of a bustling waterfront area; you’re at one of the prime fishing spots in San Francisco. As a hub of activity with spectacular views, Pier 39 provides excellent pier fishing opportunities.

  • Location Perks: Adjacent to Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • Target Fish Species: Often, Stripers and Halibut.
  • Nearby Attractions: Right by Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze and numerous eateries.

With your rod in hand, cast out into the teeming waters where Stripers and Halibut frequent. You have the chance to enjoy fishing while immersed in the vibrant atmosphere that defines this iconic pier. Remember, no fishing license is required for saltwater pier fishing in California, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Accessible Fishing Platforms: Pier 39 provides several fishing platforms, making it easy for you to find a suitable spot even amidst the area’s popularity. If you’re hoping for a more diverse fishing experience, remain alert to the tides for optimal catch rates.

Gear Tip: Use appropriate gear for the powerful tides and potentially large fish. Reliable tackle shops in the area can outfit you with everything you need.

In summary, your fishing venture at Pier 39 is complemented by the scenic views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, serving as a perfect backdrop for your angling adventure.

Aquatic Park Pier

When you’re looking to combine history with your fishing hobby, the Aquatic Park Pier in San Francisco is an iconic spot. Officially known as the Municipal Pier, this location offers you access to a variety of fish species, right in the heart of the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park.

The pier has a distinctive horseshoe shape that helps form the protected Aquatic Park Cove. This feature makes it not only picturesque but also a calm spot for fishing away from the stronger currents of the bay.

Constructed in 1933, Aquatic Park Pier is now a piece of history. Although it has faced challenges with age and the natural forces of tides and earthquakes, the pier remains a popular destination for anglers.

Here’s what you need to know for a fishing trip to Aquatic Park Pier:

  • Target Species: The pier gives you the opportunity to catch a variety of fish, so you might reel in salmon, striped bass, or halibut.

  • Accessibility: You can access the pier all year round, and its location makes it convenient for local and visiting anglers.

  • Facilities: As part of the Maritime Park, you’re close to historical ships and exhibits, creating a unique fishing environment.

Fort Point Pier

By the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point Pier, also known as Torpedo Wharf, offers an accessible and scenic fishing experience. You’re in for an engaging activity, infused with historical relevance, where no fishing license is required, making it an ideal spot for both local anglots and visiting fishers.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Location: Situated at the Presidio, just east of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Access: Easily reachable via Battery “E” Road following signs from near the bridge toll plaza.
  • Historic Significance: Previously, the pier was a loading site for naval mines in the 1890s, known at the time as “torpedoes.”

Fishing Details:

  • Open Hours: Available for fishing round the clock.
  • Species: Common catches include perch, crab, and other bay fish.

When preparing for your trip, make sure to bring appropriate gear for the bay’s conditions and the species you hope to catch. The pier’s location at the mouth of the San Francisco Bay offers unique opportunities to view marine life alongside your fishing endeavors. Remember, while fishing, you are a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which calls for respecting the park’s regulations and conserving its natural beauty for all visitors.

At Fort Point Pier, the combination of rich history, spectacular views, and accessible fishing opportunities create a rewarding experience for everyone.

Municipal Pier

Your exploration of San Francisco’s pier fishing begins at the Municipal Pier, an acclaimed spot for anglers of all levels. The pier, measuring 1,850 feet, offers a stable platform built over a variety of substrates including clay, sand, and mud. The accumulation of materials beneath the pier provides an ideal habitat for a diverse range of fish species.

Species to Catch:

  • A Department of Fish and Game study has recorded over 45 species in a single year, ensuring a rewarding fishing experience.

Location Highlights:

  • Accessibility: Easily accessible and offers a scenic fishing experience along with views of the city.
  • No Fishing License Required: Like other public piers in California, you do not need a fishing license to fish here.

Fishing at the Municipal Pier is not just about the catch, but also about enjoying the serene environment and the iconic San Francisco skyline.

Crissy Field Pier

Located along the picturesque shores of San Francisco, Crissy Field Pier, formerly part of Torpedo Wharf, offers you a unique fishing experience. This spot provides serene views of the Golden Gate Bridge and allows you to indulge in your love for fishing in a historical setting.

Key Attributes:

  • Location: Adjacent to the Golden Gate Promenade/Bay Trail SF
  • Targeted Species: Halibut, jacksmelt, and, on occasion, crab
  • Best Time for Fishing: During the top of the tide

Your Experience:

  • Views: Enjoy panoramic vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Fishing Setup: You’ll find many anglers with rod holder clamps along the walkway, casting into the shallows.

Accessibility:

  • Parking: Available in nearby lots
  • Family-Friendly: Yes, the area is conducive to family outings.

What to Bring:

  • Basic Gear: Rod, reel, bait, and tackle
  • Comfort Items: Dress in layers, as the San Francisco bay can be cool and windy.

With its blend of history, beauty, and angling potential, this pier is a must-visit for any fishing enthusiast in San Francisco.

Pier 26

When exploring the best pier fishing spots in San Francisco, Pier 26 stands out as a notable point of curiosity, although it doesn’t often feature in the standard lists of active fishing piers. Historically, piers such as Pier 7, Fort Point, and Oyster Point attract anglers due to their established reputations. These spots offer a variety of species to catch, convenient access, and beautiful vistas of the surrounding bay area.

With regards to Pier 26, it’s important to note that your fishing experience here may differ from other piers. San Francisco has a rich waterfront with many public access points, but not all piers are designated or equipped for fishing due to various reasons, including safety concerns, structural integrity, or intended use.

If you’re set on fishing near Pier 26, ensure to check the most recent information regarding access and regulations. San Francisco is known for being responsive to maintaining sustainable urban environments, which can sometimes lead to changes in fishing accessibility in different locales.

To have the best experience, always:

  • Verify the current status and regulations of Pier 26 for the public.
  • Consider safety first—heed any posted signs or warnings.
  • Explore nearby alternatives for a secure and fruitful fishing outing.

It is advisable to consult local fishing reports or San Francisco’s Parks and Recreation updates before you pack your tackle box. The dynamic nature of coastal infrastructure means that your go-to spot from prior visits may not always be the consistent option year after year.

Marina Green Pier

The Marina Green Pier is a notable spot for local anglers in San Francisco. When you visit, you’ll find yourself in the vicinity of the Marina Green, which is directly north of the East Harbor, accessed by Marina Boulevard.

Location & Access:

  • Take Marina Boulevard till you reach Gashouse Cove.
  • The jetty extends from the end of East Harbor.

Fishing Experience:

  • Targeted Species: Expect a mix of fish, including the likes of striped bass and halibut.
  • Accessibility: Easily reachable with ample space for casting.

Amenities:

  • The area is equipped with basic facilities for angler convenience.
  • Alongside fishing, enjoy the surrounding scenic parkland.

Make sure you are up to date with any ongoing improvement projects that might affect access or fishing activities at the pier.

Pacifica Pier

With its convenient location and stunning views, Pacifica Pier beckons both locals and tourists alike to try their luck at reeling in a catch. From striped bass to halibut, from surfperch to salmon, the variety of fish species that inhabit these waters ensures there’s always something biting.

What You Can Catch:

  • Salmon: A favored catch for many anglers, especially during seasonal runs.
  • Striped Bass: Striped Bass are prevalent and provide an exciting challenge.
  • Halibut: Known for their delicious taste, halibut can often be found here.
  • Crab: Pacifica Pier offers crabbers the opportunity to haul in Dungeness and rock crabs aplenty.

Fishing Tips:

  • Check the local fishing reports: Stay updated on what’s biting and the recommended bait.
  • Morning and evening hours: These are often the best times to fish due to active feeding.

Remember to bring your fishing gear, as the pier provides the perfect platform for both novice and experienced anglers. Enjoy your peaceful surroundings and the rhythmic sound of the waves as you wait for your next bite.

Point Pinole Pier

When you venture out to Point Pinole Pier, you’re seeking relaxation mixed with the anticipation of a catch. Nestled within the Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park, this pier extends 1,250 feet into the inviting waters of San Pablo Bay.

Fishing Expectations:

  • Common catches: Expect to reel in species such as striped bass, sturgeon, and sometimes even sharks.
  • Consistency: While not known for prolific fishing, you’re likely to catch a few fish with patience and the right techniques.

Features:

  • Accessibility: The pier is part of a 2,147-acre park with a variety of outdoor activities.
  • Design: It boasts a thoughtful design, ensuring ease of access for fishing enthusiasts of all levels.

Fishing Tips:

  1. Check local resources for fishing reports before your trip.
  2. Consult weather conditions for the day to maximize your chances.

While Point Pinole Pier may not always deliver big fishing stories, the stunning views and serene environment provide a splendid backdrop for your fishing adventure. Before heading out, it’s wise to gather information on local regulations to ensure a responsible and enjoyable experience.

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