Bass Fishing Bay Area: Everything You Need to Know

Bay areas are extremely popular among people for fishing. And the bass is a staple for most fishermen. Therefore fishing for bass in bay areas is a very common occurrence. Bass is usually tasty to eat and abundant in the wild which makes them a great choice for fishermen looking for an easy and fulfilling catch.

If you are thinking about going fishing in a bay area, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. This article contains everything you need to know to fish for bass in popular bay areas. 

The bay area is a region in Northern California that consists of the city of San Francisco and other surrounding countries. The bay area consists of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma, and 101 municipalities. 

Is Fishing Allowed In The Bay Area?

Is Fishing Allowed In The Bay Area

Fishing is permitted in most places in the San Francisco bay area. It is after all one of the main revenue sources for this region. However, fishing is not free in most of them. Especially the artificial reservoirs and the privately-owned lakes will usually charge you a small amount of fee before allowing you inside.

Most public spaces will be free, however. But you may not be permitted to fish in all of them. So make sure to check thoroughly before going angling! Some parts may be preserved and fishing there could be harmful to the local ecosystem.

You however will be needing a license if you wish to fish in most areas of the bay area. You usually need a fishing license, a proper and secure boat, and the right fishing gear to fish in these places.

Some places will allow you to buy a license on spot! However, others require special permissions and pass to fish there. So make sure to check in with the authorities before going fishing!

The bay area is wide but not all places are suitable for fishing. Here are a few popular spots to fish for bass in the bay area:

Bodega Bay

This is the best and the most beautiful spot in the bay area. It is a perfect place to sit and relax and enjoy a pure angling experience. The clear waters and the beautiful view are bound to melt your heart! This spot is full of white seabass. The striped bass or stripers for short are one of the main attractions here.

Watch out for sharks though! The waters of Bodega Bay are known to be inhabited by various breeds of sharks. But even though shark incidents are few and far in between, one can never be too careful while dealing with dangerous wild animals.

Make sure to follow all the rules and regulations about fishing there and take enough precautions to protect yourself and others from potentially dangerous situations. You do need a fishing license to fish here so make sure to get yourself a valid one before going fishing here.

You also have the option to fish on the shores or borrow a boat to chart into its beautiful blue waters. Rockfish, perch, mackerel, and white seabass are the common inhabitants of this bay area. But this spot is also famous for its opportunities to go crabbing! 

This place has several hotels and restaurants for those seeking a more relaxed environment. However, if you want more of an outdoor experience, you can also set up camps and tents outside and cook yourself whatever you manage to catch that day. 

Since this is one of the more popular fishing areas, do expect a lot of people to be there around you. However, there is enough catch to go around for everyone! But if you want some privacy, it could be a difficult job to locate a spot that is both good for fishing and for enjoying some private time. 

California Delta

Also known as Sacramento- San Joaquin river delta, this is one of the more popular freshwater fishing areas of the San Francisco bay area. This spot is teeming with aquatic life! It is a great attraction for adventurous tourists looking to catch some freshwater fish.

Tourists often come to this location for the sheer variety of fish it has to offer. From the common bass and salmon to the very rare sturgeon, all are available here! You can also find common catches such as catfish and shad among other fishes here. If you love fishing you will undoubtedly have a fantastic time.

This place is not just for fishing however, its location is also arguably the best for hunting as well! Thus if you wish to dabble in hunting land animals alongside fishing, We would highly recommend you visit the California Delta! You are sure to have a great time both on land and in the waters.

If fishing feels too exhausting for you, or if your kids decide to tag along, you may consider other more active options such as boating and skiing on water.

There is something for everyone! Not only that, if you visit around fall, you would get to see upwards of 200 migratory birds here! So be sure not to leave your camera and binoculars at home!

This place offers a few piers and even a myriad of parks with access to water for you to fish on. But not just that, you can bring your boat or even rent one from the locals to go into deeper waters if you feel like that will give you an advantage in hunting more fish. 

And lastly, California Delta is also home to several fishing contests that are held year-round.  You may choose to participate in one of these competitions and test your fishing skills against other people. 

Overall, the California Delta has a lot to offer for those who seek out adventure. This place is highly recommended!

Lake Chabot

Lake Chabot is an artificial lake and one of the largest freshwater bodies in all of San Francisco Bay. This lake was closed off to the public until the 1960s but thankfully is open now for public use.

But of course, there is a small price to be paid if you wish to visit here. This lake is a hidden gem as it is not as well known as the other fishing spots in this article. However, you will not be disappointed by its beauty and abundant marine life.

Unlike other fishing spots, you can fish here all year round! However, we would still discourage you to go fishing during the winter as it is generally a lot harder to fish during that time of the year.

Lake Chabot is home to a myriad of species such as crappie, bluegill, sunfish, trout, and channel catfish! The largemouth bass is also available in this particular area.

On this lake, you have the option to fish offshore and go into deeper waters using your boat. You may also rent a kayak in this place. A lot of people take both their boat and a kayak while visiting this place. However, you must wear proper gear or a wet suit if you choose to enter the waters in this region.

One other thing to keep in mind is that you need a valid fishing license to fish in this lake. Not only that, but you also need an East Bay Regional District Fishing daily permit if you wish to go angling in these waters. This is a must to fish at Lake Chabot and not having either of these would be illegal.

Another rule to keep in mind is that swimming is completely prohibited in these waters. You can however engage yourself in other available activities if you do not feel like fishing

. Hiking and biking are good options. Not only would you get to enjoy the beautiful nature but you will also get good exercise out of it. Kayaking is also a great option here. You can rent boats for this activity. T

here are facilities for golfing and even a fitness zone in this area so you will never run out of things to do!

Overall this site is excellent for those who wish to engage in some physical activities besides fishing with their friends and family.

Pacifica Municipal Pier

This is not the most appealing place to look at. In fact, when it was originally built in the year 1973, it used to be a part of the sewer system of Pacifica City. However, following the construction of a water treatment plant nearby, the newly available freshwater became a major attraction for fishing for people all across the country.

The Pacifica Municipal is located near Pacifica City. Unlike the other places in this article, this place was not meant to be a tourist spot. This place consists of a concrete dock positioned near Sharp Park Beach. It is a very common fishing spot and is very popular among local fishermen.

This is one of the very few places within the bay area where you could fish without a fishing license! Not only that but since this is considered a public place, there is no fee to fish on this pier.

This place also offers free parking which is also a pretty significant advantage. There are other amenities like benches and public washrooms. You should have no problem staying here as all the necessary facilities are provided. 

Salmon, kingfish, California corbina, and jacksmelt are some of the fishes that inhabit the waters of the municipal pier. You can also find the highly popular striped bass in this location.

Not only that, but this spot is also popular for crabbing! The warm environment of this location is a perfect habitat for crabs. Dungeness crab is a popular delicacy among the people of this area. If you are into crabs, make sure to give them a try!

Overall, this pier is a one-day fishing spot. This is not a place where you could camp and spend a night. So make sure you prepare yourself to go there, fish, and return on the same day.

Although fishing is possible throughout the year, it is best to fish here during the summer as the fishes are usually a lot more active during that season.

This is not a place where you can bring your family and enjoy a picnic at. Everyone around you will be fishing and it will be courteous for you to not bother them. But if you do decide to bring your family, make sure to keep the children at bay so they do not bother the other fishers nearby.

San Pablo Reservoir

This is one of the largest bodies of water on the east side of the bay area. But this however is an artificial lake. And as with all artificial lakes, this one too requires an entry fee.

You can however feel free to enjoy yourself once you have entered. This place is very well maintained and has beautiful scenery to compliment the beautiful lake you will be fishing at.

However, this is also another one of those areas where you require a license to go fishing. But unlike other places on this list, you can actually buy everything you need to go fishing right from here!

This also includes the fishing license, fishing rods, and even life jackets. Therefore this place is very friendly towards tourists on the go who travel with very little preparation.

This place offers you the opportunity to use a boat while fishing. However, the authorities are very strict about the fitness of your boat. They will perform an inspection on the boat before letting it into their water.

This is done to preserve the safety of the natural environment of the lake. Keep in mind that you must have a direct fuel injection system and at least a 2-star rating or it will be disqualified.

White sturgeon, smallmouth bass, and bluegill are the most popular species in this lake. However, other rarer breeds reside in this lake.

There is also an opportunity to participate in the fishing debris that occurs once every month in this place. To participate, you must buy a month-long fishing pass and then submit the largest catch you have had for that month.

This reservoir is a bit more restricted compared to the other ones on the list. You will not be able to access some specific areas of the reservoir unless you are an employee who works there. Not only that, but you are also not allowed to swim in this reservoir. All these restrictions are in place to keep the reservoir clean.

There is an option to hike in this area. You may choose to go hiking if you do not feel like boating or fishing. There is also the opportunity to go kayaking in this reservoir. And you may also enjoy a beautiful sunset in the spaces reserved for picnics and small gatherings. 

This place is perfect for having quality family time. However, if you are looking for a more raw experience, this is not the place for you.

Now, among basses, one of the most popular breeds is the striped bass. However, you can’t find them everywhere. 

Where Can You Find Striped Bass In The Bay Area?

Striped basses are common, popular, and yet unavailable in every region of the bay area. Here are some of the places you may encounter this breed:


These travel from fresh water and back. They usually prefer shallow waters but can be found up to a recorded depth of 180 meters.


During colder months they can be found in the waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. During the time of spring and summer, you may catch them on both the west and east sides of San Pablo Bay. During summer they are seen on San Francisco Bay as well as areas out to Pacifica Pier.


In terms of shores, it can be found at the shores of the San Francisco Bay Delta. This is the premium choice for anglers of the West. Boating also provides the best results in this area. This is why you will often see anglers on the shore and on boats seeking to hunt striped basses near the San Francisco Bay-Delta.

Fishing Licenses For Bay Area

All of these attractive spots might make you curious about how to obtain a fishing license so that you too can fish in the bay area. It’s easy really. All you have to do is go to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website and apply for a license. Pay a small fee and the license is yours! 

Anyone above the age of 16 will require a license to fish in the bay area. Fishing at piers will not require a license most of the time but you should still be careful and make sure to communicate with the authorities beforehand!

We hope this article answers any queries that you might have in regards to fishing for basses in the bay area.

The San Francisco Bay offers a wonderful opportunity to experience the outdoors and indulge oneself in hours of fishing and other outdoor activities. But make sure to take precautions and communicate with the authorities before letting yourself loose in the bay’s natural beauty.