Daly City, CA Fishing: Where Anglers Should Stop and Stay a While

Daly City, CA Fishing: Where Anglers Should Stop and Stay a While
Published: Sunday, March 21st, 2021
Updated on: Thursday, June 3rd, 2021

First inhabited by Ohlone Indians as early as 2700 BCE, Daly City used to be a simple farming community called Vista Grande. Now, this bustling city has the biggest population in San Mateo County, California. 

This city attributes its name to John D. Daly, a dairyman who migrated to Daly in the 1850s. This man is known for assisting refugees when a major earthquake struck the city in 1906. He also distributed his vast farmlands, giving the locals more opportunities to till their own soil.

Daly City offers many exotic activities that have always attracted thousands of tourists every year. It hosts several concerts and has rodeos, circuses, and other similar activities. It is also famous for San Bruno Mountain State Park, a hub for those seeking recreation.

Daly City is bordered by the San Francisco Bay and is only two miles away from Lake Merced, making this residential community a great spot for anglers who love fishing in California.

Daly City Fishing

Daly City is part of the San Francisco Bay area and shares half of its border with San Francisco’s southern boundary. San Francisco Bay, or simply “the Bay”, is a shallow estuary in the US that drains water from almost half of California. It is also surrounded by the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers that flow into Suisun Bay and eventually the Carquinez Strait, then Napa River. The system connects to the Pacific Ocean through the Golden Gate Strait. This entire group of interconnected bays makes up the highly-renowned San Francisco Bay.

Due to its exceptional water system that is home to an abundant population of diverse fish species, San Francisco Bay was designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 2012.

Apart from the Bay, Daly City is also known for Lake Merced, a freshwater lake in the southwest corner of San Francisco. This body of water is known for recreational fishing due to its rich and healthy ecosystem that fish species love.

Apart from these two major waters, Daly City is also known for several fishing hotspots. If you love bass, then the Sacramento River is perfect for you. The impoundments and lakes throughout the state are also filled with bass. If your game is trout fishing, you can explore the Trinity River. 

Mussel Rock Beach Park is known for its seafood and magnificent sunset view. Next, Pacifica Pier is the major place for catching crabs which is almost a common part of the locals’ diet. Mori Point offers not only some fishing but also a hiking experience. West Coast Nautical is visited by tourists for offering private tours that include fishing along the way. Lastly, Brisbane Marina is a captivating 300-foot public fishing pier where various fish species can be caught from the shoreline. These and more only serve to show how vast the menu Daly City is offering for all anglers out there.

Daly City boasts of many fish species of considerable sizes; in fact, it has set some world records, including a bass weighing 18 pounds, 11 ounces caught off San Pablo Reservoir in 2011 by Victor Barfield. 

The best species to catch from Daly are striped bass, white sturgeon, chinook salmon, California halibut, and redtail surfperch.

Striped bass are rather finicky predators who are picky about bait to bite. Still, this freshwater fish is popular among anglers because they are powerful swimmers that are still fairly easy to catch. Striped bass is not only an excellent table fare, but also an impressive game fish; most striped bass caught weigh up to forty pounds.

Unlike striped bass, white sturgeon are not as picky when it comes to bait. This species is widely distributed in different bodies of water including streams, estuaries, and rivers. This anadromous freshwater fish lives up to a century and can weigh up to 1,100 pounds, making it an exceptional game fish.

Chinook salmon is a large, anadromous fish usually found in freshwater estuaries. This fish is popular among commercial anglers not only for being fun to catch but also for its first-rate meat. Interestingly, this is also the biggest species of Pacific salmon that can weigh up to 30 pounds.

California halibut are remarkable for changing its color based on its environment. This atypical flatfish is not particularly as popular as the other fish species in this list since it is not a fierce fighter. However, it is noted for the fun methods of catching it, including gigging and drift fishing. 

Redtail surfperch are commonly caught by fly fishing. Usually found in rows of breakers, deep holes, and areas with a high tendency for soil erosions, this game fish is famous among anglers. As a bonus, the meat of this fish is also delicious as the meat of its distant relatives Sea Bass, Rockfish, and Snapper. 


Top 10 Fish Species in Daly City

The top 10 fish species you can catch in Daly City, California are brown rockfish, chinook salmon, jacksmelt, California halibut, white croaker, white sturgeon, redtail surfperch, striped bass, sharks, and dogfish


Daly City, CA Fishing: Where Anglers Should Stop and Stay a While Fish species
California Flounder

Habitat: Inshore, Nearshore

Weight: 6 - 30 Pounds

Length: 54" - 60"

Chinook Salmon

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, River, Lake

Weight: 10 - 50 Pounds

Length: 30" - 59"

Picked Dogfish

Habitat: Inshore, Offshore

Weight: 0 - 16 Pounds

Length: 30" - 37"

White Croaker

Habitat: Nearshore, Offshore, Bays

Weight: 0 - 1 Pounds

Length: 8" - 16"

Striped Bass

Habitat: River, Lake, Onshore, Near shore

Weight: 10 - 81 Pounds

Length: 20" - 55"

White Sturgeon 

Habitat: Onshore

Weight: 1 - 1100 Pounds

Length: 1" - 148"

Brown Rockfish

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Shallows

Weight: 1 - 2 Pounds

Length: 12" - 22"

Redtail Surfperch 

Habitat: Inshore

Weight: 1 - 4 Pounds

Length: 12" - 16"

Daly City Seasonal Fishing

Striped bass - though this fish can pretty much be caught any time of the year, its peak month in California is June. It is abundant from summer through fall at San Francisco Bay. To capture this species, you may cast your lines out early or late in the day from piers, bulkheads, and bridges to capture this species. You may also wade in the surf. The best bait to use are eels, mackerel, herring, menhaden, bloodworms, and anchovies.

White sturgeon - this migratory game fish can best be caught off streams, rivers, and estuaries from May to June. You can use bait like salmon, smelt, and herring to capture this fish. Artificial lures are equally effective when catching large white sturgeon.

Chinook salmon - spring-run chinook or king salmon are best captured off the Sacramento River from late March until September. It is important to note that they inhabit cooler water habitats in summer until they spawn from mid-August to early October.

California halibut - June is the prime month for California Halibut fishing in Daly City; generally, this species are available all year round along bays and estuaries. Beware when handling this demersal fish because their teeth are very sharp.

Redtail surfperch - these game fish thrive best in June to July. They are commonly caught on an incoming tide about two hours before a high tide since they come together within 30 feet from the shoreline looking for food at this time.


Daly City: A Place for All Kinds of Adventure


1.Fishing Charters

Whether you're an angler with high goals or just wanting to create memories with your family and friends, Daly has fishing charters that offer a variety of boats and experiences to make your trip worthwhile. 


2. The Daly Splash: Kayaking, Canoeing, and Paddle Boarding 

With its friendly waters that can accommodate people of all ages, Daly City is known for several water sports. Golden Gate Park and Mission Angel Island State Park are two of the best go-to places for these activities in San Francisco.


3. Thrill Along the Trail: Hiking

Daly City is famous for its hiking trails that offer some adrenaline-inducing climbing experience coupled with some sightseeing. The go-to place for this is the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area.


4. Your Next Target: Archery

If one of your hobbies is shooting arrows, then Daly City will accommodate you and your interests very well. It is known for many places offering some archery opportunities both for experts and beginners. On top of this list is Pacific Archery in Junipero Serra Blvd.


5. Buckle Up for Motorsports

Got an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) that had been sitting in your garage for too long? Well, buckle up and bring your vehicle to Daly City, where it caters to motorsports enthusiasts like you. 


Top Beaches in Daly City


1.Rockaway Beach 

It is famous for surfing. Most people, however, prefer to sit on the rocks and watch the azure waves as they drift back and forth before their eyes. This rather small beach offers an intimate atmosphere, especially for families or couples who just want to watch a splendid sunset together.


2. Sharp Park Beach 

A must-visit if you want to see some dolphins, seals, whales, and sea birds. Apart from this, people also love this place for its unarguably euphoric million-dollar panorama view.


3. Thornton State Beach 

A unique experience awaits you in its cliffs. It is famous among hikers who love the thrill of exploring trails. The view from above overlooking the beach is breathtaking. 

Fishing Techniques
Drift Fishing
Flounder Gigging
Fly Fishing