Recently I visited Bodega Bay and was struck by the number of fishing boats in the Marina.  It got me thinking about what types of fish the boats go out for and what opportunities there are to charter a boat.  A little research taught me that the boats go out for a wide variety of fish (and Dungeness Crabs!) and that the area in and around the Bay offers year-round fishing.  Bodega Bay and the surrounding waters offer some of the best fishing in Northern California.  And, yes, charters are readily available.

Depending on the time of year, boats go out for salmon, rockfish, ling cod, sharks, albacore tuna, Humboldt squid, halibut, crab and trout.  For example, this June, boats are limiting out on salmon with one captain reporting  “There is literally a school or area of fish stretching from Point Reyes north to at least the Russian River in 200 to 400 plus feet of water”.   If you love to fish as I do, that kind of statement makes your mouth water!  And the word is that July is the height of Salmon fishing!

A quick internet search (“Bodega Bay Fishing”) will point you to a wealth of information.  Many of the Captains maintain their own websites, which often include current fishing reports, weather reports, and lots of other information.  For example, take a look at “North Bay Charters” or go to

You can also check rates and availability in this manner.  The consensus from the posted comments is that the captains are friendly, knowledgeable and, most importantly, know how to put you onto fish!
Let's Go Fishing

If you don’t like to be out on the water or don’t have the time to take a charter, you can also catch a wide variety of species fishing from the Bay’s jetties, rocks, piers, and the shore. Common baits include sand fleas, blood worms, cut bait, and live bait. If you’re one for artificial lures, try using feather jigs and plastic grubs to catch Surf Perch and Rockfish. Many locals use Gulp! sandworms on double droppers to catch Barred Surfperch.  Take a look at  for lots of information about fishing from shore.

If you plan on fishing from a public pier, you do not need to buy a license. Many species are open to harvest year-round for shore anglers.

Bodega Bay fishing charters do not include fishing licenses. Anyone in your group age 16 and older must buy a CA state fishing license ahead of time. A single day license costs about $15 (price subject to change).

Bottom line, if you like (or love) to fish don’t miss out on the opportunity to fish the waters of Bodega Bay!

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Guest Post from Robert Acosta-Lewis