Pier Fishing in California

Resources :: California Fish

White Sturgeon

White Sturgeon

Species

Acipenser transmontanus; from the Latin words Acipenser (sturgeon), trans (across), and montes (mountains).

Alternate Names

Pacific sturgeon, Sacramento sturgeon, Oregon sturgeon and Columbia sturgeon.

Identification

Similar to green sturgeon but white sturgeon have 38-48 midlateral plates on their sides. There are four barbels that are closer to the tip of the snout than to the mouth. Their coloring is whitish.

Size

Recorded to nearly 20 feet in length and 1,800 pounds. Most caught from piers are under 100 pounds. This is the largest fresh water fish in North America.

Range

From Ensenada, northern Baja California, to Cook Inlet, Gulf of Alaska.

Habitat

Similar to green sturgeon. Anadromous; spend part of their life in fresh water and part in salt water. Most of the time they’re found in brackish waters of bays.

Piers

In California, common only to the San Francisco Bay area and to Humboldt Bay. Best Bets: Point Pinole Pier, Dowrelio’s Pier (Crockett), Point Benicia Pier, Martinez Pier, Antioch Marina Pier, McNear Beach Park Pier, Paradise Park Pier, and Elephant Rock Pier.

Bait and Tackle

Caught with heavy tackle, a sliding bait leader, and live bait such as ghost, mud, or grass shrimp. Herring eggs as well as cut herring is a good bait when the herring are spawning in nearby areas.

Food Value

Excellent, mild-flavored meat which contains no bones and cuts up nicely into steaks for broiling, baking or frying.

Comments

Many sturgeon are hooked off Bay Area piers but few large sturgeon are actually landed. An angler must have stout tackle, knowledge, a bit of luck, and the understanding of how to get the fish onto the pier, assuming it hasn’t stripped the reel of line or wrapped the line around a piling. However, large sturgeon are landed: George Gano landed a 194-pound, eight-foot-long sturgeon while fishing from the old Vallejo Public Pier.