Sport fishing in the sanctuary can be an exciting activity. Whether fishing on the bay or from shore, you may catch a variety of species including salmon, rockfish, lingcod, mackerel, surfperch, smelt, halibut, sandabs or squid. Catches vary from year to year depending upon variables such as ocean and weather conditions. Contact local sport fishing charter boat operators for the latest information. (See contact information below.)
Check fishing regulations and get a permit!
Many charter boat operators or tackle and boating stores can provide one-day or annual sport fishing licenses and fishing information. You can also order licenses online from the California Department of Fish and Game.
Sport Fishing with Charter Boat Operators
Boats depart daily, year-round for deep-sea fishing in the sanctuary. Depending on the current season, visitors can try their luck at salmon, albacore, giant squid, lingcod, halibut, rockfish and white seabass. Many charter boats offer fishing trips from the sanctuary's harbors. They rent gear and sell licenses too, making it easy to take a fishing trip. Check out fishing boat charter operators from these harbors:
Shore Fishing (sandy and rocky beaches, piers or wharves)
Many state parks and beaches in the sanctuary allow saltwater fishing. While surf fishing at a sandy beach you might reel in halibut, striped bass, surfperch and smelt. Rocky beaches are good places to try for rockfish and cabezon. Fishing from a pubic pier or public wharf is ideal, because you don't need a fishing license. Note that in Monterey fishing is allowed from the Breakwater (Coastguard Pier) and Wharf II (Commercial Wharf), but not on Fisherman's Wharf.
- Know the rules and get your permit before you fish.
- Learn how to the identify fish you catch.
- Check weather conditions before you go.
- Wear multiple layers of clothing, preferably waterproof.
- Rubber-soled shoes are best for slippery decks.
- Bring or wear hats, sunglasses and sunscreen and plenty of water and snacks.
- Don't get in harms way of aggressive wildlife, especially sea lions and seabirds like gulls and pelicans that may try to steal your bait or catch. Never feed wildlife on purpose.
- California Department of Fish and Game
- United States Coast Guard
- California Department of Boating and Waterways
- Monterey Harbor
- Moss Landing Harbor
- Santa Cruz Harbor
- Monterey Bay Salmon & Trout Project
- Carmel Steelhead Association
- Golden Gate Fishermen's Association
- Golden Gate Salmon Association
- California Fly Fishing Club Directory