Striped Bass

Striped Bass can be found along the Coast of California from San Francisco south to Monterey Bay during summer.

Striped bass under 18 inches long can be caught all year above San Francisco Bay in the Delta. It is not known whether they have a definite migratory pattern or just wander around in search of food. Many adult stripers after spawning in the spring in the San Joaquin Delta and upper Sacramento River, move downstream into the brackish water for the summer and fall. Many of these adult bass feed throughout these months in the bays, particularly San Francisco Bay. While other stripers head for the Pacific Ocean. The larger stripers move up and down the coast to forage on anchoives and other bait fish. Striped bass can be caught in the surf zone of the many beaches reaching from as far south as Monterey and as far north as Bodega Bay.

Stripers dwell in the surf off sandy beaches and can be fished from the surf with large flies.

During late fall and winter, some fish move back upstream into the fresh water of the Delta and lower Sacramento River. While this migration applies to most stripers, there are exceptions. For instance, some fish hold in the American and Feather Rivers during the summer and good fishing sometimes occurs in San Francisco Bay in the spring. Fly anglers can expect to catch stripers at unexpected times and places (especially within 30 yards of the beach).

Striped Bass are voracious feeders in the surf chasing bait fish, juvenile perch, and foraging on crab.

Striper fishing improves as the water warms up in March. During the spring, the bulk of the legal population is spread throughout the Delta and as far north as Colusa and Princeton on the Sacramento River. Good fishing can be expected throughout the spawning area at this time. Occasionally, some good catches of either early spawning, or late migrating, bass are made in the bays during the spring. By mid-June, most legal-sized bass have left fresh water and returned to the bays. During the summer and fall, striped bass fishing is at its peak in San Francisco Bay.

Stripers under 18 inches long or schoolies can be caught in the surf or in San Francisco Bay.

In good years, large numbers of adult stripers swim out of the Golden Gate into the Pacific Ocean. Spring and Summer surf fishing from the San Francisco area beaches, given the right conditions and location can occasionally be successful. Surf fishing the beaches can be spectacular when schools of anchovies draw hungry stripers within range of casting a flies or lures, but if the anchovies are not close to shore, fishing is generally at a standstill. Surf fishing in Monterey Bay can also be good at certain times of the year.