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Sausalito, CA: The Bottom Fisher's Paradise

Sausalito, CA: The Bottom Fisher's Paradise
Published: Wednesday, February 17th, 2021
Updated on: Friday, April 9th, 2021

Sausalito is a city in California with a population of 7,139 residents, according to the 2019 census. This city is located north of the Golden Gate Bridge, receiving a constant flow of tourists either by auto or by bike.

Sausalito CA Yacht

This city used to be the site of a settlement called Liwanelowa where Indian natives lived. More than 150 years later, nothing was left of the colony since the natives were slowly until completely displaced.

In the 1960s, the city was home to musicians, especially to the Bohemian community. Their peaceful community was suddenly disrupted by the waterfront residents' war against the wealthy developers trying to displace them. This was called the 'Houseboat Wars' of 1970. Up to this day, there are three houseboat communities on the coast of Sausalito. It is open for walking tours, mostly tourists who like a little side trip aside from fishing.

True to its past as a coast rich in fish, Sausalito is one of California's top fishing destinations. Anglers like to bottom fishing on rocky shores and near the piers. The place offers public piers for fishing without a fishing license for Native Americans and free fishing days to weekend hobbyists.

Sausalito Fishing

Sausalito is surrounded by great fishing locations along its waterfront. 

You can opt for freshwater or saltwater fishing. The nearby Sacramento River is rich in bass, while the Trinity River is abundant with trout. There are lakes and impoundments in the area. For saltwater fishing, Sausalito's coastal region is facing the San Francisco and San Diego Bays and is filled with gamefish. You can choose to fish near the houseboat community, near the rocks, by the piers, and even from the famous Sausalito Yacht Club.

One of the most popular activities in Sausalito is pier fishing. Fort Baker is the most popular spot since it is one of the most scenic views. From there, you can have a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, and just the entire cityscape as your background. You can also go to Moore Road Pier and Torpedo Wharf. Public piers are open not only for fishing but also crabbing. The pier area is the best place to catch jacksmelt, perch, and other smaller fish.

Marinas, harbors, and beaches surround Sausalito. These spots are great for surf fishing. You can just sit by the beach and cast your line and find yourself catching fish like Surfperch, Striped Bass, Leopard Shark, and California Halibut.

But one of the best ways to enjoy fishing in Sausalito City is through fishing charters. Many fishing boats are willing to take you to the best hotspots for fishing. Guides can lead you to the best place to catch Chinook Salmon, Albacore Tuna, White Sturgeon, and Striped Bass.

The city's coast is very much accessible to the Bay Area, where many fish are often found. The Chinook Salmon, for one, is one of the most popular catches in the area. Usually found in the Bay Area, they are abundant from May to November. These salmons take a famous route called the "Salmon Highway." They enter the California Delta from Marin County all the way to the San Francisco Bay and even up to the Carquinez Strait. Anglers love to go for the Chinook Salmon. Their size alone is already making it a prized catch. Plus, they are very aggressive, giving anglers a good fight all the time. It's a bonus that this one's a great table fish.

Another must-catch in Sausalito is the Albacore Tuna. They start appearing around July and stick around until October, though relatively fewer during this month. Nearby fishing charters would usually schedule ten hours or more for deep water fishing in the Bay Area. These tunas may not be as huge as other fish, but their speed and strength will make a day out in the water worthwhile.

White Sturgeons are abundant and widespread in North California. Its size and power make it a great trophy fish, especially for recreational anglers. They are often swimming around the Bay Area, especially during the winter months. They can weigh up to hundreds of pounds and can be as big as 12 feet long. Catching an average-sized White Sturgeon is already a good catch since even the smaller ones give out a magnificent fight.

Lastly, don't leave Sausalito without catching a Striped Bass. This fish is a staple in the Bay Area, especially during late summer until fall. They are still around the Bay Area until winter but are slower compared to fall. Striped Bass can be found in the Delta during spring and summer as it is their spawning season. The great thing about catching Striped Bass is they come in different sizes. Thus, anyone can enjoy a good catch. Even kids can reel in smaller Striped Bass. 

Before heading to Sausalito for a fishing trip, make sure you check the weather, water temperature, and wind during your visit. Temperatures rise around April to June and September to October, while water temperatures rise to start June to November. Precipitation is high during the cold months of November until March, while the wind tends to be stronger through spring until summer.

Make sure to check local fishing regulations before you head out. Most of the time, you are required to secure a license to go fishing, whether from the pier, beach, or boat. Licenses are required from anglers aging 16 years old and above. 


Top 10 Fish Species in Sausalito

The top 10 fish species abundant in Sausalito's waters are king salmon, halibut, striped bass, white sturgeon, sharks, flounder, rockfish, lingcod, surfperch, and albacore tuna.


Sausalito Seasonal Fishing

Fishing in Sausalito is year-round. There's always fish to catch no matter which season you choose to visit.

Spring in Sausalito is great for bottom fishing. Anglers visit the city to catch Striped Bass, especially during March. But the more exciting part is battling with sharks during this time when you chance upon them. April and May bring out more fish like rockfish, lingcod, Chinook Salmon, and King Salmon. Bass, halibut, and sharks are still abundant during these months. 

Fishing gets exciting, especially during the first month of summer, because you'll spot a lot of halibut, rockfish, and lingcod. But what anglers look forward to is catching some Albacore Tuna in offshore waters since they give you quite a rush because of their speed and intense fights.

Autumn might bring unpredictable weather to Sausalito, but its water is still abundant with tuna and chinook. You can still enjoy bottom fishing for rockfish, lingcod, Chinook Salmon, and halibut.

Some might steer away from the waters during winter, but never in Sausalito. Winter fishing is popular in the city. As long as you schedule your fishing trip when the weather is good enough for bottom fishing, you'll still find that halibut, rockfish, flounder, and lingcod are abundant during this season. Flounder is a hit, and white sturgeon are very much active during the cold season.

Sausalito, CA: The Bottom Fisher's Paradise Fish species
Atlantic Salmon 
Atlantic Salmon  fish

Habitat: Onshore, Lake, River

Weight: 8 - 12 Pounds

Length: 24" - 32"

White Sturgeon 
White Sturgeon  fish

Habitat: Onshore

Weight: 1 - 1100 Pounds

Length: 1" - 148"

Southern Flounder
Southern Flounder fish

Habitat: Onshore, Inshore, Channels, Rivers

Weight: 1 - 4 Pounds

Length: 12" - 33"

Atlantic Halibut
Atlantic Halibut fish

Habitat: Nearshore, Offshore, Continental Shelf

Weight: 30 - 150 Pounds

Length: 52" - 185"

Lingcod  fish

Habitat: Onshore

Weight: 25 - 85 Pounds

Length: 20" - 60"

Calico Surfperch
Calico Surfperch fish

Habitat: nearshore

Weight: 1 - 2 Pounds

Length: 9" - 11"

Striped Bass
Striped Bass fish

Habitat: River, Lake, Onshore, Near shore

Weight: 10 - 81 Pounds

Length: 20" - 55"

Albacore Tuna
Albacore Tuna fish

Habitat: Offshore

Weight: 20 - 45 Pounds

Length: 18" - 25"

Things to do in Sausalito

If you're looking to visit Sausalito, the city has a lot to offer in terms of fun and excitement. Of course, fishing is on top of the list, but there are more activities that you can enjoy doing.

1. Sausalito, California Fishing Charters

A city with rich fishing waters always has fishing charters to offer. Rent a boat for half a day or the entire day and enjoy fishing in San Francisco and San Diego Bay Area. Charters can guide you throughout, especially on which fish is abundant in the area.

2. Dining

The rich marine life around Sausalito makes it a great dining place. Restaurants in the area have menus filled with the day's fresh catch. If you want to enjoy fish without catching them, this city can offer great fish dishes. 

3. Bay Area Recreation

You can take the kids to Bay Area Discovery Museum or ride a bike to North Bay Area for a good look at the Golden Gate Bridge. The area has recreation and wellness spots to wind down and relax for the day.

4. View and Scenery

Sausalito is close to picturesque views of the entire Bay Area. Take a short drive to The Marin Headlands, where you can enjoy the view and scenery of Muir Woods and Mount Tamalpais.

5. Shopping

Enjoy shopping for clothes and housewares in the area. There are multiple specialty shops that have something to offer for everyone.


Top Beaches in Sausalito

1. Rodeo Beach

Rodeo Beach is the best spot for birdwatching. It is sandy with a darker color and colorful pebbles. You can find beautiful rock formations. A beach is a good place for a nice and quiet picnic.

2. South Rodeo Beach

As the name suggests, this beach is located south of Rodeo Beach, but it only 'appears' during the low tide. You can walk the entire Rodeo Beach to get here or follow a trail near the parking lot entrance. It 'disappears' during the high tide, though, so better plan your visit before coming here.

3. Schoonmaker Beach

Schoonmaker Beach is not just for beach lovers but for sports lovers, too. There are playing courts or areas where you can play tennis, beach volleyball, and bocce ball. It's one of the hotspots for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

4. Point Bonita Lighthouse

In Point Bonita Lighthouse, there is no entrance to the beach. But you'll have access to the lighthouse and the bridge that leads to it where you can enjoy some sightseeing of coves, rock formations, and beaches surrounding it. Getting there would require a hike along paths and tunnels, which adds up to the fun.

Fishing Techniques
Heavy Tackle Fishing
Heavy Tackle Fishing
Surf Casting
Surf Casting
Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing
Drift Fishing
Drift Fishing
Light Tackle
Light Tackle