Best Time of Year to Go Striped Bass Fishing in California
When planning to go fishing in California, it’s important to know the optimal time to plan your trip. A key fact to consider increasing your catch rate of striped bass is their migration pattern. This species will lay their eggs in freshwater streams and rivers before migrating to the ocean, which makes places like the San Pablo and San Francisco Bays great spots because the San Joaquin River flows in, bringing down striped bass after they’ve spawned. Striped bass fishing is at its peak in San Francisco Bay in the summer and fall.
Popular Coastal Spots
The coastline is the most popular place to fish for striped bass, because they are indigenous to and most abundant in saltwater. When you’re looking to go striped bass fishing in California, you can find the species in many accessible spots along the shore line jetties, wharfs and piers. For instance, a couple of favorite locations are Berkeley Fishing Pier and Pacifica Pier.
Anglers can also enjoy shore fishing from sandy beaches, where surf casting can be a very successful method. If you decide to try this approach, it’s best to head deep enough to get to drop offs or sand bars.
While they are mainly coastal and never found more than a short ways offshore unless migrating, you can get out further on the water with a charter. You’ll have your pick of charter boat operators, especially in the Delta and upper Sacramento River, the state’s longest river. These guides will help you fish successfully for striped bass since they know where and when to fish. Plus, they usually supply all the bait and tackle as well.
Freshwater Striped Bass Fishing Places
If you want to head inland instead, California has some ideal freshwater lakes and rivers to target for striped bass. Lake Havasu, is a large reservoir known for bass fishing and is home to regular tournaments.
Southern California’s Pyramid Lake is another great destination for large and small mouth stripers. Silverwood Lake is known for producing some large striped bass plus has the backdrop of the San Bernardino Mountains, making it yet another of the best place to fish for striped bass in California.
When lake fishing, be sure to head to the deeper waters. It can be helpful to use a fish finder. You should also check California fishing reports for the most updated striper information to help you maximize your catch.
Regulations to Know Before you Go
In California, the Department of Fish and Wildlife publishes recreational fishing regulations that you’ll want to review before you head out on the water. Depending on where you go, there are different striper fishing regulations in California that govern saltwater and freshwater areas so it’s important to pay close attention to the rules for your destination.
For example, if you’re fishing in the ocean in San Francisco Bay, the recreational fishery is open year-round with a daily bag and possession limit of two fish and a minimum size of 18 inches. In Lake Havasu, the daily bag limit is six with a 13-inch minimum.