Moving back to the Bay Area after 10 years. Recos for kid friendly piers?

Hi! Glad to see the Skipper is still kicking around. Are the OG's like Red, Mel, JTF, or Steve Chon still around?

Anyways, I accepted a job offer and am moving back to the Bay Area, now with 2 kids in tow. My older one is super excited to hit the water after showing her all the old fishing pics of stripers and perch, and she wants me to take her to hit the water as soon as we get settled.

Have there been any big changes in the last decade? Is fishing still from a pier still free (no license required)? Any new piers or renovations? Would be looking for something not too remote, closer to the Fremont Tri-city area if possible, maybe adjacent to a park, working bathrooms, and most importantly, fish (for catch and release). Even shiners, smelt, and bullheads would be fine.

Thanks in advance.

Red Fish

Well-Known Member
Dumbarton Pier will always put out something even if it is bat rays, sharks, perch. The bathrooms near the entrance are the nicest ones.

All are still around with JTF in Maui, Hawaii (just saw him two months ago when he visited the Bay).


New member
Depending on the ages of your kids the Alameda Rock Wall is a fun destination. Might be too dangerous for really young kids. Safe parking, portable toilets, great views and plenty of smelt, some halibut, a few stripers, lots of rays, perch and rockfish if you know where to find them. No licenses needed for adults - it's classified together with public piers. If you go, take warm hats and jackets no matter how sunny it looks...the wind can get strong.
Red! I missed your sage tutelage. Good call on Dumbarton. How about bait shops for pileworms or anchovies? I used drive across town to a shop on Mission in Fremont.

@Gary, thanks, might have to pass though with skittish 7yo.


New member
Ping me when you do. I am not a seasoned Bay Area fisherman like Red, Ken, and so many others here, but I *do* know a few things about fishing that location. It can be difficult. Good news!: there's a really nice beach that your kids will LOVE playing on and exploring (unless it's super-high-tide when the beach disappears). 7yo is a great age to enjoy the area. In fact, you really should plan to visit there at some point. Bring beach toys.

Ken Jones

Staff member
In regard to the first question, some of those people are still around. It's going to take some time for people to register anew but hopefully most of the regulars, at least those who have been around for years, will still show up.

As for the best piers for kids, one question would be what area of the Bay Area you will be living in since there are so many different piers in this area. Some quick ideas on piers for kids — (1) San Francisco — Fort Point, Fort Mason, Pier 7, Candlestick Point; (2) SF Peninsula/So. Bay — Brisbane, Oyster Point, Robert Wooley; (3) East Bay — Dumbarton, San Leandro, Arrowhead Marsh, San Antonio, Estuary Park (maybe), Middle Harbor Park, Port View Park, Emeryville Marina; (4) North Bay — Point Pinole, McNear Beach, Paradise Beach, Elephant Rock (built for kids), Angel Island, Fort Baker. I'm primarily looking at them from a safety viewpoint; fishing varies pier to pier.

Unfortunately, I don't consider myself an expert on as many of those piers as I once did. I just live too far away and don't fish them as much as I once did. Red Fish and Songslinger are certainly two of the experts on East Bay and North Bay piers. Rita is/was an expert on the SF and SF Peninsula piers (but doesn't fish them like she once did.). Mel certainly knows much about the SF and North Bay piers but has transitioned somewhat to boat fishing. We need to get more of the local Bay Area anglers in those areas involved and bring in some fresh insights and recommendations. And, it looks like there are some new members that might fit the bill.
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Red Fish

Well-Known Member
Red! I missed your sage tutelage. Good call on Dumbarton. How about bait shops for pileworms or anchovies? I used drive across town to a shop on Mission in Fremont.

@Gary, thanks, might have to pass though with skittish 7yo.
Bob’s Discount Liquor in Union City usually has pileworms. You can get anchovies, sardines, eel at Dick’s in Fremont.
Awesome! Thanks for all the background, Skipper. Definitely appreciate the list with a safety viewpoint. Sounds like Dumbarton will be the place for us to get started. Shame to see Berkeley closed. :(

And thanks Red, that's great, I didn't know about those places. That'll save me the 30 minute back and forth to TNT in Hayward, which I thought was the only bait shop with pile worms near the tri-city area in the past.
Also, you can break them in with planter trout or catfish at Quarry Lakes in Fremont/Union City area - although you have to pay $5/person fishing permit (for adults anyway), and $5 parking, unless you park outside and walk in. Usually better for trout once the weather starts cooling, they're probably stocking with catfish right now - here's a link where you can check stocking info:

Another good store for fishing tackle and bait is Fishery Supply, in San Jose - a bit of a drive from Fremont though.