Pier Fishing in California

Resources :: California Fishing Piers

Port View Park Pier

Called the Seventh Street Pier by most locals, this pier offers a pleasant park setting and some of the best fishing in this area of the bay. It is one of the best piers to fish at night, and during the summer and fall it will almost guarantee sharks for those so interested.


The pier was built in the 1970s and is located on a man-made peninsula which juts out into San Francisco Bay; to the left is the northern end of the Inner Harbor-Oakland Estuary, to the right of the peninsula is the Outer Harbor. The tip of the peninsula is shared by Port View Park and the Seventh Street Public Container Terminal. The park itself has undergone considerable reconstruction and renovation since the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. The park used to sit primarily out toward the end of the peninsula and included an observation tower which was a great spot to watch the bay and the terminal itself. After the earthquake, the park was redesigned and now occupies a narrow strip of land adjacent to the water. In some ways it is better, in some ways it is worse. There is a new parking lot and adjacent to it is a fishing area together with an attractive playground for the kids. However, the walk out to the old pier is now approximately one quarter mile (I lost count while trying to count my steps) which means it will probably be a prohibitive distance for some anglers. The walk is paved and landscaped but simply too far to go for some people. It also means that the pier is rarely as crowded as was formerly the case. Bottom here is mud and sand and the shoreline is lined with rocks. The water depth is shallow around the pier itself but good deep-water channels seem to exist within casting distance. This pier is noted for sharks and stripers but a plethora of different species can be caught.

Fishing Tips

The pier is only 136 feet long but is octagonal-shaped with the inner part open for fishing; this presents especially good opportunities for children fishing the pier. For most of the year children can catch small shinerperch, dwarfperch, brown rockfish, jacksmelt and topsmelt by dropping a line directly down next to the inner pilings; use small pieces of pile worm on size 8 hooks. The fish may be biting anywhere from the top to the bottom but once the children locate the bite there should be no problem catching fish. This same area, using the same bait and techniques, can produce large pileperch, rubberlip seaperch, blackperch and striped seaperch during the winter and spring months.

Casting away from the pier produces starry flounder and sanddabs during the winter and early spring; use a flounder rigging or a high/low leader baited with pile worms or ghost shrimp. During the summer a similar rigging may get you a sand sole while a sliding sinker rigging with live bait may attract a halibut. In the summer and fall, best fishing is for kingfish (white croaker), sharks and stripers. Fish the bottom using pile worms or cut anchovy for white croaker; fish middepth using strips of anchovy for walleye surfperch; fish near the top using pile worms for jacksmelt. For some good sized brown smoothhounds and bat rays use ghost shrimp, squid, anchovies or sardines; fish on the bottom using a fairly heavy line and a size 1/0 or larger hook. For large leopard sharks use a large piece of squid or a live midshipmen for bait—and fish at night. If you’re after striped bass catch a shinerperch, dwarfperch or small bullhead (staghorn sculpin) and use it as live bait fished near the bottom. Back up bait is anchovies, sardines or dead bullheads. Remember that the early evening hours are often the top times for the stripers.

History Note

The entire waterfront along the Oakland Estuary and harbor has undergone significant change since the mid-1800s. The first wharves in Oakland were apparently built by Horace W. Carpentier back in 1853. In 1852 he had acquired a 37-year use of the waterfront and exclusive rights to erect wharves and docks from the town of Oakland. He was to build three wharves initially, one at Main Street, one at either F or G Street, and one at E Street (all of these are in this general vicinity). The action was denounced as illegal and dishonest by many people but nevertheless was approved by the board. He reported completion of the wharves on July 12, 1853. In March 25, 1854, the City of Oakland was incorporated by the State of California and Mr. Carpentier became the cities first mayor.

An original Oakland Pier (basically railroad trestles) was built in 1863 to handle both the passenger and cargo needs of the Central Pacific Railroad. Six years later, in 1869, it was extended out to 6,900 feet. Then, on January 6, 1871, the area’s largest wharf was opened, the two-mile-long Oakland Long Wharf (which almost reached Goat Island, today’s Yerba Buena Island). Transcontinental trains of the Central Pacific (as well as local passenger trains) ran right out to the end of the pier where they met the various sailing ships of the day.

With the completion of the Long Wharf (which ran parallel to the Oakland Pier), major changes were in store for the older pier and the adjacent lands. The trestle pier was filled in and covered by dirt creating an earth embankment which reached out nearly two miles into the bay. This embankment, called the Oakland Mole, opened on January 22, 1882. Once the Mole was opened, the use of the Long Wharf was restricted to freight traffic while passengers were moved down to a new Oakland Pier at the end of the Mole. The Central Pacific (later Southern Pacific) Railroad, which owned both the Wharf and the Mole, continued its industrial development of the waterfront area near the northern end of the Inner Harbor and the Outer Harbor. Although the Long Wharf would cease to handle freight in 1918, the Mole and the Oakland Pier would continue to be used until 1958. The Oakland Pier itself was demolished in 1966.

Another huge project and pier was that of the Key Route Ferry which started in 1903 and paralleled today’s eastern approach to the Bay Bridge. A rock causeway led to a wooden trestle and then to the pier holding the ferry slips and terminal; total length was again over two miles. In 1933 a fire destroyed part of the terminal and pier but it was rebuilt. More permanent was the danger posed by the completion of the lower deck of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 1939 (which carried two tracks for interurban trains). The ferries were no longer needed (although they continued to haul workers, and then visitors, to the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in 1939 and 1940). The end of the fair saw the end of the Key System.

Interesting to me are the early day stories which tell of fish being caught off of these and other piers and wharfs found in the area. Most amazing are the number of salmon and steelhead which evidently were caught in these waters every fall. Also apparently common were smelt, perch and sharks. The jacksmelt, perch and sharks are still there, but you would have to be very lucky to hook a salmon or steelhead today.



Open 24 hours a day.


Free parking, restrooms, picnic tables, drinking fountains, a playground, and a snack bar with some bait and tackle are all located near the entrance to the park. Benches, lights, fish cutting boards (bravo!) and a fish cleaning station are found on the pier. Additional restrooms and drinking fountains are located adjacent to the pier.

Handicapped Facilities

Handicapped parking and restrooms. The deck of the pier is wood and somewhat dangerous for wheelchairs and the pier railing is 44 inches high.

How To Get There

From San Francisco leave Interstate 80 at the West Grand Avenue exit, soon you will see the Harbor Terminals exit, go south on Maritime Street till you hit Seventh Street, turn right and follow the street to the park and pier. From Interstate 880 take the Eighth Street exit and go west to Peralta, turn left on Peralta and then right onto Seventh Street; follow it to the park and pier.


Port of Oakland.