Best Time For Deep Sea Fishing In San Francisco – Tips & Spots

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Find out the for deep sea fishing in San Francisco, explore popular fishing spots, and learn about the types of fish you can catch in the area.

Best Time for Deep Sea Fishing in San Francisco

Summer Months

When it comes to deep sea fishing in San Francisco, the summer months are often regarded as the prime time to embark on an exciting fishing adventure. The warm weather and calm seas make for perfect conditions to reel in some impressive catches. During the summer, you can expect to find an abundance of fish species in the waters off the coast of San Francisco, including salmon, halibut, and rockfish.

One of the key advantages of fishing in San Francisco during the summer months is the variety of fish that are in season. Whether you’re a seasoned angler looking to hook a trophy-sized salmon or a beginner hoping to reel in your first halibut, the summer offers something for everyone. Additionally, the longer days mean more time out on the water, giving you ample opportunity to hone your fishing skills and enjoy the stunning coastal scenery.

Fall Season

As summer transitions into fall, the fishing opportunities in San Francisco continue to thrive. The cooler temperatures bring about changes in fish behavior, making it an exciting time to test your angling skills. During the fall season, you can expect to encounter schools of migrating salmon making their way through the waters, providing ample opportunities for some thrilling catches.

The fall season also brings with it an added sense of tranquility on the water, as the summer crowds begin to dwindle. This means more space and fewer competing anglers, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the peacefulness of the ocean while focusing on landing that prized fish. Whether you prefer the challenge of reeling in a feisty rockfish or the satisfaction of catching a halibut, the fall season in San Francisco offers a diverse range of fishing experiences.

Winter Fishing

While the winter months in San Francisco may be associated with cooler temperatures and rainy weather, they also present unique opportunities for deep sea fishing enthusiasts. Despite the challenging conditions, winter fishing can be incredibly rewarding for those willing to brave the elements.

During the winter months, the waters off the coast of San Francisco are teeming with a different array of fish species, including lingcod and Dungeness crab. These cold-water species provide a different angling experience, requiring a different set of techniques and strategies to successfully land a catch. Winter fishing in San Francisco offers a sense of adventure and excitement, as you never know what you might reel in on any given day.

Popular Deep Sea Fishing Spots in San Francisco

Farallon Islands

The Farallon Islands, located just 27 miles off the coast of San Francisco, are renowned for their rich marine life and excellent deep sea fishing opportunities. These rocky islands are home to a variety of fish species, making them a prime destination for anglers looking for an exciting fishing experience. The waters around the Farallon Islands are teeming with salmon, halibut, rockfish, and more, providing ample opportunities for a successful fishing trip.

  • The Farallon Islands are a hotspot for salmon fishing, with the waters around the islands attracting large numbers of these prized fish during the summer and fall months.
  • Anglers can also target halibut around the Farallon Islands, with these flatfish often found in the deeper waters surrounding the rocky outcrops.
  • Rockfish are another popular catch around the Farallon Islands, with their vibrant colors and delicious taste making them a favorite among deep sea anglers.

Point Reyes

Point Reyes is another popular deep sea fishing spot in the San Francisco area, known for its picturesque coastal scenery and abundant marine life. Anglers flock to Point Reyes to target a variety of fish species, from salmon and halibut to rockfish and lingcod. The rocky coastline and underwater structures around Point Reyes provide ideal habitat for these fish, making it a productive fishing location throughout the year.

  • Salmon are a prized catch at Point Reyes, with the waters off the coast of the Point Reyes National Seashore attracting large numbers of these fish during their annual migration.
  • Halibut can also be found in the waters around Point Reyes, with these flatfish often lurking near the sandy bottoms in search of prey.
  • Rockfish and lingcod are common catches at Point Reyes, with their aggressive feeding habits and strong fighting abilities making them popular targets for anglers.

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is a well-known deep sea fishing destination located just south of San Francisco, offering anglers a chance to fish in the productive waters of the Pacific Ocean. The waters off Half Moon Bay are home to a diverse range of fish species, making it a versatile fishing spot for anglers of all skill levels. Whether you’re targeting salmon, halibut, rockfish, or other species, Half Moon Bay has something to offer for every angler.

  • Salmon fishing is excellent off the coast of Half Moon Bay, with the waters around the Pillar Point Harbor attracting large numbers of these fish during the summer and fall months.
  • Halibut are another popular catch at Half Moon Bay, with these flatfish often found in the sandy shallows near the coastline.
  • Rockfish are abundant in the waters off Half Moon Bay, with their colorful patterns and tasty flesh making them a favorite among anglers.

Types of Fish to Catch in San Francisco Waters


Salmon is a highly sought-after fish in San Francisco waters, known for its delicious taste and fighting spirit. These prized fish can be found in abundance during certain times of the year, making them a popular target for deep sea fishing enthusiasts. The summer months are particularly ideal for salmon fishing, as the fish are actively feeding and migrating along the coast.

  • Salmon can be caught using a variety of techniques, including trolling with lures or bait, drift fishing with live bait, or casting with artificial lures.
  • The best spots for salmon fishing in San Francisco include the waters around the Farallon Islands, where the fish are known to congregate in large numbers.
  • Anglers can expect to reel in Chinook (King) salmon, Coho (Silver) salmon, and Sockeye (Red) salmon, each with its own unique characteristics and challenges.


Halibut is another popular species to target when deep sea fishing in San Francisco. These flatfish are known for their large size and flaky white meat, making them a prized catch for anglers looking for a delicious meal. Halibut can be found in both shallow and deep waters, making them a versatile target for fishermen of all skill levels.

  • Halibut are typically caught using live bait such as squid or anchovies, as well as artificial lures that mimic their natural prey.
  • The best time to catch halibut in San Francisco is during the fall season, when the fish are actively feeding and preparing for the winter months.
  • Prime halibut include Point Reyes and Half Moon Bay, where the fish can be found near underwater structures and sandy bottoms.


Rockfish are a diverse group of fish found in abundance in the waters around San Francisco. These colorful fish inhabit rocky reefs and underwater structures, making them a challenging but rewarding target for anglers. Rockfish come in a variety of species, each with its own unique characteristics and behaviors.

  • Anglers can target rockfish using jigs, bait rigs, or bottom fishing techniques, depending on the depth and structure of the fishing area.
  • The winter months are prime time for rockfish fishing in San Francisco, as the fish are more active in cooler water temperatures.
  • Popular rockfish species include Vermilion rockfish, Copper rockfish, and Lingcod, each offering a different angling experience for fishermen.

By targeting a variety of fish species in San Francisco waters, anglers can enjoy a diverse and exciting deep sea fishing experience. Whether you’re after the thrill of reeling in a powerful salmon, the challenge of hooking a massive halibut, or the excitement of battling a feisty rockfish, the waters of San Francisco offer something for every angler. So grab your gear, hit the open seas, and get ready for an unforgettable fishing adventure in this vibrant coastal city.

Deep Sea Fishing Charters in San Francisco

Charter Options

When it comes to deep sea fishing charters in San Francisco, you have a variety of options to choose from. Whether you’re a seasoned angler looking for a full-day excursion or a beginner wanting to try out a half-day trip, there are charters available to suit your needs. Some charters even offer customizable packages, allowing you to tailor your fishing experience to your preferences.

Equipment Provided

One of the best things about booking a deep sea fishing charter in San Francisco is that the charter company will typically provide all the necessary equipment for your trip. This includes fishing rods, reels, bait, and tackle. Some charters may even provide additional amenities such as snacks, drinks, and even lunch. This means you can show up empty-handed and still have everything you need for a successful day out on the water.

Booking Information

Booking a deep sea fishing charter in San Francisco is a straightforward process. Most charter companies have websites where you can browse available dates, check pricing, and book your trip online. You can also call the charter company directly to speak with a representative who can help you with any questions you may have. It’s important to book your charter in advance, especially during peak fishing seasons, to ensure availability on your desired date.

Regulations and Licenses for Deep Sea Fishing in San Francisco

Fishing License Requirements

Before heading out for a deep sea fishing adventure in San Francisco, it is important to ensure that you have the necessary fishing license. In California, anyone over the age of 16 must have a valid fishing license to fish in both freshwater and saltwater. Licenses can be purchased online, at local tackle shops, or at select sporting goods stores. Make sure to have your license with you at all times while out on the water to avoid any fines or penalties.

Size and Bag Limits

To protect the marine ecosystem and ensure sustainable fishing practices, regulations are in place regarding the size and quantity of fish that can be caught. Different species of fish have specific size and bag limits that must be adhered to. For example, when fishing for salmon in San Francisco waters, there are restrictions on the size of the fish that can be kept and the number that can be harvested per day. It is important for anglers to familiarize themselves with these regulations to avoid any violations.

Fishing Season Restrictions

In addition to size and bag limits, there are also seasonal restrictions on certain fish species in San Francisco waters. These restrictions are put in place to protect fish populations during their spawning seasons and ensure sustainable fishing practices. For example, there may be closures or limitations on fishing for certain species during specific times of the year to allow for their populations to replenish. Anglers should be aware of these seasonal restrictions and plan their fishing trips accordingly to comply with regulations.

Overall, it is essential for deep sea anglers in San Francisco to be aware of and comply with the regulations and licensing requirements in place. By following these guidelines, anglers can help preserve the marine environment and ensure that fishing opportunities remain available for future generations.

  • Remember to always check the most up-to-date regulations and licensing requirements before heading out on a fishing trip.
  • Respect the size and bag limits to help maintain healthy fish populations.
  • Be mindful of seasonal restrictions to protect fish during critical times in their life cycles.

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