Pescadero is a popular day-trip destination for people in the Bay Area looking for a quick escape from the city. It is quite near to the Pacific Ocean and is an important agricultural area in the region, responsible for the many high-quality produce that San Mateo County is known for.
While it may fly under the radar, Pescadero is actually a coastal town shrouded in history. Established in the late 1850s, Pescadero blew up as a seaside resort town because of its productive trout fishing. However, even before the Western settlers came in, it was already a secret favorite spot among Ohlone Indians. In a span of a few years since its establishment, it became a popular destination for the people in San Francisco. This resulted in the town becoming one of San Mateo’s biggest cities.
A great fire in the 1920s destroyed downtown Pescadero, and it was never the same again. However, many of the original structures still stand around town. One such historic structure is the Pescadero Community Church, built in 1867 and the oldest Protestant church in the county. Another famous town landmark, the Duarte family tavern, is still very much a presence in town, though its only remaining original structure is the bar, which was saved from the same fire that destroyed the downtown.
Today, Pescadero is much more well-known for its rolling hills, amazing bike trails, picturesque land farms, quaint downtown, and pristine coastline. With a name that means “fishing place” in Spanish, it is an off-the-beaten fishing spot as well.
Fishing in Pescadero is strictly catch and release because the area’s many fishing spots are still in the process of revival. Fishing for endangered species such as Steelhead Trout and Coho Salmon are only open from December to March. From April to September, though, anglers can enjoy a great variety of fish species inshore and offshore. Chinook Salmon bite starting May, going offshore to inshore until their season closes officially around August. White Sturgeon and Surfperch bite at the beginning of spring, along with Striped bass, Pacific Halibut, and Lingcod which bite until September. Rockfish are available practically all year round both inshore and offshore.Pescadero Fishing
If you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy some calm fishing on the shore, nearshore, and offshore, you’ve come to the right place. Fishing in Pescadero may be strictly catch and release, but it is still a great place to cut your teeth in some fly fishing and troll fishing for chinook salmon.
Head over to the Pescadero State Beach and enjoy the serenity of its mile-long shoreline, expansive dunes, and rocky coves. It is a productive inshore and offshore fishing spot, where you can fish for surfperch and white sturgeon near shore in the spring, troll for chinook salmon from April to June, striped bass, pacific halibut, and lingcod from spring to early fall, and various rockfish practically all year round.
Across the highway from the Pescadero State Beach is the Pescadero Marsh Natural Reserve. Surrounding the confluence of both Butano and Pescadero Creeks, it is primarily more known as a wildlife preserve with many diverse habitats for a great number of species. In recent years, it has seen a revival after being on the verge of deterioration. Today it is an important spawning ground of steelhead trout and coho salmon. Both species are listed as endangered in this area, so check with authorities for fishing regulations regarding both catches. It features freshwater marsh, brackish water, and a tidal estuary, so you could get lucky, as long as you go there during the open fishing season from December to March.
Bean Hollow State Beach is a favorite among locals because of its rugged environment that looks particularly blooming in late spring and early summer. It is mostly known for its nature trails, shore strolling, and fishing, as its waters can be quite cold and the surf too heavy for swimming. Head over to the Bean Hollow Lake like many anglers and enjoy a round of fly fishing. For surf casting, fishing may be tricky because of the heavy surf in the area, so local anglers recommend fishing during the high tide period or at least one or two hours before and after a high tide. Patient surf casters can catch surfperch, rockfish, pacific mackerel from the shore or on the rock formations near the shore. Another local favorite here is “poke poling” which is only possible because of the area’s rocky coast. Poke poling is simply fishing the holes and cavities in the rocks and the sandy shore.
Fishing in Pescadero is strictly catch and release because the area’s many fishing spots are still in the process of revival. Fishing for endangered species such as Steelhead Trout and Coho Salmon are only open from December to March. From April to September, though, anglers can enjoy a great variety of fish species inshore and offshore. Chinook salmon bite starting May, going offshore to inshore until their season closes officially around August. White sturgeon and surfperch bite at the beginning of spring, along with striped bass, pacific halibut, and lingcod, which bite until September. Rockfish are available practically all year round, both inshore and offshore.
Whether you want to go fishing or simply catch the sunrise, a fishing charter is your best bet so you'll have the best trip.
Visit the Ano Nuevo State Park and ogle at the endangered elephant seals on its dunes. Or greet goats and llamas at the Harley Farms Goat Dairy, where you can also learn the art of cheese. The guided viewing of seals on Ano Nuevo is seasonal, but petting the goats at the Harley Farms is not. You may want to schedule your visit to Harley Farms during one of its monthly five-course sunset dinners.
The Arcangeli Grocery Company/Norm’s Market may look like a small-town grocery, but it sells one of the town’s most well-known products - the freshly baked artichoke garlic herb bread that is often sold out. However, people swear by it and say that you have not been to Pescadero if you haven’t had one of these loaves of bread.
Another institution you must pay respects to is Duarte’s Tavern. Its menu is quite expensive, though, so just enjoy its history and ambiance while nursing a drink at its bar, which incidentally is the only original part of the original tavern dating back to the mid-1800s.
What better way to experience the amazing Pescadero landscape than to ride through its trails? Join the annual Pescadero Coastal Classic Road Race, sponsored by the Alto Vejo Bicycle Racing Club in June, and ride through Pescadero’s rolling hills and countryside.